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Customer Review

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enchanting story, April 21, 2006
This review is from: Mademoiselle Benoir: A Novel (Hardcover)
This is a novel written entirely in the form of letters -- and it's a romance. "Mademoiselle Benoir" by Christine Conrad is at once an old-fashioned love story and a completely modern one. At the age of 33, Tim Reinhart buys an old farmhouse in France. Once an assistant professor, he has removed himself from the "American treadmill of success" to concentrate on his drawing. But mom and dad back in New York City aren't happy that their son has moved to France. So they write, he writes, everybody writes. As Reinhart explains, "Sometimes it is easier to pull up the deeper layers of what's going on in one's mind in a letter," so we get to see intimate details of his life.

When he falls in love, he has to deal with disapproving relatives, French laws and the Catholic church. Through the epistolary format, we witness the same event from different people and, as we see more than one side of the characters, they become very real. Reinhart describes the lively, quirky personalities in the neighborhood and the clash of cultures. He shares his love for the French countryside, "the way it spreads itself out before you in great waves, so you can appreciate every turn in the road."

The book makes the reader think about relationships, how everything changes when one's needs and priorities change. It's an enchanting story packaged in a lovely little book.
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Location: Ravenna, OH

Top Reviewer Ranking: 251,048