There is nothing like a good love letter. Especially when it’s a love letter from Paris. Enter Seven Letters from Paris by Samantha Vérant.
In this memoir, she starts by taking us through the dark time in her life when she was down and out, broke and busted. At her lowest point, she rediscovers the seven love letters she received from a young French man with whom she had a weekend romance in Paris twenty years prior. She decides to look him up and BOOM! A whirlwind romance filled with French castles begins.
She had me at castles.
This is how she describes Seven Letters from Paris:
“An American girl falling in love with a guy at a café in Paris could have all the makings of a clichéd romance. But only if the girl didn’t dump the guy on a train platform at Gare de Lyon— never apologizing until everything in her life had fallen apart. ”
“While there are other books about overcoming adversity, such as divorce, bankruptcy, moving back home to the parents in mid-life, or finding l’amour in France, my love story could not have happened without the Internet— it’s how I bridged twenty years without contact and found the sexy French rocket scientist I’d met in Paris the summer of 1989 (Google), how we reconnected (email), how we fanned the flames and stayed connected (frequent flyer miles and a stellar digital long distance phone plan), and how he asked my father for my hand (Skype). Lots of people in midlife search out former friends online, and in some instances may actually meet face-to-face. But in my case, I didn’t just meet up with the one who got away; Jean-Luc and I fell in love. We married on the seventh of May in 2010, which was exactly one year to the day since I’d turned to the Internet to find him. (See! There it is! My number seven!)”
And the letters are teeth-tingling good.
Just when you think it can’t get any better, add ME into the mix. You’ll find this blurb on the back cover of the Australian version of Seven Letters from Paris:
But back to Samantha. No, back to me. No, back to Samantha.
Let’s talk about both of us then.
Check out these coincidences:
- My book is called Paris Letters and hers is called Seven Letters from Paris.
- We have the same publisher for these books… the wonderful Sourcebooks.
- I didn’t know her before this book but discovered that her dad was once my boss in an advertising agency. This means he’ll likely read this post so I’d better keep the errors to a minimum. *sweaty palms*
- Australia loves us… boosting our ratings to the top of the charts even before release.
- We both figured it out (more or less) in the end.
Rather than the usual interview, we got down to what I really wanted to know:
Q: Give me your best at-home meal for a winter’s day.
“My best at-home meals for a winter’s day depend on if I’m feeling inspired to feast like royalty…or if I want something quick. For the inspired days, there is nothing better than a boeuf bourguignon. It’s some serious goodness. Here’s my recipe.”
No melted cheese? Excheese me?
“For lazy and cold days, nothing beats a raclette (and the kids love it!) We call it our mountain meal, the kind that tastes so good after hitting the slopes. (We are a very sporty family.) For those who don’t know what a raclette is, it’s a two-tiered tabletop appliance (a type of grill) you simply plug in. The first tier keeps some of the ingredients, like potatoes and courgettes (zucchini), warm. The bottom tier is used to melt cheese in little pans. Yes! Cheese! Warm, gooey melted cheese! In this case, use raclette cheese! Once the cheese melts, pour it over the potatoes, zucchini, a variety of charcuteries (deli-style sliced meats like jambon sec (dried ham), sausages, and, chorizo), add some cornichons if you want, chop it up, and eat it. Basically, the only cooking done here is preparing the potatoes, either by boiling them or, if you’re extra rushed, by nuking them, and stir frying your zucchini.”
That’s more like it. Cheesists everywhere thank you.
The lovely Samantha reading her new book at Château d’Ussé. Photo credit: Karina Waters.
Q: When did you believe your story would make a good book?
“The moment Jean-Luc responded to my very delayed apology I knew I had a story to tell – with or without the happy ending. I was looking for hope and writing to Jean-Luc changed my life. Through letters and emails, I opened up my heart. Now, I’m sharing our story with the world. Hey, we all need a little hope in our lives (or a crazy love adventure). Or both. Can’t we have it all?”
Q: Where are the seven letters now?
“They are on my desk, right next to me. I’d frame them, but they are double-sided. What’s a girl to do?”
Q: Will you write a follow-up? Are you working on anything specific?
“Yes, I do have plans for memoir book two. In fact, I’ve already written 35k of it. It picks up where Seven Letters from Paris leaves off. I jump into a new life in France…but I forget to pack a parachute and I land pretty hard. As I settle into my new life, and Jean-Luc’s children and I become closer, and as the relationship with Jean-Luc and I intensifies, no matter how terrifying things appear, I remind myself I have love on my side. And with love on my side I can do anything (including renovating a kitchen and building a bedroom– the true test of any relationship!) Memoir book two will be another love story, but the focus will be on family. Of course, there will also be some romance. Maybe I’ll finally get back to Paris with Jean-Luc? Or go on a honeymoon? Neither of these things have happened…yet. I’m working on it.”