As someone who lived in Paris for over five years, I’m always intrigued to read books about people who, for whatever reason, find themselves in the City of Light. Today I’m sharing the story of Samantha Vérant who first found herself in Paris at the age of 19. On this trip, she meets a handsome French scientist (Jean-Luc) and they spend one magical day together exploring the city. Though he begs her to extend her stay, Sam sticks to her travel plans and leaves Jean-Luc with only her home address and the memory of a lovely day. When Sam returns home after her trip, Jean-Luc writes to her exactly seven times. She never writes back.
Fast-forward 20 years when Sam finds herself facing divorce and bankruptcy. She happens upon Jean-Luc’s old letters and, aided and abetted by Google and Facebook, she tracks him down and writes to him, apologising for the long delay in responding to his letters. Ultimately this decision is one which will change her life and what happens afterwards is documented agonisingly, hilariously in Sam’s debut novel, Seven Letters From Paris.
I’m not going to spoil the story for you (I read this book in one sitting – on the plane coming home from Paris this summer!) because it is such a delightful read but I’ll tell you it has a very happy ending 😉 If you need more convincing, you can watch the book trailer and as a bonus, here’s a sneak peek excerpt…
Tonight I’m cooking from the heart, choosing self-belief over fear. Although I’ve always been a culinary adventuress, experimenting with recipes ripped from the pages of Bon Appétit and Gourmet since the age of twelve, Jean-Luc and I usually prepare this particular meal together—him manning the stove, me the eager sous-chef, slicing and dicing the parsley, shallots, and garlic. Now, thanks to his gentle coaching, I’m a little more confident when it comes to the art of preparing flammable French cuisine. And I can’t let a little heat scare me out of my own kitchen.
The time has finally come to conquer my anxiety of flambéing—on my own. On the first strike, the match hisses to life, trailing a wisp of smoke. I take a step back, reach out my arm, and touch the lit tip into the pastis with a steady hand. Flames flare up and the aroma of the anise-flavored liqueur permeates the kitchen. The blaze settles into a simmer, and I let out the breath I’ve been holding in. My technique is still not flawless though; to the cat’s delight, one plump shrimp tumbles onto the floor. Bella lifts her haunches and pounces on her prey. I may not have the pan flip down, but I have one very happy, pint-sized panther.
To find out how Sam goes from Googling Jean-Luc to flambéing for him, you’ll just have to read the book but I promise you it’s a read that will have you smiling from ear to ear by the end. Reading Seven Letters from Paris is like sitting down with Sam over a bottle of wine and hearing her tell you the story herself. Delightful!
Buy Seven Letters from Paris on Amazon or Amazon Canada. Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.
This week bloggers and writers all over the world have been reviewing and writing about Seven Letters from Paris and some have even interviewed Samantha. Check out their posts:
Win a copy of Seven Letters from Paris (Canada, US, France)
That’s right, thanks to SourceBooks I have a copy of Seven Letters from Paris to give away to a lucky reader with a Canadian, US or French address!
To enter, simply leave a comment on this post telling me why you’d like a copy of Seven Letters from Paris.
For a bonus entry, tweet the following message: Win @samantha_verant ‘s Seven Letters from Paris from @Sourcebooks + @eatlivtravwrite (CA, US, FR only). Details: http://bit.ly/1rY7JML
then come back to leave me a comment on this post telling me you did.
Eligibility and contest rules
- Open to to readers with a Canadian, US or French address only.
- No purchase of any product necessary for entry.
- Winner will be chosen using Random.org from all qualified entries on Wednesday October 16th 2014 after 6pm EST.
- Winner will be contacted via email on Thursday October 17th 2014.
Disclosure: I received a copy of “Seven Letters from Paris” from SourceBooks for review purposes. I was not further compensated for writing this post.