Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Week in Paris with Eloisa James

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What a lovely family to spend time with! And here I thought Eloisa James was "just" a romance writer. I MUST rid myself of this hangup with romance writers! Yes, she does apparently pen many historical novels, books that probably are the reason Ms. James can afford to up and whisk her Italian hubby and two delightful children off to live in Paris for a year. Did I mention that she's also a Shakespearean scholar named Mary Bly? Can you imagine a better gig? A year in Paris, blogging about her experiences while also writing a novel and, at the same time, high speed training off to other fabulous European cities to lecture.

What's exceptional about Eloisa James is that all through her exhuberant book Paris in Love you don't for one second think that she takes any of her good fortune for granted. Rather, she seems to delight in each new morning, getting the kids ensconced in their new schools, meandering each rue de whatever, window shopping, lingerie shopping, comfortably people watching from a sidewalk bistro, sometimes alone, more often with Alessandro, always with a carafe of the local vin rouge.

Each season debuts new joys and even the grayest, wettest days in Paris seem to satisfy the soul of this writer. She admits to relishing the chill mornings under the duvet leisurely trying to outwit Will Shortz's crossword puzzles. I love the way she loves her family and pokes gentle fun at herself and I empathize with the honest analysis of her own motivation for tasting everything that comes her way, not simply the glorious food, but life itself.

You see, only two weeks after her mother died from cancer, Eloisa too was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. Minus the offending breast but pleased with the looks of the newly constructed one, Eloisa began divesting herself of baggage. For her and Allesandro that meant dumping the family home in New Jersey for a long held dream of living the life of city people. But before Manhattan, la vie Parisienne beckoned.

This book was the perfect antidote to my penchant for the dark side. Whether walking along the Champs Elysees with Eloisa and the kids or wandering down the marvelously secret little alleys, I felt fully Parisian. I smelled the baguettes that accompanied Alessandro home for dinner, felt the nurturing pleasure of the hearty soup that had simmered all day, tasted the chocolate souflee from the first melting, sensuous spoonful and wished that Don and I had had more than a week to explore. I'm now tapping the toes of my ruby slippers together while chanting, "I want to go back, I want to go back!"


Anonymous said...

Thanks for adding your book to my I love France meme. I had actually not heard of that one, and will add it to my TBR!
Emma @ Words And Peace

Sallyb said...

Hi Emma, You'll love it!

Lesa said...

I love the way you write book reviews, Sally. And, this one was so delightful. I enjoyed every minute of it. For some reason, though, it made me want to go back to NYC!

Sallyb said...

Hi Lesa, NYC? That would work too! As a matter of fact, I'm full of envy for the staffers who are heading to BEA next week. I'd love to be there.
It's the first strip on my agenda after I retire next year. Will you be there?

Louise said...

I dream of living in Paris too sometime, and am looking forward to reading this book next month.