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.