Thursday, May 24, 2012

French Lessons by Ellen Sussman

Paperback: 242 pages
Genre: Romantic Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books 2011
Source: Gift from a blogging friend over at Normandy Life
First Sentence: ' Brilliant sunlight spills through the windows of the Vivre a la Francaise language school.'
Review Quote: 'What a delicious read! With sexual tension that crackles on the page, French Lessons is a literary page-turner I truly couldn't put down'. Lolly Winston, Author.
My Opinion: Emotional and Erotic.

I am not sure what I was expecting from this novel but it was certainly not the emotional and erotic read that I found within the pages. It was a surprise but not an unpleasant one as this was a touching read of hopes and expectations and so much more than a romantic story set in Paris.

Paris takes centre stage as we visit the city for just one day in contemporary times, in the company of six people. Three of them Nico, Phillippe and Chantal are language tutors and the remaining three are their students. We follow the six of them in three different stories within the novel  all excellently intertwined as the characters inner most thoughts are revealed to us. Each story covers the day the student and pupil spend together in Paris, which incidentally comes alive on the page with the authors great descriptions.  The stories are not surprisingly character driven, there is no plot as such but that for me was part of what made it a different and unusual read.

First up was the tutor Nico, a young and handsome poet who is somewhat of a surprise to his pupil Josie, a young American French teacher who hopes to heal a broken heart in Paris. The second story, remember covering the same day is with tutor Phillipe, 'he's tall and gangly with wasted rock star good looks', to quote the author and he obviously considers himself a real ladies man. His pupil is Riley a young expat wife and mother who is having problems settling into her Parisian lifestyle. Finally we meet Jeremy, the quiet husband of a famous actress accompanying his wife on location, yet feeling remote from her. His French Lessons with the beautiful Chantal were a Wedding Anniversary present to him from his wife!

Intrigued, enough to want to read more about these six as they explore Paris, uncovering each others secrets and giving in to unexpected passion?  I recommend this to those of you looking for something different, with either a love of Paris or wanting to discover more about this beautiful city.

I would like to read more from this author and having just learnt from her website that the film rights have been sold for this title, I also hope to see the film some day.

                                             French Lessons : A Novel by Ellen Sussman.

                                                               Uploaded by  on Jun 9, 2011  

I found this video on YouTube of the author discussing how she came up with the idea for this novel. Do watch if you have a few minutes to spare as I think it will make you smile and there are no spoilers.

Author Profile

Ellen Sussman was born in Trenton, NJ and has lived in Boston, Philly, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Paris and Northern California.  She has two daughters and lives with her husband in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has worked at many jobs including tennis instructor, restaurant manager, and college teacher but through all the transmutations of her life she has been writing, since the age of six, stubbornly, persistently, with great cockiness and wild insecurity, through praise and piles of rejection letters. She has given up her writing career many times, but only for a day or two, and her family has now learned to ignore her new career choices. She is a writer, an almost daily writer, a writer who actually loves to write. 

The biographical information, photo and the video used in this post are with thanks to the following websites:    YouTube    Goodreads Author Profile     Author's Official Website

I have chosen to read this title as the letter F for The A - Z Book  Challenge which I have decided to attempt to achieve in alphabetical order. I have a good selection of titles to choose from our bookshelves, it will be interesting to see how far I can get before I get stuck. You can follow my progress here. 


  1. Hi LindyLou I have nominated you for a beautiful blogger award here! :)
    Thank you for supporting my blog.

    1. Thanks for thinking of me and nominating me for an award, it is appreciated. Unfortunately you did not see the little badge, stating this is an award free blog in my side bar. I decided this was the best option as I want to keep this blog strictly for reviews.

  2. Thanks for the review, LInda. I am working on my summer reading list this weekend! ALso, I wanted to let you know that I have decided to turn my Literary Friday posts into a weekly link party. I hope you will join me! I miss the What We're Reading, and I want to try one more time.

    1. Now I have a fully functioning computer again I hope to be able to join in sometimes.

  3. Thanks for the review Linda, will keep a wee eye out for this one


  4. Nice review of Talli's books (I tried to leave a comment in that post but for some reason the comment box wouldn't work for me). Thank you too for your comment about my palindrome post. Have a good week.

  5. This looks like an interesting book, just off to see where I can find it. Diane

  6. Diane@ I hope you manage to locate a copy, if only I had been able to pass my copy on to you.


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