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Blame It on Paris Paperback – October 3, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Florand's debut novel is the semiautobiographical story of the intercontinental courtship of Laura H— and Sébastien Florand. Laura, in Paris for a year on a Fulbright in 2001, isn't looking for love, but after her friends dare her, she invites to a party the hot bistro waiter she's been salivating over. They, of course, hit it off; Sébastien proves to be suave, romantic and smart, and a talented artist to boot. When Laura's scholarship ends, she returns to America, but unable to bear their separation, she quits her Ph.D. program and returns to Paris to live with Sébastien in an apartment "smaller than most American cars." Clashing cultures—she's from rural Georgia—supply much of the humor; after Laura and Sébastien decide to marry, his extended family flies to Georgia to see the couple wed at her family home, and though the French contingent's reactions to American culture—no wine on Sundays?— are funny, preparations for the epic French village wedding are much more interesting. The lovers' quarrels, however, are tedious, and Florand's lengthy descriptions of the vast spools of red tape the couple encounter while trying to secure work permits and visas seem extraneous in this frothy French confection of a novel. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Southern belle Laura is perfectly happy to spend her time as a graduate student in Paris gorging on chocolate, complaining about rude locals, and eschewing any sort of romance. Enter Sebastien, a cute waiter-aspiring graphic artist. What starts as a crush turns into a full-fledged relationship, and soon Laura is contemplating staying in Paris, and maybe even marrying. What follows is a sometimes hilarious and sometimes ridiculous adventure involving four weddings, two in rural Georgia and two in France. Florand's romance relies heavily on cultural stereotypes and misunderstandings to set up humorous situations. Ultimately, it's how well Laura and Sebastien's families take to each other, and to helping the newlyweds, that generates the sweet surprise. This is a fun, frothy tale for anyone who has ever conjured up a dashing foreigner to sweep her off her feet. Readers will be happy to live vicariously in Laura's French fairy tale. Aleksandra Kostovski
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Reading about the "most annoying character ever" and the criticism of the heroine's low self-esteem, I can see where the reviewer is coming from. Yes, the main character can't believe this great guy is really interested in her. But let's stop pretending that super hot awesome guys with real careers seek out PhD grad students. Because guess what? They don't! The beauty of this story is that a woman with low self-esteem that questions her choices throughout the book still gets the guy because the guy loves her enough to fight her internal struggles.
Another reviewer was upset that the author was so anti-French. Now, I think it was refreshing to see an author discuss the reality of Paris and the people she encountered before she met Sebastian's friends and family. The difference in point of view that the heroine has at the beginning vs the end (if you can bother to read more than 100 pages--shame on you for a review based on the initial character instead of the dynamic character) illustrates a transition. Sure, she still has some stereotypes firmly held regarding France vs. her home in the US (Georgia), but stereotypes have their root in reality. However, she is converted on her many experiences to see the French way of life and she doesn't shy away from new experiences. This joi de vivre is a core component of the heroine's personality that battles with the low self-esteem...perhaps some negative readers see this joy of living as more of a failure of speaking up for oneself (thus low self-esteem)...but I chose to see it as a willingness to try something new. This story shows how the core culture may be different between individuals, but as long as each person has a willingness to experience something new, then everyone can get along.
Other readers may see contemporary romances as an escape from their everyday lives. I am a reader that reads romance novels to feed my internal optimist. Happy endings make me happy. Love stories make me feel that anything is possible. And a fictionalized account of a real love story with a happy ending is sure as heck going to make my optimism tank overflow. And that is a great thing.
Disclaimer: I am from the north suburbs of Atlanta so I do not see the author's Georgia roots as "redneck" as described by another reviewer. A redneck she is not (insert comment about how many Catholic rednecks do you know). I like the compare/contrast between two difference cultures. I also took a lot of French while in school, and love chocolate...so maybe I'm what you would call a "target demographic" and my opinion should be discounted.
But a good book is a good book if it has a good story provided by a good author. A great author will always be able to write some piece into her heroine that a reader will identify with. And really, doesn't everyone battle with low self-esteem at some point in their lives? More than a good book, this is a great story that SHOULD make you smile and believe anything is possible.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This novel is a story of college students wanting to go to Paris, France, to study abroad.Read more