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Lessons in French Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2010

4 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Often flat and uninspired in its interactions, this by-the-numbers 1820s romance relies on complicated subplots and the heartstring-tugging tale of reunited childhood sweethearts. Lady Callista Taillefaire has been jilted three times and is resolved to devote herself to raising cattle, particularly her prize-winning bull, Hubert. When her lost love, Trevelyn, returns from nine years away, that resolve is firmly tested, but no sooner is their romance rekindled than he is convicted of forgery and forced into exile. Readers may enjoy the history lessons in several creaky but soundly constructed tales of Trevelyn's wartime experiences with another of Callie's former suitors, but Kinsale neglects to fill in the background details for Trevelyn and his unsavory valet, ex-boxer Jock, preferring to follow romance conventions with monotonous regularity. (Feb.)
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"Lessons in French was a lesson in life, love, and laughter for me... This wonderful novelist has been "missing in action" for the past five years and I, for one, am elated that she's returned. " - Once Upon a Romance

"Heartbreaking, poetic, and desperately hopeful -- Lessons in French just might be Laura Kinsale's best yet. A Night Owl Romance Reviewer Top Pick" - Night Owl Romance

"One of the most beloved authors of the genre returns with a lighthearted, joyous love story... [Readers] will delight in the engaging characters, Kinsale's sparkling sense of humor and the pure joy of reading a romance crafted by a master. " - The Romantic Times

"The characters crackle with energy and life." - Coffee Time Romance

"Playful and amusing." - Romance Reader at Heart

"A classically romantic and elegant read. " - Barnes and Noble Heart to Heart

"A lighthearted romantic romp. " - Mrs. Giggles

"From one of the genre's much-admired historical authors... a worthy valentine for the season. " - BookPage

"Kinsale takes us on a journey of intrigue. " - Affaire de Coeur

"Lessons in French has everything a reader is looking for in historical romance. " - Thoughts from an Evil Overlord
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; No Edition Stated edition (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402237014
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402237010
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 4.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,445,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laura Kinsale is a New York Times bestselling author and both winner and multiple nominee for the Best Book of the Year award given by the Romance Writers of America. Her novel FLOWERS FROM THE STORM was chosen by readers of Glamour Magazine and the Washington Post as one of the Greatest Love Stories of All Time.

Laura believes that a romance novel can be more. More fascinating characters than you ever anticipated. More unexpected depth. Emotion to engage your heart and your mind. Stories that keep you awake and words you will remember long after you close the book.

Whenever readers list their "Desert Isle Keepers," the books they couldn't live without, Laura Kinsale's award-winning historical romances are included near the top.


You've heard of Nick and Norah...well, now you can listen to Nick and Laura. Find out all about my audiobooks, read by the incomparable Nicholas Boulton, at www.hedgehoginc.com

I personally chose Nick to narrate my books, and it's been phenomenal. Not only does he have the World's Wickedest Sexy Voice, he's brought a true artist's creativity and respect to my books. Every single audiobook is a unique work of art in itself--these are very, very special recordings. Many listeners have said it's like reading one of my novels again for the very first time--that's an amazing compliment to Nick's ability to bring my characters to vivid life.

His mesmerizing performance of For My Lady's Heart was a 2014 Audie Finalist. (The Audies are the Oscars of the audiobook world) And Flowers from the Storm? Well, just listen to the sample clip on Audible www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Flowers-from-the-Storm-Audiobook/B00D5IJ5T6

Even if you've never tried an audiobook, Nick Boulton will wow you. Go to http://www.hedgehoginc.com for a list of my currently released titles, audio samples and links to the story of how I chose Nick for my narrator. Or just go straight to Audible.com.

Why a puppy for an author photo? There have been a few fake author pages on the web purporting to be Laura. So whenever you see a picture of Ventoux the Peter Pan of Great Pyrenees dogs, you know it's authentic Laura Kinsale.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you have read her books in the past, then you know they tend to fall into two categories: challenging and serious - or a bit more lighthearted but with depth. This falls into the latter category and has a lot of whimsy and charm but with the same Kinsale trademarks:

- strong male character who is definitely flawed, unsure, and 3 Dimensional. It's in her heroes that her strength lies - they aren't cookie cutter ciphers but do things that are unwise or even self destructive (just as a normal person does). You don't have the usual historical hero who is wealthy, knowledgeable, self assured, super intelligent, a 'rake', and utterly perfect - and then falls for random spirited girl. Instead, you have a 'wounded' man who finds a light at the end of the tunnel with someone who can understand his pain.

- female lead who isn't the prototypical "spitfire" who says and does dumb things just so she can be rescued from her own 'spirit.' Instead, Kinsale often gives her heroines quiet strength and dignity. That's what really draws me to Kinsale's protaganists - that sensibility. The heroes and heroines play the same game we all have to play - not knowing the true feelings of the other or why they do what they do.

- Obsessive love. It's complete and unconditional and Kinsale is really good at making the reader feel the depth and commitment (and reasoning) that the male character is so in love with the female character.

- A lot of pathos and depth to the characterization of many of the people in the book. No one is purely bad or good and many are just doing what people do normally - be selfish or unobservant. Kinsale is wonderful at plumbing psychological depths and characters don't act irrationally just to create a 'situation' that moves a plot.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
She's back. And what a lovely way to come back. In Lessons in French Laura Kinsale has written a beautiful love story about friendship and loss, loyalty and love. She's made the heiress wallflower a charming character and the dashing Frenchman endearing in spite of his misadventures. Callie and Trev were each other's first love, then circumstances tore them apart. Now Trev is back, whether for good or not remains to be seen.

There's something about stories of first love that we romance readers can't help but be drawn to. Add to that a second chance at love and we just have to find out what happens. Will they finally get their HEA (Happily Ever After)? For Callie and Trev the road to HEA is filled with one detour after another. It's an adventure of laughter, love, friendship, narrow escapes, hiding from the law and waking up in the arms of your true love.

It's been nine years since Trev left. In those nine years Callie has had three fiancés along with three broken engagements. She is now twenty-seven and unsure of her future. She has recently come out of mourning for her father, the late Earl of Shelford. With her cousin Jasper now the earl and his wife Dolly wishing for both Callie and her younger sister Hermione gone from Shelford Hall, Callie no longer feels welcomed in her own home. It looks as though Callie's hope lies in her sister marrying someone willing to allow Callie to live with them. Not exactly the brightest of futures. Then Trev comes back and her world is turned upside down as she is once again caught up in his adventures.

Callie is a wonderful heroine. She's practical but has this fantastic whimsical side where she daydreams of romantic and humorous scenes of her life as she would imagine it.
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After young lovers Callie and Trev are separated by an angry earl, nine years' passage of time is not enough to make them to forget one another. When the characters meet again, it is clear they are still achingly in love, but as the chapters quickly unfold, the nine years' separation (and ensuing consequences) must be dealt with. This is "classic Kinsale" in that her effervescent wit and prose styling defies the reader to not smile or even laugh aloud. There is a bit of mystery, some upending of cliches, madcap humor, and conflicting claims of possession--and that's just for Hubert the prize bull! The same and even more applies to Callie and Trev. One of the best aspects of Laura Kinsale's writing is her sunlight-and-shadows portrayal of her characters. There's a poignancy about both Callie and Trev that makes them more than cardboard cutouts on a Regency paper stage. Their mistakes, eccentricities, miscommunications and efforts to both cling and let go make them fully dimensional characters. Add in lyrical eroticism and page-turning pacing, and this book becomes a gift to the reader.
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A new Laura Kinsale book!!!!!!!!! I pre-ordered this book as soon as I knew of its existence and happily awaited its delivery by Amazon (early, which made me even happier).

If you are a Laura Kinsale fan (as am I) you will probably buy this book. I certainly recommend that you do so, as waiting for her work is a little like waiting for rain in the desert - you take what you get.

I really liked the characters in this book; Trev and Callie are great fun, full of the quirkiness that makes them fully drawn and interesting; like someone you might like to get to know. I never fully felt as if I knew Trev, until the end, and didn't feel as if he was drawn with as much detail as Callie was. Still, he is a complex and interesting hero - full of flaws and human frailties that make him more compelling. Callie, too, the wallflower that purposefully dresses poorly and spends her time at parties contemplating her toes and daydreaming, is interesting, fun and very human. Secondary characters including Trev's mother, Callie's cousin-in-law and others are well drawn and make for a good read.

The plot however, seems to bounce all over the place. Is Trev a good guy or a bad guy? Should Callie trust him or not trust him? Some plot twists - including hiding a prize bull with laundry - are both funny and clever, but others just remind me of the old Abbot and Costello routine "Who's on First". I'll probably read it again just to see if the plot makes better sense on a second reading, and hope that Laura is hard at work on something else which I look forward to - but also hope she manages to avoid tangling up the silk lines of her plot so much.
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