This is a book that came highly recommended during the Paris in July read-a-long. I would have liked to have entered such a group of bloggers but I knew that my access to reading books on Paris would be nearly zero. I picked this one up now and wasn't it a winner.
Something that lots of us would maybe like to do. Take a year off from whatever we are doing - in this case a Shakespeare professor - take the family and go live in Paris for one year. It is a book that drags you in and won't let you get out. An original take on one woman's insight into living in Paris with an Italian husband, two children of eleven and fifteen who are trying desperately to cope with a new language and a new set of friends and her own foray into the world of French women, French food and the French way of life.
It also brings us glimpses of immigrants, the homeless of Paris, museums and churches galore and I loved the list of fairly unknown museums at the end which was a personal recommendation of the author.
The author decided to go to Paris to live after hearing herself diagnosed with breast cancer and just two weeks after her mother died of the disease. The book signifies her triumph in spirit and the way she embraces life with all its differences, determined to enjoy life and at the same time makes sure that her children also experience life in another dimension. The story of Luca and Anna is uplifting - in a strange environment learning Latin and French and making new friends is never easy but these two children manage very well and I loved how they adapted to their new environment. The support of Alessandro the author's husband was immense and she could not have done this without him. The flashbacks to James's Minnesota background was a nice contrast to their present way of living and highlighted the differences.
Told in snippets and each one varying greatly from the previous one - you could be reading ten lines on a fabulous museum, then going on to French women and their sartorial touches and then moving on to an episode of Anna and her erstwhile enemy now turned best friend Domitilla and then moving on to a mouthwatering menu.
An enchanting read.