Tag: Books: Books on France Reading Challenge 2013


Review: Cousin Bette

Posted 3 July, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Cousin Bette
By: Honore de Balzac
Format/Source: eBook; my copy

Poor, plain spinster Bette is compelled to survive on the condescending patronage of her socially superior relatives in Paris: her beautiful, saintly cousin Adeline, the philandering Baron Hulot and their daughter Hortense. Already deeply resentful of their wealth, when Bette learns that the man she is in love with plans to marry Hortense, she becomes consumed by the desire to exact her revenge and dedicates herself to the destruction of the Hulot family, plotting their ruin with patient, silent malice.

Up next in my tour de force in classic French literature is Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac. I’ve heard of him every now and then in passing but I’ve never read any of his work until now. It was between reading this title and Pere Goriot and this book won out because it sounded like a curious character drama. May contain some spoilers ahead!

This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.

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Review: The Summer of France + Giveaway

Posted 24 June, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 14 Comments



The Summer of France
By: Paulita Kincer
Format/Source: Paperback courtesy of the author as part of the The Summer of France Book Tour

When Fia Jennings loses her job at the local newspaper, she dreams of bonding with her teenage twins. As she realizes she may be too late to pull her family closer, her husband Grayson pressures her to find another job to pay the increasing bills. Relief comes with a phone call from Fia’s great Uncle Martin who runs a bed and breakfast in Provence. Uncle Martin wants Fia to venture to France to run the B&B so he and his wife Lucie can travel. He doesn’t tell Fia about the secret he hid in the house after fighting in World War II, and he doesn’t mention the people who are tapping his phone and following him, hoping to find the secret.

After much cajoling, Fia whisks her family to France and is stunned when Uncle Martin and Aunt Lucie leave the same day for a Greek cruise. She’s thrown into the minutiae of a running the B&B without the benefit of speaking the language. Her dreams of family bonding time fade as her teenagers make French friends. Fia’s husband Grayson begins touring the countryside with a sophisticated French woman, and Fia resists the distractions of Christophe, a fetching French man. Why the whirlwind of French welcome, Fia wonders after she comes home from a day at the beach in Nice to find someone has ransacked the B&B.

Fia analyzes Uncle Martin’s obscure phone calls, trying to figure out this WW II hero’s secret. Can she uncover the secret and relieve Uncle Martin’s guilt while building the family she’s always dreamed of?

(No violence. No graphic sex, some sexual situations.)

I first came across The Summer of France on Goodreads as one of the giveaways. The premise was interesting, mixing a bit of family drama/relocating to a new place to start over and a family mystery involving an event that happened during World War Two. I’m excited to take part in the blog tour for this novel hosted by France Book Tours. Be sure to check out the end of this post where you can enter to win a paperback copy of this novel (US/Canada only)!

This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.

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Commentary: All Our Worldly Goods

Posted 14 June, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

All Our Worldly Goods
By: Irene Nemirovsky
Format/Source: Paperback; my copy

Pierre and Agnes marry for love against the wishes of his parents and the family patriarch, the tyrannical industrialist Julien Hardelot, provoking a family feud which cascades down the generations. Even when war is imminent and Pierre is called up, the old man is unforgiving. Taut, evocative and beautifully paced, All Our Worldly Goods points up with heartbreaking detail and clarity how close were those two wars, how history repeated itself, tragically, shockingly…

I first read this book some four years ago when I started grad school (review). It was my first Irene Nemirovsky novel; I decided to pick this book up after having heard wonderful things from both fellow book lovers and from her then-recently-discovered-and-published book Suite Francaise (review). I was going through my bookshelves recently and couldn’t remember too much about this novel so I decided to re-visit it. Contains some spoilers ahead!

This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.

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Review: Mission to Paris

Posted 12 June, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Mission to Paris
By: Alan Furst
Format/Source: galley courtesy of Random House via NetGalley

Late summer, 1938. Hollywood film star Fredric Stahl is on his way to Paris to make a movie. The Nazis know he’s coming—a secret bureau within the Reich has been waging political warfare against France, and for their purposes, Fredric Stahl is a perfect agent of influence. What they don’t know is that Stahl, horrified by the Nazi war on Jews and intellectuals, has become part of an informal spy service run out of the American embassy. Mission to Paris is filled with heart-stopping tension, beautifully drawn scenes of romance, and extraordinarily alive characters: foreign assassins; a glamorous Russian actress-turned-spy; and the women in Stahl’s life. At the center of the novel is the city of Paris—its bistros, hotels grand and anonymous, and the Parisians, living every night as though it were their last. Alan Furst brings to life both a dark time in history and the passion of the human hearts that fought to survive it.

I’ve always been meaning to read Alan Furst’s books–historical-espionage fiction set during/around World War Two and the Cold War–but for some reason I just never really got around to it. So naturally I was pretty excited to learn that I was approved of a galley copy of this novel from the publishers through NetGalley.

This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.

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Review: Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa

Posted 28 May, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 3 Comments

Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa
By: Benjamin Constable
Source: Advanced reading copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster Canada

What writer Benjamin Constable needs is a real-life adventure wilder than his rampant imagination. And who better to shake up his comfortable Englishman-in-Paris routine than the enigmatic Tomomi “Butterfly” Ishikawa, who has just sent a cryptic suicide note?She’s planted a slew of clues—in the pages of her journal, on the hard drive of her computer, tucked away in public places, under flowerpots, and behind statues. Heartbroken, confused, and accompanied by an imaginary cat, Ben embarks upon a scavenger hunt leading to charming and unexpected spaces, from the hidden alleys of Paris to the cobblestone streets of New York City.

But Butterfly’s posthumous messages are surprisingly well informed for the words of a dead person, and they’re full of confessions of a past darkened by insanity, betrayal, and murder. The treasures Ben is unearthing are installments of a gruesome memoir. Now he must draw a clear line between the real and surreal if he is to save himself, Butterfly, and what remains of their crazy and amazing friendship.

I received a copy of this novel from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. It was described as a cross between Haruki Murakami and the movie Amelie, which immediately piqued my interest since a) I enjoyed reading Murakami’s Norwegian Wood (review) and b) Amelie is one of my favourite movies ever. This novel will be available for purchase on June 4.

This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.

May contain some very minor spoilers ahead!

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