When life throws a curve ball, do you curl up and cry? Do you fight back? Do you rekindle an old romance?!
Okay that last option is a bit off the wall but, that’s exactly what Samantha Vérant did.
Made redundant from her job in advertising, about to get divorced, broke, unhappy, lonely and packing her possessions into boxes to move back with her parents at the age of 40 to save money. Feeling like a failure with no future. But somewhere there’s a little spark left as Samantha comes across a box of old letters. They had been sent to her by a Frenchman she’d met in Paris as a carefree teenager. It was 1989, the days before the internet made keeping in touch easy. They had known each other for a matter of hours, enough for him to want to stay in contact with her. He wrote her seven letters. She didn’t reply to any of them. He gave up.
Samantha sat and read the letters at a time when she was at her most vulnerable. It reminded her of how happy she was, the person she used to be, the fun she had before it all went wrong. She felt guilty that she’d never bothered to reply and she then did something most of us would never do – call it courage, or chutzpah or outright loneliness. Samantha decided to contact the Frenchman and say sorry for never answering or even acknowledging his letters.
What follows is her account of what happens next. How she tracked him down and sent him an email. Her journey back to happiness will have you cheering. You can’t call it a rekindled relationship as it was never really kindled, it was after all just a few hours in Paris seeing the sights with a sexy Frenchman. And yet, there was always something there, it just got lost in the minutiae of daily life.
Samantha’s story is funny, sad and draws you in so that you feel as though you know her and start rooting for things to go right, for her second chance to come good. When one of you is in France and the other is America getting to know each other has its trials.
Besides Samantha’s problems don’t just disappear. Desperate to make some money after she moved in with her parents a long way from her old home, she took up dog walking and anything that might help her pay her way. Not easy in recession-weary America. Problems piled up, things seemed to carry on going wrong, life was not easy but, there’s a thread of hope running throughout this tale. The Frenchman.
Jean-Luc is romantic. He is robust. He is reasonable and receptive. He is a rocket scientist! As Samantha puts it, those seven letters made her “restart her life and reboot her heart”.
This lovely true story is the stuff of dreams, but throughout it all Samantha and her Frenchman are refreshingly normal. Her writing style is chatty and informal, like you’re talking to a friend. Her honesty and openness shine through and she’s very likeable.
I loved how the book ended with the last letter from him to her “I’ve never received any news from you, not even a single letter with a “How are you guy?”
I felt like her book was her love letter to Jean-Luc… late but deliciously dreamy.