Sunday, May 29, 2016

Dreaming of France -- First Time


Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

Although I can't always be in France, it's a joy for me when someone I love discovers France.
My niece Caroline just finished her sophomore year in college. She took an internship in Germany this summer and has been there for nearly a month. She'd never traveled overseas before and this weekend she visited Paris.

I've never visited the catacombs, but that is exactly where Caroline headed. She's studying forensics in college, so it makes sense that she would want to see all the bones. 

She sent her mother a detailed itinerary of all the things they had seen and visited in Paris, but I didn't need to know the details, I only needed to see the expression on her face to know that she'd fallen in love.
Here's her departing picture from on top of the Arc de Triomphe.


And she wrote, "Merci, Paris, merci." 
I think she'll be back. 

Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France. I really appreciate your participation and I hope you'll leave a comment plus visit each other's blogs.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tuesday Intros -- The Little French Guesthouse


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
I'm reading a book on my Kindle that is very enjoyable. It's called The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard. If I had to guess, I'd suppose that I found this book based on a post by French Village Diaries. Jacqui always stays up-to-date on the latest books set in France.
Emmy and her live-in boyfriend Nathan travel from London to rural France for a holiday at a B&B. As the book opens, Emmy runs to find the wife of the B&B couple because her husband is having a heart attack. What she finds is her boyfriend having sex with the wife.
The holiday obviously falls apart from there. The book has a lighthearted, chicklit tone as she deals with the end of her relationship and starts helping out at the B&B, immersing her in French life.
Here's the intro:
I wish I could tell you that it happened like it does in the movies. You know the kind of thing. The heroine standing proud, oozing restrained fury. The audience's satisfaction as she delivers a reverberating slap across her lover's face. Her dramatic but dignified exit from the screen.
Believe me, there was nothing dignified about it. All I did was stand there shaking, rage and adrenaline coursing through my body like rabid greyhounds, my mouth flapping open and shut as I tried to find the words. Any words. Even a simple sound of outrage would have sufficed, but all I managed was a pathetic squeak. 
I'll look forward to seeing what everyone else is reading.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Goodies


Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

As I looked through some pictures we took in France, I came upon this one.

Most people would not have taken a picture of the KitKat bar, but my husband and I did, because it reminded us of a fond memory when we visited France in 1998 with the children, ages 6, 4 and 2. 
We had been traveling around France for a few weeks, along the Atlantic coast, to the Mediterranean and to the Alps. We even ventured over to Salzburg, Austria before returning to EuroDisney. That's what they called it then before it became Disneyland Paris. 
Finally, we arrived in Paris on a Sunday morning. Luckily, traffic isn't especially bad on Sunday mornings, so we dropped the car at the rental place with only a few wrong turns. We found ourselves a few blocks past the Arc de Triomphe. And the first thing we spotted was a bakery. So I took the kids inside and let them choose a pastry. 
Tucker chose a pain sucre, a sweet roll with large pieces of sugar on top. Grace got a caramel eclair, long and slender with a stretch of caramel along the top and delicate cream inside. 
As for Spencer, he stood looking in all the glass cases before he chose a KitKat bar. Yes, exactly like he could have gotten at home. 

Here they are a few minutes later posing with their father in front of the Arc de Triomphe. Notice that Grace and Tucker are still holding their pastries. Spencer's KitKat bar was long since eaten.
Now at 22, Spencer assures me he would not pick a KitKat bar again. He has worked in some pretty fancy restaurants, and I think he's more aware of what good food is. 

Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France. I really appreciate your participation and I hope you'll leave a comment plus visit each other's blogs.

Friday, May 20, 2016

FranceBookTour -- I Promise You This

Like me, Patricia Sands is a woman who loves France, and her books always take me there. Her latest book is the third in a series about a Canadian woman who visits France after her divorce and her mother's death. Kat falls in love with France, and a Frenchman, and ends up moving there.
This novel begins with Kat hurrying back to Toronto after a friend is hurt in an accident and while there, she has doubts about leaving her old life behind. In the second half of the book, she returns to France and we get to revel in the beauty of the scenery, the food and the lifestyle in Antibes, France.
I enjoyed this novel because it felt like visiting old friends and getting caught up in the bliss and culture that makes living in France so enjoyable. The food, the markets, the friends. Sands writes about all of them in great detail, transporting readers to the South of France. Her characters are realistic and feel like people I would like to share a meal with, luckily, since I do get to join them for some fabulous meals.
I would recommend reading the previous two books before this one. I read the first one, but it had been years, and I had no idea who Molly, the injured friend, was until I got 10% into the book. A stronger conflict would have improved the novel for me too.


I Promise You Thison Tour May 17-26 with

I Promise You This

(women’s fiction) Release date: May 17, 2016 at Lake Union Publishing ISBN: 978-1503935723 365 pages Author’s page | Goodreads  

SYNOPSIS

Suddenly single after twenty-two years of marriage, the calm of Katherine Price’s midlife has turned upside down. Seeking to find her true self, she took a chance on starting over. A year later, she is certain of this: she’s in love with Philippe and adores his idyllic French homeland, where he wants her to live with him. But all that feels like a fantasy far removed from Toronto, where she’s helping her friend Molly, hospitalized after a life-threatening accident. Staying in her childhood home full of memories, Katherine wonders: Is she really ready to leave everything behind for an unknown life abroad? And if all her happiness lies with Philippe, will it last? Can she trust in love again? Searching her heart, Katherine finds the pull of the familiar is stronger than she thought. An unexpected meeting with her ex, the first time since his cruel departure, and a stunning declaration of love from an old flame spur her introspection. With sunlit backdrops and plot twists as breathtaking as the beaches of Côte d’Azur, author Patricia Sands brings her trilogy about second chances to a provocative and satisfying close that proves that a new life just might be possible—if you’re willing to let your heart lead you home.

BOOK TRAILER [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYnCA72Iz8U]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I Promise You This Patricia Sands A confessed travel-addict, best-selling author Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else, and calls the south of France her second home. I Promise You This, is Book 3 in her award-winning Love in Provence series. Find Patricia on Facebook, on Twitter on Instagram at her Amazon Author Page or her website Subscribe to her mailing list and get information about new releases. Buy the book : Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | Amazon.fr | available on Barnes & Noble on May 17

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You can enter the global giveaway here or on any other book blogs participating in this tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form] Global giveaway open internationally: 10 participants will each win a copy of this book, print or digital

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CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ REVIEWS AND EXCERPTS

I Promise You This Banner

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Final Year

One year from tomorrow, my husband and I will have packed up and sold our house. We will have limited our lives to four large suitcases, and we will be leaving to live in France.
One year!
I can't write this post tomorrow because I committed to a post for FranceBookTours, so instead I'm writing it today.
Why did we choose May 20? It's the week after Mother's Day. It's the end of the semester for school, and at least two of our children will be graduated from college.
Whoever took our picture, cut off the top of the Eiffel Tower!
I'm so fortunate that my husband bought into my France dream.

I've dragged him to France numerous times, and he even went once without me when depositing Grace in France. (She hates to fly.)
This was our first trip to France together. I think my husband
has a shirt tied around his waist, rather than really high pants.

We plan to spend a few days in Paris before we take a train to the South of France. We'll rent a house for three or four months while we determine which village we want to live in.
Here we are on a windy day in front of Versailles. 
I picture us riding our bicycles or the taking the train or a rental car to various villages on market day to get a feel for each one. When we figure out where we want to move, we'll start looking for a house.
Here we are on our bike trip in front of the Pont du Gard. 

By September, I hope we'll be in a French home of our own.

This was us in a Moroccan restaurant. The building is ancient. 
And, of course, I plan to take all of you along with us, and to share the ups and the downs of moving to a new country.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tuesday Intros -- The Arrangement


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
I found this book, The Arrangement by Ashley Warlick, at the library, and it looks like fun. Here's the intro.
She'd made it sound as though her husband would be joining them for dinner. She'd made it sound that way on purpose, and then she arrived alone, lifting her shoulders in a vague wifely gesture of disappointment, and maybe the gave the impression of upset. She'd thought about this moment since she learned Gigi would be out of town. She wanted Tim's attentions to herself for the evening, and she'd planned accordingly.
"I reminded Al a week ago," she said, "and then again this morning. I don't know what he's thinking half the time."
Tim leaned to kiss her cheek wrapped in his smoke, his trim dark suit, his sense of ease. His hair had always been white. "Well," he said. "Perhaps he'll join us later?"
Oh, my. Sounds a little dicey.
I'll look forward to seeing what you all are reading.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Book Set in Paris


Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

One of the reasons I started writing books set in France was because I couldn't find many books that I enjoyed. If Nicolas Barreau had been writing, I might have skipped it all together. Last week, I picked up his novel Paris is Always a Good Idea, and I read most of it that afternoon. I finished it the next
morning before I went on a run.
Many times, I hesitate to read novels written by French authors. They rarely have happy endings and frequently they are about metaphysical ideas that go over my head, or maybe they're simply lost in translation.
This book felt magical right from the beginning, in the same way that Chocolat felt otherworldly.  It focuses on Rosalie Laurent, who runs a postcard store in St. Germain, Paris. In her early 30s, she's an artist and sells her wishing cards as well as launching one from the Eiffel Tower each year on her birthday. She has a struggling business, a nice enough boyfriend who doesn't share her interests and a meddling mother who hoped for more. Her luck changes when a publisher asks her to illustrate a children's book by a famous children's author. American Robert Sherman enters the picture when he is passing her shop and he sees her book in the store window, a story that he has known since he was five years old. He accuses the children's author of plagiarism and the love/hate relationship begins.  Robert has a law degree, but is considering an offer to teach literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. His girlfriend Rachel is furious that he isn't more ambitious.
Both Robert and Rosalie have settled for a mediocre life until they find each other and a few other surprises.
What did I dislike about the book, the title, which is a quote credited to Audrey Hepburn. I wonder if it was called something else in French.
Maybe this book just called out to something in my life right now, but I was transported to Paris and entertained on the entire journey.

Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France. I really appreciate your participation and I hope you'll leave a comment plus visit each other's blogs.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Saturday Snapshot -- Life

Oftentimes when I'm avoiding my blog, it's because I don't want to deal with my emotions. I'm  not pouring them out to readers because I don't actually want to face them.
Instead, I try to find joy where I can.
So I'll join West Metro Mommy for this weekly meme of photos people have taken and share on their blogs.

I took an afternoon to read a book on my front porch during a sunny day this week. And the cats decided to join me.
I love that Tybs was peeking around the flower. Life can seem idyllic, if you're a cat.

I'll be reviewing the book that swept me away for Dreaming of France on Monday, so I hope you'll check back then.

And here's a photo of my son on his way to a job interview, looking handsome in his new suit.

It's raining here today, so it looks like an inside day for me. I've already run five miles in the rain. I plan to make a pineapple upside down cake, take a warm shower and finish grading for the end of the semester. Maybe I'll even do some writing. Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tuesday Intros -- I Promise You This


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.

I'm reading a book set in France for FranceBookTours. I'll be reviewing I Promise You This by Patricia Sands on May 20, and  there will be a book giveaway, so I hope you'll come back for that.
Here's the intro:
Rain pelted down.
The limo crawled along in a clog of traffic. For the most part, the rhythmic slap of the windshield wipers was all that broke the silence.
Philippe knew that Kat was struggling to keep her composure. He kept the conversation light and brief as they looked out from the backseat. "Now you see why I never take a taxi into Paris from the airport. At least with a hired car and driver, I don't have to watch the meter skyrocket if we get caught like this."
Kat nodded expressionless, staring straight ahead. She thought it fitting that the weather was as gloomy and dark as the feelings she was fighting.
When the familiar landmarks of the Left Bank came into view, her mood began to lift. She leaned her head back against the seat. Her hand nestled in Philippe's. 
I had to keep the intro going until we got to a definitely French part -- the Left Bank.
I look forward to seeing what everyone else is reading.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Holidays

Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

Today is Mother's Day in the United States, and our plan is to move to France next year the week after Mother's Day.
Here is my mother and her four children. I'm the girl on the right, without the teased hair!
Mother's Day is a deadline of sorts for us since we chose the week after Mother's Day to leave  next year. That means that from now until we move, I will be filled with melancholy about the last time we... whatever it is. Celebrate Father's Day. Celebrate Fourth of July. Labor Day. Birthdays. Thanksgiving. Christmas.
I'm so thrilled at the plan to move to France, but I, of course, am nervous about moving so far away from my children and my parents.
Here I am in La Rochelle, France with my three children, along with a friend's teenager. She came along to show us around.
My good times in France with the kids should encourage me that we'll have more good times to come.  This was 1998. 
So next year, on Mother's Day, I plan to convince my mother to come to Ohio so we can celebrate together. Then, I have already told my husband that we must return to the United States for my mother's 80th birthday in November 2017. So I know we'll be back here for that and Thanksgiving together. Maybe we can slowly wean ourselves from American holidays.

Here we are in Paris having a meal with our family friend, Marguerite.
I really hope that our children will come visit us in France and we can celebrate holidays with them.
Truthfully, the French have so many holidays that I really shouldn't miss the American ones.

Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France. I really appreciate your participation and I hope you'll leave a comment plus visit each other's blogs.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Musée d'Orsay


Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

One morning in Paris last year, Earl was feeling under the weather, and he sent me off to the Musée d'Orsay. After waiting in line, I rambled around the museum.
I discovered this new impressionist artist, Pierre Bonnard and I really loved his style.


I could stand to have one of his paintings in my house. I love the detail on the wallpaper below. 


Have you heard of Bonnard before?
Whenever I'm at the Musée d'Orsay, I like to stop in the café for something to eat, but this time I wandered over to the fancy restaurant side of the museum. Look at this hallway. The parquet floors look beautiful too.




 And through these closed doors, you can see the ceiling above the diners. I'm kind of intimidated by fancy restaurants, but someday maybe I'll try it.  

Do you visit museums on vacation? What's your favorite painting at Musée d;Orsay?

Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France. I really appreciate your participation and I hope you'll leave a comment plus visit each other's blogs.


Dreaming of France -- Packing

Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us y...