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A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways. Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a sp A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways. Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a spirited but lonely expat housewife, struggles to feel connected to her husband and her new country. And Jeremy, the reserved husband of a renowned actress, is accompanying his wife on a film shoot, yet he feels distant from her world. As they meet with their tutors—Josie with Nico, a sensitive poet; Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt; and Jeremy with the consummately beautiful Chantal—each succumbs to unexpected passion and unpredictable adventures. Yet as they traverse Paris’s grand boulevards and intimate, winding streets, they uncover surprising secrets about one another—and come to understand long-buried truths about themselves.


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A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways. Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a sp A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways. Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a spirited but lonely expat housewife, struggles to feel connected to her husband and her new country. And Jeremy, the reserved husband of a renowned actress, is accompanying his wife on a film shoot, yet he feels distant from her world. As they meet with their tutors—Josie with Nico, a sensitive poet; Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt; and Jeremy with the consummately beautiful Chantal—each succumbs to unexpected passion and unpredictable adventures. Yet as they traverse Paris’s grand boulevards and intimate, winding streets, they uncover surprising secrets about one another—and come to understand long-buried truths about themselves.

30 review for French Lessons

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah O'Dell

    I was super-excited to receive French Lessons in the mail. “Ah,” thought I, “a book about Paris. The perfect, bookish way to release post-school year stress.” Sadly, I was disappointed. Disappointed to the point of barely forcing myself to finish it. Sussman’s novel is framed around three French tutors working for an agency. Involved in their own little love triangle, the French tutors meet clients during the day, teach them a little (very little) French, and then rendez-vous for drinks. On this I was super-excited to receive French Lessons in the mail. “Ah,” thought I, “a book about Paris. The perfect, bookish way to release post-school year stress.” Sadly, I was disappointed. Disappointed to the point of barely forcing myself to finish it. Sussman’s novel is framed around three French tutors working for an agency. Involved in their own little love triangle, the French tutors meet clients during the day, teach them a little (very little) French, and then rendez-vous for drinks. On this particular day, each tutor meets a different student — an unwed, pregnant teacher whose married boyfriend has just been killed, a miserable American expat housewife, and the husband of an American movie star in Paris for a film. For me, this book had little heart, and, thus, had a very difficult time holding my interest. I think Sussman aims for poignancy but instead lands on maudlin. None of the characters were very interesting to me, and Sussman provides no resolution to the novel, killing any bit of interest I had left. I am sorry to say that I really didn’t like this book. Nothing about it was well-developed, the characters were flat, and the novel ultimately felt very pointless. Like a sad day in Paris.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Eve

    Here’s my tip: read French Lessons by Ellen Sussman while sitting in a cafe having a chocolate croissant and good coffee. That’s the easiest and fastest way to transport yourself to Paris this summer. French Lessons by Ellen Sussman delivers Paris in her myriad facets, conjuring freshly baked pain au chocolat, strolling by the Seine, and the thrill of a romantic dalliance. This is Paris through the eyes of three Americans at a crossroads in their lives, who, in discovering Paris, rediscover thems Here’s my tip: read French Lessons by Ellen Sussman while sitting in a cafe having a chocolate croissant and good coffee. That’s the easiest and fastest way to transport yourself to Paris this summer. French Lessons by Ellen Sussman delivers Paris in her myriad facets, conjuring freshly baked pain au chocolat, strolling by the Seine, and the thrill of a romantic dalliance. This is Paris through the eyes of three Americans at a crossroads in their lives, who, in discovering Paris, rediscover themselves. Their stories divide the book into three parts, each with a distinct perspective. Josie, Riley, and Jeremy each have hired a French tutor to make them more comfortable with the language. With this same premise, however, their experiences and what they get out of the one day’s lesson are remarkably different from each other's. Sussman deftly changes the mood and tone of each story to match the character’s personality: heartbreaking and bittersweet in one story, smart and racy in the next, then sensitive and yearning in another. The strongest story of the bunch is that of grief-stricken Josie, who has fled to Paris in the wake of a doomed love affair with a married man. Her narrative alternates between the memories of the excitement and guilt of an illicit relationship with a man she can no longer be with and the very present possibility of a fling with her French tutor. Despite her broken heart, somehow Josie responds to the magic of being in Paris. No one can resist her allure, least of all the reader. As the stories are brief but intense glimpses into Josie, Riley, and Jeremy’s lives, so do they offer Paris from multiple viewpoints, each one beguiling. "Paris. The city of sex. The city of clandestine affairs. The city of French tutors in pathetic apartments. The city where the pain au chocolat you eat in the morning is only the first erotic taste of the day. The city where you can stop talking long enough to hear the song your mother sang." "On their second day together they walked through a neighborhood filled with antique stores so that Chantal could teach him the language of furniture and jewelry and art...They stood in the charming clutter of the old man's atelier, with the man's low steady voice in his ear and the odors of the wood and solvents and Chantal's fragrant perfume in his nose. The late-afternoon light filtered through the small, high windows of the shop, and Jeremy thought: I'm happy here. This is where I belong."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Aly (Fantasy4eva)

    Rating: 3.5 Wasn't she the siren a few years ago, the women Vic boasted about? "My wife loves sex," he once told a friend of theirs. "You lucky fuck," the friend said. Whenever they finished making love, Riley would whisper in Vic's ear: "You lucky fuck." And he would fall asleep with a smile on his face. She hasn't seen that smile in a long time. That quote made me laugh and smile :) As you can see, the UK paperback is just stunning. Also, I love how there are sections to the book dedicated to a pa Rating: 3.5 Wasn't she the siren a few years ago, the women Vic boasted about? "My wife loves sex," he once told a friend of theirs. "You lucky fuck," the friend said. Whenever they finished making love, Riley would whisper in Vic's ear: "You lucky fuck." And he would fall asleep with a smile on his face. She hasn't seen that smile in a long time. That quote made me laugh and smile :) As you can see, the UK paperback is just stunning. Also, I love how there are sections to the book dedicated to a particular student and tutor alongside a picture that represents their journey. The book also includes a map which allows you to keep up with them. A Very nice touch. I have missed my adult reads. Although, I didn't realise how much until now. This book made me laugh a whole lot. I actually giggled! FRENCH LESSONS tells the story of three Americans who come have just come to Paris and are still finding their way around. The story follows them as they spend time with their French tutors. I have to admit. I'm quite smitten with this book. There's a lot of sex, and a whole lot of talk about sex *which took a little getting used to at first* but once you really relax and settle into the book, you realise just how enjoyable it really is. It's a great form of escapism. These individuals, in this big beautiful city. Free, sophisticated people that indulge daily in sex, delicious food and freedom. But there is more to these people than just sex. Apart from the fact that they are obviously flawed, they also seem to all be battling with their own demons. And it's not until the tutors meet their students, that each individual is able to walk away a changed person and better for it. I did find it hard to get my head around this concept of people sharing their partners with others. With the casual cheating. I didn't understand why it wasn't a big deal to them. Why anyone would want to be with someone who was already in a relationship. But I do know that this goes on, so it would be naive of me to simply take it as merely fiction and put it at the back of my head. But it was something that I struggled with understanding. Maybe I just need a few more years :) I think each reader will see the book as something different. A guilty pleasure, sex - crazed, flawed people, or a book with a bit of everything. But what I can guarantee you is that FRENCH LESSONS is past faced and a delicious read that had me in a fit of giggles, and one that I quickly lost myself in. There was one moment in the book which I really loved. When Nico and Josie go see the gallery of Marilyn Monroe photos named "the last sitting." I knew every photo they described and it was sort of wonderful because I felt like I was experiencing it right alongside them. And hearing their thoughts on particular photos put a lot of wondering questions into perspective for me. "I wonder," Josie says, staring into Marilyn's dreamy eyes, "what it has to do with . Why men cheat. Why they fall into bed with pretty girls." "She is tragic, no?" The French tutor asks. Josie looks up. Marilyn Monroe stares back at her, her mouth slightly open, her eyes half closed. She looks drunk on sex, on booze, on death. She looks luscious and ripe and ready to die. Josie's eyes fill up. She steps back, away from the seductive stare. "She killed herself three days after this photo shoot," Nico says reading from the brochure. "You can see that she was ready ," Josie says. "To die? "To give herself up to death. It looks like she was already dying." Those lines bothered me a little. It made me sad, because when I look at those photos, even now, that's not what I see. Or maybe it's not what I want to see. There is one particular thing that I took away from this book. The urge to visit Paris. In particular, the Eiffel Tower. To climb up those steps, reach the top and experience something truly indescribable. To visit the gallery and see those Marilyn Monroe pictures up close. I would like to do that one day, a lot. *sighs*

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jane Stewart

    I would not have bought this if I had known it was four short stories. I prefer to avoid short stories. None of the stories are complete. At the end of the three American stories, my feelings were: 1. empty. 2. I’m left hanging. 3. I feel like what’s the point. There was a nice end for the tutors, but it was missing the middle – no character or relationship development. The subject matter in the three American stories: 1. A woman grieves over the death of a lover. 2. A woman who is miserable and u I would not have bought this if I had known it was four short stories. I prefer to avoid short stories. None of the stories are complete. At the end of the three American stories, my feelings were: 1. empty. 2. I’m left hanging. 3. I feel like what’s the point. There was a nice end for the tutors, but it was missing the middle – no character or relationship development. The subject matter in the three American stories: 1. A woman grieves over the death of a lover. 2. A woman who is miserable and unhappy with her life. 3. A guy who loves his wife, but daydreams and desires his beautiful tutor. A common thread in all four stories: someone in a relationship is cheating or thinking about cheating. I immensely disliked the jumping around in time. For example 2 pages of a character thinking about the past, then 2 pages of what’s happening now, then 1 paragraph about the past. This happens through all the stories. The author used French phrases and did not translate them – at least 40 times. It made me angry and I am still angry. I’m fine with foreign phrases if the author puts the translation immediately after in parentheses. But that was not done. Each time it happened, it pulled me out of the story. I’m thinking what am I missing? What are they saying? You’d think I would be ok since I had a semester of French in college, but that didn’t help. OTHER BOOKS: I enjoyed the author’s book “A Wedding in Provence” except for the French phrase problem. She did the same thing in that book - no translations. DATA: Narrative mode: 3rd person. Story length: 236 pages. Swearing language: strong including religious swear words but not often used. Sexual language: moderate. Number of sex scenes: about 8 short scenes. Some of them were referred to, no details shown. Setting: current day Paris, France. Copyright: 2011. Genre: womens fiction.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This is a 1.5 star book, I didn't actually HATE it, so I had to go with two. What the hell? As with many of the reviewers I read, I had high hopes for this novel about three tutors individually taking their students out for a day in Paris. How could that possibly be boring?! But these are not characters, they are caricatures (perhaps that is the point?):the over-sexed young Frenchman, the sensitive young Frenchman and the nubile yet ill-treated (ill-cheated:)) Frenchwoman as tutors paired with t This is a 1.5 star book, I didn't actually HATE it, so I had to go with two. What the hell? As with many of the reviewers I read, I had high hopes for this novel about three tutors individually taking their students out for a day in Paris. How could that possibly be boring?! But these are not characters, they are caricatures (perhaps that is the point?):the over-sexed young Frenchman, the sensitive young Frenchman and the nubile yet ill-treated (ill-cheated:)) Frenchwoman as tutors paired with the large-breasted young American mother, the young American woman whose married lover recently died, and the American husband of a renowned American actress respectively. But now you do not really even need to read the book, in essence, it is basically what I just wrote with a few extra words tacked on to make up a novel that is more a short fiction compilation of each "couple's" day. That's really all there is to it. I am not familiar with Sussman's work, but from what I read of other reviews, she is widely respected, perhaps I'll have to give some of her other novels a go and see if that reputation is well-deserved or not; As for this book? Don't bother unless you want some fluffy bathroom reading with a sex scene or four thrown in.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Too much talk of penises and affairs. Not my style.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Audra (Unabridged Chick)

    This delightful book is my kind of beach read: fabulous urban location (Paris!), seemingly uncomplicated characters who actually have great depth, lovely language, and heady discussions of love and loss written in an accessible and deft way. Initially, I thought I wasn't going to dig this book since infidelity was clearly going to be a theme of the novel but I found Sussman's writing and characters had depth and complicated back stories (presented in a clear, light, moving way). Even if my purita This delightful book is my kind of beach read: fabulous urban location (Paris!), seemingly uncomplicated characters who actually have great depth, lovely language, and heady discussions of love and loss written in an accessible and deft way. Initially, I thought I wasn't going to dig this book since infidelity was clearly going to be a theme of the novel but I found Sussman's writing and characters had depth and complicated back stories (presented in a clear, light, moving way). Even if my puritanical self was initially resistant to feeling sympathy for Josie, the American teacher mourning in Paris after losing her married lover, Sussman provoked me into caring for her as her lovelorn language tutor, Nico, found things to empathize and admire in her. Every character in this novel felt immediately familiar and yet did something to surprise me, and I literally inhaled this novel in hours. Based on Sussman's previous books, it's obvious she likes sex and the frisson of desire, and she's unabashed about that in these three stories. It might be a little too graphic for some readers, but I didn't mind: it moved the plot, felt appropriate to the story and characters, and was sexy and sad in equal part which made it all the more poignant (to me). I went to sleep thinking of this book and woke up wanting to read it, and that's the sign of a totally great read. I was apprehensive that the three couples and their vignettes wouldn't come together for a satisfying conclusion but Sussman pulled one together that was just what I wanted. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a summertime armchair escape.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bree

    www.breesabookworm.com Well...I don't really know where to begin with this one. There's three different stories in one. The beginning starts off with three french tutors in Paris who are about to embark on a day of work. These three tutors are involved in a love triangle. After this is established there are three separate stories, one involving each, which explains their day. Each story is filled with sex. Basically the book is kind of raunchy. But it was also depressing. Each person learns somet www.breesabookworm.com Well...I don't really know where to begin with this one. There's three different stories in one. The beginning starts off with three french tutors in Paris who are about to embark on a day of work. These three tutors are involved in a love triangle. After this is established there are three separate stories, one involving each, which explains their day. Each story is filled with sex. Basically the book is kind of raunchy. But it was also depressing. Each person learns something different in their day with their American student. In the end, the love triangle is no more, and there is resolution...of sorts. Eh, I didn't like the book. But I thought the writing was really good. There was nothing about this book that left me any good feelings, not even the end. Though, I guess it was supposed to. I was most invested in the first story told, probably because it was the longest, and I actually felt for the characters. However, I still didn't like it all that much and it didn't end how I wanted it to at all...but maybe that was the point. I'm a book lover, and generally love all books. But this one just didn't do it for me. Sorry folks!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    It begins by introducing three young, sexy Parisians who work at the same language school and provide private tutoring for emotionally unstable Americans. Or Americans who become emotionally unstable after spending a couple hours with their young, sexy French tutors. Anyway, it then breaks up into three stories as each tutor meets with his/her student for the day. The first section is actually pretty compelling. I was disappointed that it veered off that story. The second part is not really beli It begins by introducing three young, sexy Parisians who work at the same language school and provide private tutoring for emotionally unstable Americans. Or Americans who become emotionally unstable after spending a couple hours with their young, sexy French tutors. Anyway, it then breaks up into three stories as each tutor meets with his/her student for the day. The first section is actually pretty compelling. I was disappointed that it veered off that story. The second part is not really believable or enjoyable, and the third is just ridiculous. It seemed like the author was desperate to bring drama to the story.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Tomlinson

    French Lessons by Ellen Sussman C’est l’amour A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a different French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways. Ellen Sussman’s novel French Lessons is a book for those who love movies like Love Actually and Valentine’s Day. The three Americans traveling through their day are a diverse lot—there’s French teacher Josie with her secret sorrow, Riley, a French Lessons by Ellen Sussman C’est l’amour A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a different French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways. Ellen Sussman’s novel French Lessons is a book for those who love movies like Love Actually and Valentine’s Day. The three Americans traveling through their day are a diverse lot—there’s French teacher Josie with her secret sorrow, Riley, an unhappy expat who pines for home, and Hollywood husband Jeremy who has accompanied his film star wife to her Paris location and is now dealing with his stepdaughter, who’s acting out and with an unexpected attraction to the French teacher who’s been giving him lessons. It’s the Americans who have the focus but it’s the French tutors who are learning their own lessons. The ménage that exists among Nico, Chantal and Philippe interests us and we’re by no means certain how it’s all going to turn out. The characters are not uniformly likeable—we adore Nico but are lukewarm about Josie; we like Riley but know way too many guys like Philippe—but we enjoy being a tag-along on their ramble through Paris. The characters are deftly drawn, even the minor characters who just have walk-on parts. When Nico tells Josie about the raucous girl Philippe flirted with, we see that girl so completely she casts a shadow. Riley’s little boy Cole, who seems to spend a lot of time patting his mother’s shoulder and telling her things will be okay, is a lovely kid. Jeremy’s wife Dana—the movie star whose movie Nico comments does not “look as though it will last 100 years—has a strong presence too. We know a lot about her even though her character is mostly filtered through his point of view. The writer is not just in love with her characters, she’s in love with Paris. with her characters, she’s in love with Paris. In fact, we like the stories in Paris so much more than the flashbacks to characters’ lives before Paris that we find ourselves wanting to flip past those sections to get back to France. We’re especially annoyed with Josie, who becomes consumed with her affair with Simon to the point that she’s alienating her best friend, her father and neglecting her students. (“You’ve been so distracted,” her boss notes when Josie calls in to quit her job. “Is something going on?”) This is a character-driven story but the strength of the book is the dialogue. As our characters move about the city, they have adult conversations, serious talk about serious things and silly talk when it’s appropriate. We hardly ever hear adult conversations in the US any more and the pleasure of adult discourse has almost been lost. Of the characters, Nico and Riley have the most to say and it’s fitting that they are both talking about love and loss. Loss is very much a part of the experience of what’s going on for the three Americans, loss that’s both literal and figurative. The dialogue anchors the story, which is otherwise so light it would simply float away without leaving an impact. This novel is very much in the vein of Nicholas Sparks’ books in that its simple story has the potential to touch some deep emotional chords. If you can’t get to Paris this summer, take a mini-vacation with Sussman’s book. You’ll be transported. 

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie (Stepping Out Of The Page)

    I absolutely love France, especially the beautiful city of Paris, and so when I was asked to participate in a blog tour for French Lessons, I jumped at the chance! Whilst the majority of books I read are aimed towards young adults, I certainly am not opposed to reading adult fiction and this made a nice change for me. On initial inspection of this book, I thought that it'd be a quick, fun piece of chick-lit - but how wrong was I! This book will fit into the chick-lit genre, but it felt like so mu I absolutely love France, especially the beautiful city of Paris, and so when I was asked to participate in a blog tour for French Lessons, I jumped at the chance! Whilst the majority of books I read are aimed towards young adults, I certainly am not opposed to reading adult fiction and this made a nice change for me. On initial inspection of this book, I thought that it'd be a quick, fun piece of chick-lit - but how wrong was I! This book will fit into the chick-lit genre, but it felt like so much more. The novel is surprisingly sophisticated and definitely has a certain edge to it over other similar novels. The format of this book is different to the norm and it really made it stand out to me. Though this is the first book by Ellen Sussman that I have read, I'm sure it won't be the last - her writing is unique and it is clear that she has talent. The story is split into separate parts, revolving around three french tutors and their adult students. Nico tutors Josie, Phillippe tutors Riley and Chantal tutors Jeremy. There are three separate stories which explore the relationships of the couples as they travel through the city - we even get to see little maps of the places they go, alongside fantastic illustrations, which was a fantastic extra touch! There is not much of a plot as such, but rather the book is made interesting by the characters which it introduces us to and everything weaves together perfectly. When we're first introduced to the tutors, I instantly had the desire to learn more about them and I really wanted to delve deep into the story! My favourite pairing, by far, was Nico and Josie - it was really interesting to read about both of their stories and to see how they interacted. If the whole book had been about that one couple, I definitely wouldn't have been disappointed! However, we were also introduced to Phillippe who tutored Riley. When we first saw Phillippe quite briefly, I thought that he'd be my sure favourite, but unfortunately as we got to learn more about him, he quickly became my least favourite character - though this is not to say that he didn't fit in with the story. His personality worked perfectly in allowing the story to progress. The final story between Chantal and Jeremy felt the most developed and natural to me - although it wasn't very long, the emotions, connections and memories of the characters seemed very complex. All in all, this book wasn't what I expected - it certainly exceeded expectations. This is a cultured, refined, sensual (sometimes verging on erotic) story that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to adult readers, in particular those who want to read some lovely wring and escape into the city of love.

  12. 5 out of 5

    ms.petra

    The story of three Americans and their French tutors during one day in Paris. Two of my favorite lines from the book are: Are we in love or with the idea of being in love? A crush is about desire, not love, and will never live up to our expectations. This story gives us a glimpse into the unfulfilled desires and unspoken passions inside each of us, what is love, and how it can be realized in the light and glow of Paris. Very easy read and loved the sensuality of the writing. It brought back memori The story of three Americans and their French tutors during one day in Paris. Two of my favorite lines from the book are: Are we in love or with the idea of being in love? A crush is about desire, not love, and will never live up to our expectations. This story gives us a glimpse into the unfulfilled desires and unspoken passions inside each of us, what is love, and how it can be realized in the light and glow of Paris. Very easy read and loved the sensuality of the writing. It brought back memories of my own visit to Paris.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    In the city of love and romance anything is possible. For three French tutors their world’s are each turned on end by three very different American students. With nothing to lose after the death of her lover, Josie sets off for Paris on the trip that may change everything. For Riley, Paris is not a city of love but perhaps the place where she lost her love and passion for life until she meets Phillippe. Jeremy is lost for words when he meets his tutor Chantal. Each experiences something complete In the city of love and romance anything is possible. For three French tutors their world’s are each turned on end by three very different American students. With nothing to lose after the death of her lover, Josie sets off for Paris on the trip that may change everything. For Riley, Paris is not a city of love but perhaps the place where she lost her love and passion for life until she meets Phillippe. Jeremy is lost for words when he meets his tutor Chantal. Each experiences something completely unique, but so similar; a discovery of who they are. French Lessons was a completely unexpected read. When I initially picked it up I was at a book conference and fell in love with the cover (a different one than above). It was so much more than a simple book about two people meeting and falling in love. The novel was actually broken up into five sections: the opening, three sections with each tutor/student pairing and then the closing. What was wonderful about that aspect was that it made it easy to read a section at a time and savor that portion. Though, what I found impressive was that in each small section there was a story that drew me in and didn’t let go until the last page. It’s difficult to say I had a favorite pairing or section of French Lessons, but if I had to I’d choose Josie & Nico with a close second to Riley & Phillippe. My only hesitation with Riley & Phillippe was the rather graphic sex scene, just not my thing, but otherwise I loved their story. With Josie & Nico though there was so much depth and character development that I’ve found myself wondering about where they might be now after I’ve already completed the book. Josie’s character really got under my skin and though I’d normally dislike her because of her having had an affair with a married man, her grief at his death completely drew me in. It’s hard to describe, but each of these characters were so well written that I couldn’t help but be interested in who they truly were. Readers looking for an incredibly well written character driven novel about love and discovery, than French Lessons is absolutely a book to pick up! Ellen Sussman’s writing brings to life characters that may normally seem bland & predictable from the outside and instead makes them deep & charismatic. This is a story about three sets of very different people coming together to discover who exactly it is they each are and what they want from their lives. French Lessons is an absolute must read! Originally reviewed and copyrighted at Chick Lit Reviews.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. French lessons is comprised of three intertwining stories, the common theme being three americains receiving the services of three French tutors. They all walk around Paris, talking in French and discussing love... Well sort of, I think the story was trying to talk about love, but it was dressed up in a really slutty red dress. It was more about sex and lust. It opens with the three tutors and their slightly complicated nice guy loves girl, girl dating bad boy, bad boy and nice guy good buds sort French lessons is comprised of three intertwining stories, the common theme being three americains receiving the services of three French tutors. They all walk around Paris, talking in French and discussing love... Well sort of, I think the story was trying to talk about love, but it was dressed up in a really slutty red dress. It was more about sex and lust. It opens with the three tutors and their slightly complicated nice guy loves girl, girl dating bad boy, bad boy and nice guy good buds sort of story. Slightly cliche, but a good hook that draws you in. The first story follows Josie and her French tutor Nico, Josie came to Paris following a personal tragedy. Her story involved an affair with an older married man and father to one of her students. It is told from Josie's point of view with little vignette type memories folded in of her love (cough...cheating bastard) and their time together. The second story follows Riley, an ex-pat mother of two who has lost the love out of her marriage and is barely staying afloat. Possibly the only American who hates Paris and who has lived there for a year and barely speaks any French. She meets up with Phillipe, the typical french stereotype of a guy who in love with love, which is basically saying he is in love with falling in and out of different beds. Riley who has been regulary seeing Phillipe in a strictly educational role suddenly ends up in bed with him. This somehow makes her realize the truth about love, but really just reterates the fact that she is no longer in love with her husband and wants to go home. Why she needed to sleep with the slimy French guy to discover this I don't know. The final story is by far my favorite, maybe because it didn't involve infidelity? It follows Jermey a 40 something husband of a Hollywood movie star and Chantelle the good girl who we are waiting on pins and needles to drop her loser boyfriend Phillipe and settle down with Nico already. Jermey and Chantelle's story was exponentially more complex and mature compared to the other two. It kept me on pins and needles because I was worried that Jermey would follow his sophomoric crush and sleep with Chantelle. If he had I would have scored this book much lower. Luckily his heart belonged to his wife and his day with Chantelle was more eye opening for her than him. It ends with the tutors meeting for a celebration and sharing the days enlightenments on love. I found the story of the tutors more interesting than that of the American narrators. This was an ok book, more about lust than love and more about the tutors than the protagonists.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carly

    French Lessons is simply wonderful, a real delight! Paris is known as the city of love and I'll admit I have a bit of a soppy soft spot for all things Paris myself! This novel for me was an escape, one that I so desperately needed, I was transported to Paris alongside the characters and what a fabulous time I had. French Lessons had me daydreaming about spending some time in the city and I was sighing in longing at the delights that the characters experienced. I think this is written brilliantl French Lessons is simply wonderful, a real delight! Paris is known as the city of love and I'll admit I have a bit of a soppy soft spot for all things Paris myself! This novel for me was an escape, one that I so desperately needed, I was transported to Paris alongside the characters and what a fabulous time I had. French Lessons had me daydreaming about spending some time in the city and I was sighing in longing at the delights that the characters experienced. I think this is written brilliantly, very cleverly, having 3 separate stories in Paris but the beginning and the end of the stories are intertwined. The descriptors are the best part of the book, they are rich, vibrant and brought to life wonderfully by Ellen Sussman, who I expect had the pleasure of experiencing this beautiful city for herself! French Lessons is 3 stories of a day in the life's of 3 French tutors, these 3 tutors, Nico, Philippe and Chantal know each other quite well. The days lessons turn out to be very different indeed and what a pleasure it is to read about the 3 entirely different tales. Nico takes the grieving Josie out for her lesson, she is visiting the city hoping to try and get over her heartache. Philippe takes Riley, who desperately craves the attention she is not getting at home, her marriage is going downhill and she is exhausted looking after 2 young kids, she wants more but will she find the courage to walk away? Chantal has to tutor the husband of a famous actor, Jeremy feels like he comes second in his wife's successful lifestyle, but will he be content to stay 2nd best... Well there are plenty of lessons to be had and not just in the french speaking department, lots of life lessons will be discovered and realised for both the tutors and the students. I loved the ending and I really was thrilled with how everything turned out. I would urge everyone to give French Lessons a go, if you are in need of a little escapism yourself then this is definitely the book for you! Carly :) http://fictionfascination.blogspot.co...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Melissa T

    I just picked up this book today and read it in about two hours. It's a quick read, and enjoyable. The scene of Paris is set very well, I felt like I could be walking through the streets myself. I don't know if I will ever go to Paris. I'd like to hope so, but if not, then this book did a good job of giving me a brief, inviting glimpse. There's a lot of sex in this book, but it's written about tastefully. It's a nice mix of rough and raw, and emotional. I did have a hard time feeling for Josie, I just picked up this book today and read it in about two hours. It's a quick read, and enjoyable. The scene of Paris is set very well, I felt like I could be walking through the streets myself. I don't know if I will ever go to Paris. I'd like to hope so, but if not, then this book did a good job of giving me a brief, inviting glimpse. There's a lot of sex in this book, but it's written about tastefully. It's a nice mix of rough and raw, and emotional. I did have a hard time feeling for Josie, the woman who has an affair and loses her lover to a plane crash. She seemed to child like for me to really feel for her. From her converse shoes to the fact that her lover is only ten years younger than her father. She just hasn't quite grown up yet. Maybe the fact that she's pregnant with his child will change that, but we don't know much about what happens to her as she runs away from Nico instead of running away with him. Riley, I felt a lot for. Her marriage is crumbling and she's in Paris while her husband works his business meetings and she stays home with her two children. Her two year old knows more French than she does and she has done about all she can to avoid really exploring Paris She has a sordid fling with her French teacher Phillipe. She mentioned pain au chocolat so many times though that now I really want some. I've turned into a baker in recent months but have no desire to spend the time that I imagine it takes to make pain au chocolat, and no clue where to buy some. I liked Jeremy's story too. His was more of a flirtation with Chantal, (though there were undertones of desire) but he is content, and passionate about his life. The interweave of these characters with their tutors is well done. There were a lot of characters but they were all relevant to one another and not insanely confusing like A Visit from the Goon Squad (Obviously I still have not come to like that book) Th

  17. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Campbell

    During the course of one eventful, enlightening day in Paris, three French tutors and their students each reach a turning point in their lives. The tutors are Nico, Chantal, and Philippe. Nico loves Chantal, and she loves Philippe, who loves whomever he is in bed with at the moment. Chantal and Philippe have been together, though not exclusively on his part, for a year. When Chantal can no longer tolerate Philippe's sexual wanderings, she spends one night with the smitten Nico. The one day in wh During the course of one eventful, enlightening day in Paris, three French tutors and their students each reach a turning point in their lives. The tutors are Nico, Chantal, and Philippe. Nico loves Chantal, and she loves Philippe, who loves whomever he is in bed with at the moment. Chantal and Philippe have been together, though not exclusively on his part, for a year. When Chantal can no longer tolerate Philippe's sexual wanderings, she spends one night with the smitten Nico. The one day in which the book is set begins with complicated emotions and friendships in doubt, and thus the three tutors set off to meet their students. Nico is enchanted by his pupil, Josie, who is mourning the loss of her older, married lover who died along with his son in a plane crash. He was supposed to be with her on the trip to Paris, and now she is alone, pregnant, and being flirted with by her handsome French teacher. When Philippe finally beds his married student, Riley, he discovers that he wants to do more than just teach her to speak in French! Riley, however, has a moment of clarity, and realizes that she truly no longer loves her husband. She also wants nothing more from Philippe than the casual sex he so freely offers. Chantal's student is Jeremy, who is happily married to his movie star wife, but undeniably attracted to his lovely tutor. When Chantal takes him to her flower-filled houseboat on the Seine, he struggles within himself, searching to keep his life on the right track. There are beginnings and endings, regrets and redemption, and wonderful little bursts of the Paris experience, all lived out in just one day. This is an absorbing, quick read. The pace is perfect for the one-day timeframe of the story line. Settle in with a pot of Café Noisette, a plate of fruit and cheese, and a delightful little box of patisseries from your favorite bakery. Enjoy your "French Lessons". Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine

  18. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    I really liked this book and have only given it 3 stars because the last quarter of the book was kind of boring to me. That being said, don’t count this one out. It’s a really good book. To give too much in this review would be to ruin the experience of the book but I’ve noted quite a few quotables which give a feel for the type of book that it is. To me it read like a French film in vignettes. I could hear the voices of the characters so clearly and could even picture them. I love this about th I really liked this book and have only given it 3 stars because the last quarter of the book was kind of boring to me. That being said, don’t count this one out. It’s a really good book. To give too much in this review would be to ruin the experience of the book but I’ve noted quite a few quotables which give a feel for the type of book that it is. To me it read like a French film in vignettes. I could hear the voices of the characters so clearly and could even picture them. I love this about the author’s writing style. It’s very down to earth, very open and passionate. It takes a day in the life of three French language tutors in Paris and the experiences and lessons they teach and learn with their American private lesson students. Trust me it’s so much more than just the language. The book is split up into a few parts. What I love so much about it is that with each one, each experience is so thorough with in-depth backstory that helps you comprehend the present story so you feel you completely know these characters. The author is truly gifted at this. Some books it takes chapters and chapters to understand who your starring cast is whereas, this author gives it to like a briefing in context with the story and you feel that you’ve missed nothing. It really reminded me of a good independent film, which I love. I don’t know much about Paris "the city of love", myself but the descriptions of the city, the landscape and the feelings were so detailed and interesting I feel I want to read more books involving it. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys French or Independent films or the like because it sure reads like one. It’s really an enjoyable quick read. Once again, my only gripe being that to me the last quarter was a little boring after the interest the whole first and second portion of the book held for me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    Ellen Sussman’s French Lessons was . . . eh, fine. Though her writing is lyrical, I got to know her characters in such a limited, superficial way that no one person has stuck with me. Weeks after finishing, I had to physically open the book to remember anyone’s name. That doesn’t bode well. I never thought a book about sex -- and make no mistake: this one oozes with trysts, sensuality and attraction -- could be so dull. Nico was probably my favorite character, but only because he was the one pers Ellen Sussman’s French Lessons was . . . eh, fine. Though her writing is lyrical, I got to know her characters in such a limited, superficial way that no one person has stuck with me. Weeks after finishing, I had to physically open the book to remember anyone’s name. That doesn’t bode well. I never thought a book about sex -- and make no mistake: this one oozes with trysts, sensuality and attraction -- could be so dull. Nico was probably my favorite character, but only because he was the one person I got to know. His love for Chantal, a fellow Parisian and tutor, was touching at times -- and I did like the book’s conclusion. But everyone else was either selfish and dull or ridiculous and campy. I hated and felt no empathy for Josie, a grief-stricken teacher dealing with the death of her married (and not to her, natch) lover. If anything, I only felt sharp twinges of anger toward her. But those were fleeting. I waited for French Lessons to make me feel something, especially since I’m caught up in a tailwind of obsession with Paris at the moment. But in the end, all I felt was a listless desire for this book to be over. The book’s one strength is the gorgeous portrayal of Paris, a character unto itself. I could feel the breeze ruffling my hair from atop the Eiffel Tower and taste the warm goodness of a croissant while seated at a French cafe. In Sussman’s hands, the city becomes the glittering and glamorous array I imagine it to be. It’s the characters -- the human characters -- that leave much to be desired. I did finish French Lessons, though. And I have no problem tossing books aside, so I give it points for that. But unless you’re a diehard francophile, I would probably head for more alluring pastures.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    I received French Lessons in the mail and finished it the same day. I became enamored with Sussman's description of Paris life and quickly transported myself into the city of love. The novel is separated into four separate stories: the tutors and the stories between the tutors and the Americans they are tutoring. The tutors kick off the novel and I became intrigued because I wanted to know how these three radically different people tutored. I think the first story between Nico and Josie is by fa I received French Lessons in the mail and finished it the same day. I became enamored with Sussman's description of Paris life and quickly transported myself into the city of love. The novel is separated into four separate stories: the tutors and the stories between the tutors and the Americans they are tutoring. The tutors kick off the novel and I became intrigued because I wanted to know how these three radically different people tutored. I think the first story between Nico and Josie is by far the best of the bunch. Josie is suffering from a loss and Nico is able to give her the gift of happiness, if only for a second. I identified the most with Josie and felt instantly bad for her. She's not a perfect character, in fact none of the characters are, and that's why I love her. I'm sick of reading novels with protagonists who are supposedly perfect. I like my protagonists to have a few flaws. The next story is of Phillipe and an American woman whose name escapes me, which is not a good sign. This was the shortest story in the book and my least favorite. I kind of hated Phillipe and therefore didn't care about his story. Next is the story of Jeremy and Chantal, much better than the previous story yet I still didn't love it. The characters seemed to be the most disconnected of the three. Finally, the tutors gather again and it brings the novel full circle. All in all I was glad to have a fun piece of fluffy escapism to spend my day with. The book isn't thought provoking but it sure was fun.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from Amazon's Vine program in exchange for an honest review. French Lessons: A Novel by Ellen Sussman From the back of the book: " A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning not just about language but also about love and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways." What I liked about this book: Not much. I really wanted to like the book. It got off to a good start Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from Amazon's Vine program in exchange for an honest review. French Lessons: A Novel by Ellen Sussman From the back of the book: " A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning not just about language but also about love and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways." What I liked about this book: Not much. I really wanted to like the book. It got off to a good start, but fizzled. The book is basically three shorts stories. The first one, about Josie and Nico was the best of the three. In fact I rather liked this story. I felt that the author spent more time developing these characters and their story. I actually cared about these two and wanted to know more about them. What I didn't like about the book: As a reader, I felt that the stories surrounding the other two French tutors were just the author's attempt to turn a short story into a novel. It's as though when she finished writing about Josie and Nico she threw in some other words and characters just to fill space. I found Phillipe/Riley and Chantal/Jeremy to be flat and rather boring. It made it difficult to finish the book. In fact, had I not committed to writing a review, I would not have finished this book. I also did not like the ending. It was rather abrupt and really didn't provide an real resolution to the story. As Dorothy Parker would say: "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jules

    Paris. Three people are taking French lessons with three different tutors. Each of these six people have something in common. A language school and a movie being filmed in Paris provide intersections for these six to interact and learn from one another. They are unsatisfied. Life is a loud, chaotic rush. They are in or are avoiding being in long-term relationships. The time spent in these lessons is a bit dreamy as most vacations are surreal compared to mundane everyday life. Each of the six is Paris. Three people are taking French lessons with three different tutors. Each of these six people have something in common. A language school and a movie being filmed in Paris provide intersections for these six to interact and learn from one another. They are unsatisfied. Life is a loud, chaotic rush. They are in or are avoiding being in long-term relationships. The time spent in these lessons is a bit dreamy as most vacations are surreal compared to mundane everyday life. Each of the six is getting and giving undivided attention that they are not afforded in their real lives. The world is wild and vacations allow us to slow down. Interacting with strangers allows for re-inventing one's self--stories of their past and who they are/how they behave now. They can portray themselves as the people they want to be. The possibilities are boundless. Flirting is fun and makes one think he is falling in love. Who cannot fall in love while leisurely enjoying Paris with an attentive French tutor/student? The six main characters want slightly different things. They each look for that thing in their tutor/student, and in the end, they find/ go after what they truly want. To belong to someone. To find a love that feels like they're coming home. After all, falling in love is much easier than being in love. A lyrical story expertly told. Listening to this story, I felt that I was in Paris. I was sipping cafe creme at a sidewalk bistro watching the tale unfold.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeanine

    I really enjoyed this story. It had a little sex but nothing over the top. The story is written in sections or chapters starting with the tutors and ending with the tutors. The three middle sections are devoted to each student and their tutor and what happens in one day in Paris. -------------------------------------------------------------- Product Description From the Trade Paperback edition. A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with I really enjoyed this story. It had a little sex but nothing over the top. The story is written in sections or chapters starting with the tutors and ending with the tutors. The three middle sections are devoted to each student and their tutor and what happens in one day in Paris. -------------------------------------------------------------- Product Description From the Trade Paperback edition. A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways. Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a spirited but lonely expat housewife, struggles to feel connected to her husband and her new country. And Jeremy, the reserved husband of a renowned actress, is accompanying his wife on a film shoot, yet he feels distant from her world. As they meet with their tutors—Josie with Nico, a sensitive poet; Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt; and Jeremy with the consummately beautiful Chantal—each succumbs to unexpected passion and unpredictable adventures. Yet as they traverse Paris’s grand boulevards and intimate, winding streets, they uncover surprising secrets about one another—and come to understand long-buried truths about themselves.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    This book was a pretty good read. I'd certainly recommend it. I received it as part of a First Reads giveaway. It follows three story lines, those of three different Americans in Paris, and their day with their French tutors. The first is about Josie, a recently-quit high-school teacher of French. Josie's reasons for being in France aren't exactly admirable, but Sussman wrote her in a way that makes her surprisingly sympathetic. Her tutor in Nico, who somewhat nonsensically professes to have falle This book was a pretty good read. I'd certainly recommend it. I received it as part of a First Reads giveaway. It follows three story lines, those of three different Americans in Paris, and their day with their French tutors. The first is about Josie, a recently-quit high-school teacher of French. Josie's reasons for being in France aren't exactly admirable, but Sussman wrote her in a way that makes her surprisingly sympathetic. Her tutor in Nico, who somewhat nonsensically professes to have fallen in love with Josie, but, hey, things are different in France, aren't they? The second is about Riley, the expat housewife of a very busy businessman. Her tutor is Philippe, who manages to fit the stereotype of French men to a tee. This middle story is a very nice one of a woman rediscovering her own self. The third is about Jeremy, husband of a famous movie star. His interactions with his tutor, Chantal, coincide with his questioning of his marriage. A story of love without being a love story, this is an enjoyable read, set perfectly in Paris. The only reason I give it four in stead of five stars is that I felt one of the story lines was not wrapped up completely, leaving me slightly dissatisfied.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Girls Gone Reading

    French Lessons was a welcome surprise. Encompassing the lives of six people (three French, three American), French Lessons focuses on the impact of strangers and the impact of one very important day. Ellen Sussman got the idea for French Lessons from her husband. Working in Paris on their anniversary, Sussman bought her husband lessons with a French tutor to keep him occupied and interested. The tutor turned out to be beautiful. The idea for her story was born. But French Lessons doesn’t focus on l French Lessons was a welcome surprise. Encompassing the lives of six people (three French, three American), French Lessons focuses on the impact of strangers and the impact of one very important day. Ellen Sussman got the idea for French Lessons from her husband. Working in Paris on their anniversary, Sussman bought her husband lessons with a French tutor to keep him occupied and interested. The tutor turned out to be beautiful. The idea for her story was born. But French Lessons doesn’t focus on love. Instead, it focuses on letting go. Sussman deals with characters in conflict, and each of the six characters is at a crossroads. Except for the self-indulged Phillippe, each character realizes that by letting go of their preconceived notations, by letting Paris and their lives in, life itself is better. This novel is, I should say, very sexual. Set in the city of love and lights, Sussman goes all in and discusses the sex lives of each of her characters. Never over the top, French Lessons added sex as a component of these characters’ lives. Right where it should be. French Lessons makes you want to travel, to meet strangers, and to spend a little time alone with yourself. It is a wonderful escape book that might help you come back to yourself better than before.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This was trashy, but decently enjoyable as a breezy afternoon read. I blew through it in about two hours. I will admit I skimmed some of the parts I was less interested in. Riley and Phillippe interested me very little, so I didn't spend a lot of time on them (I didn't really need or care about the babies angle, but I can see how for mothers it would be different). I found Josie's story the most compelling, and spent the most time with her- I wish that part had been longer. Also, what was the po This was trashy, but decently enjoyable as a breezy afternoon read. I blew through it in about two hours. I will admit I skimmed some of the parts I was less interested in. Riley and Phillippe interested me very little, so I didn't spend a lot of time on them (I didn't really need or care about the babies angle, but I can see how for mothers it would be different). I found Josie's story the most compelling, and spent the most time with her- I wish that part had been longer. Also, what was the point of bringing everybody to the Big Party at the End if nothing was going to come of that? Just for the sake of the mirror? Riley and Josie were recognizable people to me, and Lindy. But that was about it. It wasn't as sexy as it was trying to be (except for very occasional moments), but I will say that I appreciated some of its frank discussion of the shades of love and desire and what they are likely to mean in the moment- or not. This wasn't as breathlessly in love with the city itself as many of these type of novels can be. I don't know whether that was good or not- in some ways Paris itself was underutilized. Though, then again, that was far from the point. The book just wanted a setting where certain things are seen as being permitted. Pure, average escapism.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ginger

    Like a bottle of good red wine, open up this book and let it breathe awhile. By the end of the book, you will be savoring the 3 Americans' storylines and how they are connected by the additional storyline of the the three French tutors. If you are a fan of bibliotravel (reading fiction before, during, after a trip with the setting where you travel....or wish you could travel) then this book is for you. You will feel like you had a mini holiday in Paris with all the flavors, sights, smells, and s Like a bottle of good red wine, open up this book and let it breathe awhile. By the end of the book, you will be savoring the 3 Americans' storylines and how they are connected by the additional storyline of the the three French tutors. If you are a fan of bibliotravel (reading fiction before, during, after a trip with the setting where you travel....or wish you could travel) then this book is for you. You will feel like you had a mini holiday in Paris with all the flavors, sights, smells, and sexy pleasures therein. The easy, breezy quality of this read belies the author's writing talent and obvious experience living in Paris. It is also a poignant reflection on intimacy, loneliness, and bereavement. As someone who has lived abroad, the chapter of the American expat mother, Riley, rang so many true notes. Be warned, there are some pretty sexy scenes. But there are also many themes and story arcs that would make for lively book club discussions. So dab on some Channel, eat a warm croissant and crack open this book. You will be transported to Paris!(

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    "French Lessons" is the story of three French tutors and their very different students. Nico's student, Josie, is an American French teacher in mourning. Philippe's student, Riley, is an expatriate housewife who wants more out of life. Chantal's student, Jeremy, is a woodworker whose wife happens to be a film star. The book follows a single day with each pair, with both teachers and students learning something about themselves as the students not only practice their French but open up about their "French Lessons" is the story of three French tutors and their very different students. Nico's student, Josie, is an American French teacher in mourning. Philippe's student, Riley, is an expatriate housewife who wants more out of life. Chantal's student, Jeremy, is a woodworker whose wife happens to be a film star. The book follows a single day with each pair, with both teachers and students learning something about themselves as the students not only practice their French but open up about their issues and concerns. The stories cross paths during a film shoot featuring Jeremy's wife. The prose is elegant and engaging; the book is primarily written in third-person present tense, lending an immediacy to the events. The interior design also shows maps of each pair's journey throughout Paris on the day in question. Highly recommended for those interested in French culture, or who enjoy a good literary novel.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Yoonmee

    Don't you hate it when a "guilty pleasure" book isn't a pleasure at all? I bought this to read on a plane ride figuring it would be nice armchair traveling, even if I was only headed to Pennsylvania and not Paris. Sadly, the book didn't really live up to my expectations. To be clear, I generally don't have high expectations for my "guilty pleasure" reading, but I think this book tried too hard to be more than just a guilty pleasure. (Hey, nothing wrong with reading nor writing guilty pleasure bo Don't you hate it when a "guilty pleasure" book isn't a pleasure at all? I bought this to read on a plane ride figuring it would be nice armchair traveling, even if I was only headed to Pennsylvania and not Paris. Sadly, the book didn't really live up to my expectations. To be clear, I generally don't have high expectations for my "guilty pleasure" reading, but I think this book tried too hard to be more than just a guilty pleasure. (Hey, nothing wrong with reading nor writing guilty pleasure books!) The author seemed as if she was trying to make statements -- or ask questions -- about love, loss, relationships, etc. but she couldn't manage to make her characters all that interesting and/or help the reader feel empathy for them. One reviewer hit the nail on the head when she said (and I hope she doesn't mind me quoting her here), "I think Sussman aims for poignancy but instead lands on maudlin." I couldn't have said it better.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I really enjoyed this story. It was an advance reader's edition provided by The Bookreporter. It's story of 3 different Americans in Paris and their 3 French tutors and what happens to them in the course of one day. The French tutors know each other and have interesting relationships that change as they interact with the Americans in that 1 day. I could really relate to how the Americans in the story felt about being in another country and feel obviously an American and slightly looked down upon I really enjoyed this story. It was an advance reader's edition provided by The Bookreporter. It's story of 3 different Americans in Paris and their 3 French tutors and what happens to them in the course of one day. The French tutors know each other and have interesting relationships that change as they interact with the Americans in that 1 day. I could really relate to how the Americans in the story felt about being in another country and feel obviously an American and slightly looked down upon for not being as fashionable or sophisticated as the natives especially in big European cities. I also was very overwhelmed when I was in Spain last spring and was unable to speak Spanish after 6 years of studying the language. I wish I could have had a Spanish tutor to take me around Madrid!

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