SUZY GERSHMAN: C'EST LA VIE
A fun and poignant book about a woman who decides upon her husband's death to go ahead with their plan to move to Paris for a year. A Francophile her dream had always been to retire to France although her husband had been less than enthusiastic about a stay of over a year. Unable to face living in their Connecticut home without him, she takes off for Paris, finds an apartment, and settles in not without ups and downs. Her task is made easier because her work as writer of a series Born to Shop had taken her to France many times, which meant she knew her way around to some extent and had friends and acquaintances there. Not surprisingly, she's more interested in shopping than I would be, but she managed to make me interested! Full of helpful hints for anyone going to France, as well as humor about the difference between French, Americans, and Brits. It's a delightful read. Also includes a love affair with a French count! She settles finally in the south of France, finding life in France more convivial than America.
Rockport Library. Amazon.com
MARK GREENSIDE: I'LL NEVER BE FRENCH (NO MATTER WHAT I DO) LIVING IN A SMALL VILLAGE IN BRITTANY
Another delightful book about France this time by a man who buys a home in Brittany for summers while staying in California to earn a living. Greenside has a droll sense of humor and an affection for the French that explains perhaps why so many of his French neighbors take him under their wing. His accounts of the various differences between how life works in France and in America are funny, but also serious, as like Gershman, he presents France as a much friendlier place than America, a place where people will spend three hours eating, talking and drinking together rather than rushing from one appointment to another. I wonder if this is as true of small town America as big city, as I find Rockport and Cape Ann, a place where friendships can flourish, but it's true it takes work. Any thoughts on this?
Rockport Public library, Amazon.com