For many of us, the idea of living in France is dreamy. Life is filled with vibrant markets full of wicker baskets of cherries, bouquets of lavender, and neat stacks of multicoloured radishes. The afternoons stretch into rose-coloured evenings filled with endless glasses of wine and the laughter of friends in the local bistro.
Is it really like that?
Yes, it is.
And no, it isn’t. Life in France is also filled with linguistic flubs, cultural faux pas, and basic stuff like getting the kids off to school and trying to make new friends. Samantha Vérant tells us about the good, bad, and bitter in her new book How to Make a French Family.
You may remember her from this book:
In Seven Letters from Paris, she tells about how she fell in love with a French rocket scientist (!!!) on a whirlwind trip to Paris. After she returned home, he promptly sent her seven love letters which she ignored. Oh youth! Years later she rediscovered the letters, looked him up, and reconnected with him. The new book How to Make a French Family is what happens after their happily ever after. Here’s the summary:
Take one French widower, his two young children, and drop a former city girl from Chicago into a small town in southwestern France. Shake vigorously… and voilà: a blended Franco-American family whose lives will all drastically change.
Floating on a cloud of newlywed bliss, Samantha couldn’t wait to move to France to begin her life with her new husband, Jean-Luc, and his kids. But almost from the moment the plane touches down, Samantha realizes that there are a lot of things about her new home―including flea-ridden cats, grumpy teenagers, and language barriers―that she hadn’t counted on.
Struggling to feel at home and wondering when exactly her French fairy tale is going to start, Samantha isn’t sure if she really has what it takes to make it in la belle France. But when a second chance at life and love is on the line, giving up isn’t an option. How to Make a French Family is the heartwarming and sometimes hilarious story of the culture clashes and faux pas that , in the end, add up to one happy family.
In the book, she includes recipes and tender moments of her struggles to adapt to her new life in the south of France. For me, I’m not reading for the recipes. I’m reading because over the years I’ve gotten to know Samantha and she is a genuinely kind person. She is super supportive of myself and other France-themed authors, she’s enthusiastic about sharing our projects, and she’s just a great gal that I’m happy to call a friend.
I get warm fuzzies when I think of Samantha. You will too when you read How to Make a French Family. And anyone how includes a kitty in their author photo is already going to get my vote:
Good kitty. As you likely know from me going on about pre-ordering my new book, A Paris Year, if you buy it today (her launch day) you help the author tremendously. Much more than buying it next week. Something about stats and Amazon and the machine behind the machine. Get her new book here.