Tuesday, June 28, 2011

French Lessons by Ellen Sussman

French Lessons by Ellen Sussman
Published:  2011 by Ballantine Books
Source:  Received from publisher for review

  Regular visitors to this blog know that I have an affinity for Paris.  When I was offered the chance to review the novel, French Lessons, with its premise of three Americans seeing Paris and learning French, I jumped at it and couldn't wait to fall in love with the story.

  Alas, this love was not meant to be.

  Instead of a novel about learning French and experiencing the life of a Parisian, I found a novel about a woman unable to get over the death of her (married) lover, an expat wife seemingly wishing she were anywhere else but Paris (I know -- really?) and a man uncomfortable with the celebrity lifestyle of his actress wife; in addition to the troubles of their French tutors .  While not a problem, necessarily, it just was not the story I was looking for.  I wanted to experience Paris with these people, seeing how or if the French language practice enhanced it for them. 

  For what it is, I guess it is not a bad novel, it just was not for me.  However, it did make me want to look into hiring a French tutor the next time I visit Paris, so something good did come out of it after all.


  1. Have you read True Pleasures, by Lucinda Holdforth? It's non-fiction, but it's all about women in Paris. I found it fascinating.

  2. Oh, I hope I feel differently about this one than you do, as I have this one up for review soon. I can understand why you had a problem with it though, as it sounds like it was totally not what you had been expecting.

  3. ah, i had seen this one and after watching the author's video clip, i passed on it. i think i would have had a similar reaction to you. bummer that it didn't work out...

    i haven't read it, but the book mentioned by softdrink above (True Pleasures) does sound really interesting.


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