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About Harriet Welty Rochefort
Harriet Welty Rochefort is the author of a just-out historical novel, "Final Transgression", and three nonfiction books about the French, "French Toast, "French Fried", and "Joie de Vivre".
A French-American dual national, Harriet grew up in Iowa, earned degrees at the University of Michigan (B.A.) and Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism (MSJ), then traveled to France - and never left.
She lives with her French husband, Philippe, in a garden apartment in the "far east" of Paris.
Her fourth book and first novel, "Final Transgression", is set between Paris and southwest France before and during WW2. Its beautiful, sparkling and strong willed heroine ignores advice not to travel from Paris to her beloved hometown in the southwest, where résistants hide out in the remote countryside to combat the Nazis and their own compatriots who have chosen to collaborate with the pro-German Vichy regime. When she discovers that her wealthy, collaborationist husband has betrayed her, her sole desire is to re-unite with friends and her past which she remembers as a kind of Paradise. Instead, she discovers a town overrun by the enemy and, in spite of her desire to remain apolitical, finds herself caught up in the complex and dangerous political climate of this time and place. In the words of the eminent historian Robert O. Paxton: “Harriet Welty Rochefort’s historically well-grounded "Final Transgression" starts with rural tranquility and accelerates to a shocking end as a young woman’s high spirits entangle her in the turmoil of Nazi-occupied France. A vigorous and compelling tale.”
All of Harriet's books reflect her fascination with the French. Her first book, "French Toast", is a humorous account of what it's like to be an American in a French family, honing in on all the things she can't figure out, whether it's the French educational system (positive reinforcement is definitely not on the agenda) or how the French women manage to look so terrific with seemingly little effort.
"French Fried", describes the culinary capers of an American in Paris. She tells how, thanks to her French mother-in-law's tips, her cooking evolved from opening a can of peas to casually slinging out four-course meals as a matter of routine - in a tiny French kitchen. Along the way, she explores the wonderful world of French cuisine, touring cheese and wine cellars and lands a hard to come by invitation to a champagne tasting at the Ritz.
"Joie de Vivre: Secrets of Wining, Dining, and Romancing Like the French" investigates the French way of enjoying life. The French, she writes, revel in the moment and add style to small things; they enjoy more leisure time than most Americans can dream of - without an ounce of guilt. Their joie de vivre can come where you least expect it. Ever wonder why the French look like they're shouting at each other? They are! That's because part of their joie de vivre is in disagreeing with each other. A day without discord is a sad day indeed.
In "Joie de Vivre", as in all her books about the French, Harriet writes from long experience, with good humor and genuine affection for the inhabitants of her adopted country.
You can find more about Harriet at www.harrietweltyrochefort.com or visit her on Facebook and Twitter.
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An engaging exploration of the style that permeates all things French—perfect for anyone looking to achieve that classic French flair
For Harriet Welty Rochefort, an American who has lived in France for many years with her very French husband, it's clear that the French truly are singular in the way they live, act, and think—from the lightness of their pastries to the refinement of their Hermes scarves. They simply exude a certain je ne sais quoi that is a veritable art form. The French revel in the moment, appreciate the time spent in preparing a perfect feast, pay attention to the slightest detail--whether flowers on the table or a knockout accessory on a simple outfit--and work hard when not enjoying their (considerable) leisure time without an ounce of guilt. Their joie de vivre can come where you least expect it: for the French it's better to have a chagrin d'amour than no amour at all, and for the Frenchman a day without discord is a day without a kick. They have fun (yes, fun !) when they fuss and feud, squabble and shrug.
When it comes to joie de vivre, Harriet is convinced the French are unbeatable. With good humor and genuine affection for the prickly, paradoxical, and pleasure-seeking Gauls, she takes the reader on her own personal journey through the often byzantine French mindset, sharing tips and tricks such as how to diet like a Frenchwoman and project confidence like a true Parisienne.
In her signature warm, witty, and entertaining voice, Harriet shows how joie de vivre permeates the French way of life, precisely because it doesn't include a "pursuit of happiness." Fortunately, she discovered, you don't have to "pursue" happiness in France. It pursues you.
Peter Mayle may have spent a year in Provence, but Harriet Welty Rochefort writes from the wise perspective of one who has spent more than twenty years living among the French. From a small town in Iowa to the City of Light, Harriet has done what so many of dream of one day doing-she picked up and moved to France. But it has not been twenty years of fun and games; Harriet has endured her share of cultural bumps, bruises, and psychic adjustments along the way.
In French Toast, she shares her hard-earned wisdom and does as much as one woman can to demystify the French. She makes sense of their ever-so-French thoughts on food, money, sex, love, marriage, manners, schools, style, and much more. She investigates such delicate matters as how to eat asparagus, how to approach Parisian women, how to speak to merchants, how to drive, and, most important, how to make a seven-course meal in a silk blouse without an apron! Harriet's first-person account offers both a helpful reality check and a lot of very funny moments.
Summer 1994: To mark the 50th anniversary of D-Day, an American reporter interviews 85-year-old Caroline Aubry, Séverine’s sister. Caroline tells of fleeing the Germans by taking to the road in May 1940, then returning to a Paris that has been overrun by Germans flirting with young French girls, playing oom-pah band music in the parks, and imposing strict rationing on the city while keeping the best food and wine for themselves.
What Caroline omits is a story she has never revealed, even to her son Félix. Now, though, unsettled by the interview and the memories it evokes, Caroline decides that it is time for Félix to learn the secrets of the past…
"A gripping, beautifully written novel about love and betrayal." ––Lynne Olson, New York Times bestselling author of Madame Fourcade’s Secret War
"A vigorous and compelling tale." ––Robert O. Paxton, author of Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order
"Elegant and often moving." ––Alan Riding, author of And The Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-occupied Paris
"Final Transgression succeeds admirably in edifying while moving its readers." ––Ronald C. Rosbottom, author of When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light under German Occupation 1940-1944
"Harriet Welty Rochefort paints this complex tableau of war in France with a fine brush and a great deal of humanity." ––Mary Fleming, author of The Art of Regret and Someone Else
"A taut tale of love, war and politics... brings powerfully to life Paris and the Périgord, before and during WW2 and the Occupation." ––Martin Walker, author of the Bruno detective series