It follows the journey of American Samantha who contacts a French boyfriend she knew for one day only whilst on a visit to Paris as a young woman and whom she hasn’t seen or spoken to in 20 years. After tracking him down from her home town Chicago, she sends him an apology for not replying to the seven letters he sent her after she left Paris. During that time she’s been married and divorced and against all the odds, the Frenchman is also single. The pair discover that the sparks they felt as youths are still there and the romance is rekindled.
In How To Make a French Family Samantha is happily married and starting a new life in small town southern France. The book follows the ups and downs of her life as she tries to learn French, making faux pas galore on the way. She also has to learn how to be a mum to two French step children – hard enough for anyone even without the language barrier. A self-confessed “determined, if occasionally unconventional, French chef”, an added bonus in the book are the scrumptious recipes that give a flavour of France.
It’s a tale of ups and downs and throughout Samantha is unfailingly honest about warts and all life as a stranger in an often strange country. In places her story is very funny, at times it is desperately sad though she always picks herself up to carry on.
By the end, like me, I’m sure you’ll be rooting for Sam to be happy and fulfilled in her new life. Whatever happens, her love for Jean-Luc, her French husband, shines through and her willingness and determination to start afresh in a strange country with sometimes strange rules makes her a hugely likeable heroine.
I loved this heart warming memoir with a feel good factor ending.