Review: The Madeleine Project

Clara Beaudoux

on Tour

July 12-18

with

Madeleine Project-Cover

The Madeleine Project

(biography/history)

Release date: September 12, 2017
at New Vessel Press

ISBN: 978-1939931498
288 pages

Website
Goodreads

MY REVIEW

As someone who just decluttered and moved (and needs to continue decluttering), this was an interesting book to read! Imagine finding a storage room filled with someone else’s belongings from a different era… and then imagine tweeting about it! It is an interesting way to glimpse into the life of Madeleine. At times, I found myself frustrated that I couldn’t “click” to enlarge a photo or “click” on a link that was provided (etsy, youtube!), so I did end up going online and finding the songs she linked to (listen while you continue to read!):

I didn’t look for the audio of her interviews with those who knew her, as I don’t speak French, but I am glad that the author went in search of those who knew and remembered Madeleine, as I loved their thoughts about her.  The common thread seemed to be “I wish I had asked her more questions, got to know her better,” which led to, “I wish I knew my own parents/aunts/uncles/grandparents better, had asked them more questions.”  And that made me grateful that in my family we bought both of my parents a Story Worth subscription** so they are receiving weekly emails with questions about their lives which will be compiled into a book at the end of a year.

Ultimately, this book was not fully satisfying to me. I love Twitter, so I am now following #Madeleineproject and the author (@clarabdx) and will check in occasionally.  This book takes you through Seasons 1 and 2 and currently the author is working on Season 4, so I have some catching up to do. I would have loved more of the interaction with other Twitter followers to more fully develop the story of Madeleine and Paris. Unfortunately I don’t read or understand French, and the Storify links don’t translate, so I probably will not delve too much further into the life of Madeleine.

But maybe with all my decluttering, I will create a time capsule of life in the early 2000s that can be discovered by grandchildren in their adulthood. And I will be more purposeful in asking questions and learning about all the people in my life.

**I really should work for Story Worth, because I love it so and recommend it to everyone I know! CLICK Story Worth for more information!

I received a copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review.  I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.  Click below to enter a giveaway!

SYNOPSIS

A young woman moves into a Paris apartment and discovers a storage room filled with the belongings of the previous owner, a certain Madeleine who died in her late nineties, and whose treasured possessions nobody seems to want. In an audacious act of journalism driven by personal curiosity and humane tenderness, Clara Beaudoux embarks on The Madeleine Project, documenting what she finds on Twitter with text and photographs, introducing the world to an unsung 20th century figure. Along the way, she uncovers a Parisian life indelibly marked by European history. This is a graphic novel for the Twitter age, a true story that encapsulates one woman’s attempt to live a life of love and meaning together with a contemporary quest to prevent that existence from slipping into oblivion.
Through it all, The Madeleine Project movingly chronicles, and allows us to reconstruct, intimate memories of a bygone era.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Madeleine Project-Beaudoux

Clara Beaudoux
is a Paris-based journalist for the France Info news network.
The Madeleine Project has been wildly popular in France.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Clarabdx

In French: on Facebook, The Madeleine Project page,
and the author’s main website

Follow New Vessel Press on Twitter | on Facebook
Sign up to receive their latest news and deals.

Buy the book: on Indiebound | on Amazon

***

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 to all
5 winners

 

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ REVIEWS

Madeleine Project-BannerSave

I Promise You This by Patricia Sands

 

I Promise You ThisI am thankful to have been given the opportunity to read the third in the Love in Provence trilogy in advance of release date.  I reviewed Patricia Sand’s first book in the trilogy, The Promise of Provence in July of 2013 (and it is a pretty great review, if I do say so myself, so please click through on this link and re-read it!), so when Emma from Words and Peace sent out an email looking for reviewers for the third in the series, I quickly devoured the second and signed up!   I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  See below for a giveaway so that you can get your own copy!  

Patricia’s books read like travel guides with some plot thrown in.  The descriptions of the locales and the food and the people make it feel as though you’re there!  It helps that I follow Patricia’s Instagram account (@patricialsands) and see her eautiful photos of France and her travels ! Click HERE to see her travel journal and Fall in Love with Provence!  

The second book (Promises to Keep) finds Kat remaining in France with Philippe and exploring their relationship. There’s some drama and intrigue, but nothing scary.  I don’t do scary, after all.  The book ends with a cliff hanger and I Promise You This picks up with Kat returning to her native Toronto to care for her great friend who was in a bad auto accident.

This third and final book in the Love in Provence series has Kat looking in her heart and wondering if she can leave the first and only home she has known for a new life in France. Being in her childhood home while her friend recuperates from her life-threatening accident brings Kat closure – with her ex-husband’s betrayal and with her mother’s death.  She packs up her treasured memories and boxes them for their voyage to her new home in France, wondering if she will ever return.  She is never unsure about her feelings for Philippe and their life together in Provence, even though an old beau professes his feelings.

This is a satisfying  resolution to this story of a woman starting her life over after an emotional crisis. In the first book her mother taught her that “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Her friends taught her to “Take a chance. Make a choice to change your life.” In this final book in the trilogy, her new found friend, Simone, teaches her “Once you choose to do what you really want to do, you will begin living a different kind of life. It will be the life you are meant to be living in that moment of time.”  Kat and Philippe are looking forward with great happiness to opening their Inn, to developing the website blending their love for photography and cheese (Fromagegraphie – love it!).  Their happiness exudes and Kat realizes that home is, truly, where your heart is.  

Kat and Philippe are living the life of their dreams – doing what they love, loving what they do.  Seems like I just read some articles about happiness that insist that very same theme – live authentically! (Like this one and this one!) And here are some quotes:

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Ghandi

“The basic thing is that everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering. And happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors. If your own mental attitude is correct, even if you remain in a hostile atmosphere, you feel happy.” – HH The Dalai Lama

“Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.” – Helen Keller

As I said earlier, these books read as travel guides and make you yearn for your own travel adventures – thankfully I now have a fresh passport and am always ready!   France is definitely on the list!

Patricia Sands

on Tour

May 17-26

with

I Promise You This

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

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

***

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

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER
TO READ REVIEWS AND EXCERPTS

I Promise You This Banner

 

Urban Dictionary: reading slump

TOP DEFINITION
a readers worst nightmare.

not being able to pick up a book and read because you just can’t, you just can’t read.

person 1: “what’s the matter with you?”
reader: ” I CAN’T READ , NO BOOK IS GOOD ENOUGH, LEAVE ME ALONE, READING SLUMP

person 1: uhm….. okay.

Source: Urban Dictionary: reading slump

According to Goodreads, I am “currently reading” 6 books, and that doesn’t include the one I am actually listening to and the one I picked up last night, in the hopes to get out of this slump.  Uff.  I’m a one-at-a-time girl, so having 8 books in the air is not like me.  On Goodreads you can create folders and a while ago I created a “did not finish – taking too long” (DNF in the book blog world).  I’ll have to do some updating, I guess, but really these are all books that I do want to finish.  So I’ll leave them in my Currently Reading folder and hope to get in the mood to read them soon!

So I’ve implemented a few action steps to hopefully jumpstart my reading again.

  • I picked up Maeve Binchy.  A book of a collection of her short stories was published after her death.  They are previously published stories, in magazines, other compilations, etc., and now they’re all together in a book called “A Few of the Girls.”  Reading Maeve is like talking to an old friend.  I think she’ll keep me reading a bit.
  • I started listening to “The Girl on the Train.” I’ve heard good things about it and am finding it compelling to listen to.  It’s a little hard to follow the audio, as I remember things differently when I listen vs read with my eyes, but I think I’ve gotten past the confusing part and am excited to listen to more.
  • I went to Books on Tap at Forager Brewery last night.  It’s been on my calendar since it began but last night was the first night the stars aligned so I could go. The group is informal and flexible and different every meeting, I think.  All you need to do is talk about what you’re reading right now, books you love, books you hate, anything related to books.  The moderator from the library kept a running list of every book that was mentioned and will email it out to all.  I can talk about books, even if I’m not reading anything currently, and I got some sympathy from the avid readers for the feeling of being in a slump.  I didn’t want to go alone, so Jenny was going to meet me there, but she was late and it was ok.  I could go alone next time if I had to.  Of course, the best part was rehashing books and life and having a little supper afterwards with Jenny, but I could go alone if I had to.  Book people are book people!
  • And yesterday I signed up to do a book blog about a book by Patricia Sands.  I read and reviewed “The Promise of Provence” a few years ago and another of her books is being released on May 17 (“I Promise you This”).  It’s the 3rd in a trilogy, so I guess I better read the second one quick!  See!  There’s incentive and desire to read!

Have you ever had a reading slump?  What did you do about it?

wpid-IMG_20110402_122438.jpg

 

The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart

If you know me, you know I love authors.  I love to listen to them talk about their books, about their writing process, about their view the world, about the books the love to read.  I’m also loyal to authors.  If I like a book, I will continue to follow that author to see what they will come up with next.

If you know me, you also know I’ve been in a reading slump – planning a wedding and getting married takes a lot of brain power and time!  So when Nicole Baart, (an author I’ve followed since I read her book The Moment Between in 2009) posted on Facebook that she was looking for members of a “street team” for her newest book, The Beautiful Daughters, I applied!  The opportunity to read an Advanced Reader’s Copy, offer it for a giveaway, and then to receive a copy of the book when it is published on April 28, 2015 – I love stuff like that!  I was tickled to be chosen for her Street Team and for The Beautiful Daughters to be the first book I read in 2015.  Bonus:  She sent her favorite chocolates, book marks, signed book plates, and homemade soap made receipt of the package even sweeter!

Below is the description of the book from the Digital Catalog at Atria Publishing (a branch of Simon and Schuster), the tentative cover design, and a little info about Nicole Baart, the author.

Below that is my review and details on how you can get your hands on my ARC!!

The Beautiful Daughters – 

The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart

The Beautiful Daughters
by Nicole Baart

From the author of Sleeping in Eden, described as “intense and absorbing from the very first page” (Heather Gudenkauf, author of The Weight of Silence), comes a gripping new novel about two former best friends and the secrets they can’t escape.

Adrienne Vogt and Harper Penny were closer than sisters, until the day a tragedy blew their seemingly idyllic world apart. Afraid that they got away with murder and unable to accept who they had lost—and what they had done—Harper and Adri exiled themselves from small-town Blackhawk, Iowa, and from each other. Adri ran thousands of miles away to Africa while Harper ventured down a more destructive path closer to home.

Now, five years later, both are convinced that nothing could ever coax them out of the worlds in which they’ve been living. But unexpected news from home soon pulls Adri and Harper back together, and the two cannot avoid facing their memories and guilt head-on. As they are pulled back into the tangle of their fractured relationships and the mystery of Piperhall, the sprawling estate where their lives first began to unravel, secrets and lies behind the tragic accident are laid bare. The former best friends are forced to come to terms with their shared past and search for the beauty in each other while mending the brokenness in themselves.

Nicole Baart’s lush and lyrical writing has been called “sparkling” (Publishers Weekly), “taut and engrossing” (Booklist), and “evocative and beautiful” (Romantic Times). The Beautiful Daughters is another exquisitely rendered, haunting story that will stay with readers long after the last page.


Nicole BaartNicole Baart is the mother of four children from four different countries. The cofounder of a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the author of seven previous novels, including, most recently, Sleeping in Eden. Find out more at NicoleBaart.com.

My review:

I really enjoyed this book.  I love books with rich character development.  I love beautiful descriptions.  This book has all that, plus a suspenseful plot with insight into how tragedy affects people.  The book also tackles sensitive topics, but I don’t want to spoil the suspense.

Some of the passages that I re-read and bent the pages for include:

Regarding Adri’s father, Sam:

“Her father was one such daydreamer, the kind of man who spoke volumes in silences and heard God whisper in the song of distant stars keeping watch over the land that he plowed.”

Regarding Adri’s fiance’, David:

“In his personal life he was sensible and composed, able to take up and set aside the mantle of a playboy as easily as donning a coat.  To laugh and joke and drink until his imposing mother slipped into the room, a quiet and watchful revenant whose presence instantly sobered and reined in her son.”

Regarding The Five:

“Jackson was hand in hand with Nora, a new girlfriend who didn’t quite fit.  Harper couldn’t help resenting her.  When Nora was around, they were quick to pair up, but when it was just the five of them, they were a unit.  A fist clenched tight.”

This book is about young adults who meet at a small college in Blackhawk, Iowa.  Adri and her brother Will grew up on a farm in Blackhawk, and David grew up at Piperhall, a mansion down the road.  Along with Harper and Jackson, The Five become fast friends and spend most of their out-of-school time playing grown-up at Piperhall and when Harper suggests a trip to commemorate their college graduation and mark endings and new beginnings, they are unaware of the tragic event that will happen and change their lives forever.  They scatter – Adri to Africa and Harper into dark relationships – and are called home five years later when the matriarch of Piperhall dies.

This is a page-turner and I’m so thankful it was the first book I read in 2015!

Now, to get your hands on my Advanced Readers Copy, please COMMENT BELOW with the FIRST BOOK YOU READ OR ARE READING in 2015!  If you share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter (and share the link), you 10933699_10152994556774210_1188091013014551439_nwill get extra entries!

I’ll pick a winner WEDNESDAY JANUARY 28.

My Wish List GIVEAWAY!

My Wish List coverThanks to the publisher of this little book, I have either an ebook or an ARC paperback to GIVEAWAY to one randomly selected person!  All you have to do is read my review posted HERE and comment on that post through the comment form.  Please tell me at least ONE THING that would be on YOUR wishlist, if you were to win, say, $25,000,000.


 

A winner will be selected on Tuesday, April 1 (no foolin’!) and will be notified by email.  Must be from USA or Canada to win.  Please state your preference of ebook or paperback, and provide your phone number, if you are from Canada.

Questions can be answered here or there in the comments! Thanks for playing!

 

Don’t you just love a free book???  

Happy reading!

My Wish List: A Novel

My Wish List cover
My Wish List

See below for the form to fill out to win an ARC paperback or ebook of this book!

In the midst of coursework, I took the time to read this book for a blog tour.  I loved the premise (who doesn’t dream of winning the lottery?) and it is a mere 176 pages, so it was a quick read.  I read it with a highlighter in my hand (a little bit of the student coming through?) because some of the sentences and passages called out to be reread and read aloud.  Wow.  I loved the language.

Jocelyne is a 47 year old woman who married a man named Jocelyn (“One chance in millions.  And it happened to me.”)  Jo and Jo have two children, they both work hard and have what they need but little more.  They were in that place in their marriage where they were happy, content.  Their children were raised, they were comfortable being together, and their dreams were small.  He worked for Haagen Daz and she owned her own fabric store (haberdashery) and started a blog.  He dreamed of a big screen TV and a fancy car.  She dreams of being happy and having her father with a failing memory well-cared for.

She wins a large sum of money (18,000,000 Euros) and doesn’t tell anyone.  She hides the money in a shoe and then creates lists – lists of things she needs, lists of things she want – and she worries about how the money will change her life.  And change her life, it does.

Being rich means seeing all that’s ugly and having the arrogance to think you can change things. All you have to do is pay for it.”

I really enjoyed this book.  I loved the care that the translator took with the language – I loved the writing, period!  The chapters were short, but for example, one chapter was infused with “I dreamed…” sentences.  Another is full of “I am happy with Jo” sentences.  I love that.  I love that the things on our “need” lists are called our “daily little dreams” that keep us going.   There was so much of the language of the book that really was beautiful.  It was spare but meaningful.  But the book does have a surprising twist which packs a powerful punch, so it is not without plot.

There is much I could highlight about this book in this blog, as is shown by the highlights in my book!  Whoever borrows the book from me will have to contend with the orange highlights throughout. But as the book uses few words to make its point, so will I.

This book would lend itself to great discussion and would be a great book club book.  Who doesn’t like to dream of winning the lottery?  Who also doesn’t want to dream about how money would change their life?  And it sounds like it’s going to be made into a movie!  French or American, I’ll see it!

Good stuff.  And this good stuff can be yours!  I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY!  Tomorrow I’ll give the details on how you could win an ebook or Advanced Readers Copy paperback of this book of your very own (you won’t have to see my highlights!).  Stay tuned!

Thanks Emma for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour!  More info can be found by clicking here:

Fill out this form to be entered in random drawing for a book of your own!

SYNOPSIS

A cathartic, charmingly tender, assuredly irresistible novel, MY WISH LIST (Penguin; ISBN: 9780143124658; On-sale: March 25, 2014: $15.00) imagines one answer to the question: If you won the lottery, would you trade your life for the life of your dreams? With sales of more than half a million copies in France alone, rights sold in twenty-five countries, and a major motion picture in development, this slim yet spirited tale has sewn up the interest of the literary world.

Jocelyne Guerbette is a forty-seven year old who runs a modest fabric shop in a nondescript provincial French town. Her husband—instead of dreaming of her—wants nothing more in life than a flat-screen TV and the complete James Bond DVD box set. And to Jocelyne’s two grown-up children, who live far from home, she’s become nothing but an obligatory phone call. Perpetually wondering what has happened to all the dreams she had when she was younger, Jocelyne finally comes to terms with the series of ordinary defeats and small lies that seem to make up her life.

But then Jocelyne wins the lottery: $25,500,000! And suddenly she finds the world at her fingertips. But before cashing the check, before telling a soul, she starts making a list of all the things she could do with the money. While evaluating the small pleasures in life—her friendship with  the twins who manage the hairdresser next door, her holidays away, her sewing blog that’s gaining popularity—she begins to think that the everyday ordinary may not be so bad. Does she really want her life to change?

MY WISH LIST is an essential reminder of the often-overlooked joys of everyday life and a celebration of the daily rituals, serendipities, and small acts of love that make life quietly wonderful [provided by the publisher]

***

 

Release date: March 25, 2014
at Viking and Penguin BooksISBN-13: 978-0143124658
176 pages
PRAISE FOR MY WISH LIST

“A runaway bestseller that looks set to follow the success of The Elegance of the Hedgehog.” — Elle (France)

 “Delacourt has hit the jackpot… [He has a] knack for finding exactly the right words and for evoking feeling” — Le Nouvel Observateur

 “Delacourt has a keen eye for everyday life and for the extraordinary challenges that ordinary people face” — Le Parisien

***

Grégoire DelacourtABOUT THE AUTHOR

Grégoire Delacourt was born in Valenciennes, France, in 1960. His first novel, L’Écrivain de la Famille, was published in 2011 and won five literary prizes. MY WISH LIST has been a runaway number-one bestseller in France; publication rights have been sold in more than twenty-five countries. Delacourt lives in Paris, where he runs an advertising agency with his wife.

See more on his French website: Grégoire Delacourt
Follow him on Facebook  | Goodreads

 

There Were Things Happening – 3.3.14 edition

It gets a little old to start every blog post off with “Where did the last month go?” but here I am, once again, thinking the same thing!  So I’ll recap my month in the only way I know how – by listing the highlights and the things that have made me happy since I last blogged! With pictures!  

There were some games:

  • The Superbowl happened – I worked but made it to the party before halftime.  Not much of a game, but the pool on the score always makes it entertaining when those final seconds tick down each quarter.  
  • Got to a few of Trajan’s basketball games.  His season is over now, but I look forward to watching him in the years to come!  
  • Went to one of Gracie’s Rochester tournament games.  Her season is over now, too,  but again, many years ahead!  

There were epic weekends: 

  • SocialICE 2014 was a lot of fun!  We warmed up with cocktails and Trivial Pursuit questions at my house, enjoyed some warm and cold beverages at the ice bar, went underground to The Doggery, and sang some karaoke at the Viking Lounge!  The next day we went to Newt’s too late for brunch, but it was good nonetheless.  
  • Marissa’s Birthday 2014 was also a lot of fun!  The drive to Minneapolis was treacherous, so it took a long time to get there, but I made it with plenty of time to spare before the Jeremy Messersmith concert at First Ave!  First we ate at Kieran’s, a favorite pub, and then we were at First Ave right after the doors opened – which meant we were there a LONG time before the main event!  
  • Jeremy Messersmith is just such a good songwriter… I love that you can understand every word he sings and that his songs always have a little twist in them.  So clever and fun.  After the concert, we went dancing at a club where the average age was likely 25.  Very much not my ‘scene’ but it was a fun night.  Saturday we laid low and read and watched TV.  I had decided not to face those roads again, so we worked on getting tickets to Mike Birbiglia, a great comedian!  He was sold out, but we found tickets and we went! 
  • Mike Birbiglia at the Pantages was amazing!  It was nonstop laughter about “earlies and late-ies,” the uninhabitable city Minneapolis is, as evidenced by its skyways, and swearing in front of Muppets.  Funny stuff.  Afterwards we celebrated National Margarita Day with “made at the table” guac and fancy margaritas at Rosa Mexicano!

There was an early Valentine’s Date:

  • Chris and I both worked on Valentine’s Day and that weekend, so we planned to celebrate on Wednesday 2/12, so it was perfect that I won tickets to Jim Brickman in concert for his”Love Tour” for that night!   Beforehand we went to Chester’s for a delicious dinner, and the concert was very fun!  He has a good sense of humor and a good ‘tell’ that shows he’s done.   Chris brought me the most beautiful roses and a box of chocolates.  It was a good date.  
  • The next night, the Cosmo Girls went to a local nursing home and made Valentine’s with and for the residents.  It was a fun time, followed by a pot of tea at Press Coffee House.  

There were books and discussions:

  • I had my first class of the semester, requiring a ton o’ reading, online discussions, and case study papers.  Psychopathology will be good for me, good for my job, but it confirms my dislike for professional reading in large quantities.  Ugh.  I was nervous, as it’s been a LONG time since I was in school, but it will be good.  
  • I had lunch with Cindy at India Garden, and that always involves mega book discussions.  Planning the next book party is underway!  
  • The ED book group discussion was held at Tonic last week – we discussed Winter Garden, which had been in my TBR pile for years!  I always felt like it should be read in the winter, and I’m glad it was.  It was a good book about mothers and daughters, forgiveness and understanding.  And it had a secondary story which took place in Russia, so it was timely with the Winter Olympics!  Next up is Divergent!  We’re going to the movie together.  
  • There was a brief visit with Sarah and her kiddos in the warmth of their home.  That also means that books were discussed.  Look forward to another visit!    
  • I’m still listening to The Goldfinch and just started reading Questlove’s book Mo’ Meta Blues.   Next TBR is a book for a book tour – I can’t wait!  Details to follow… 

There were movies and award shows:

  • The night before the Oscars, Jenny and I watched 20 Feet from Stardom, the documentary about back up singers.  We also went to see The Lego Movie, which was a lot of fun!  I loved the ‘meta’ of it and loved the voices.  Maybe it’ll be Oscar nominated next year!
  • I love watching the Oscar’s every year.  I blogged about the nominations when they came out and you can read that here.  20 Feet from Stardom was not a favorite to win the Best Documentary category, but it won!  That was so fun… I loved the acceptance speech and that Darlene Love sang her heart out during it!  Other things I loved were
  • Ellen’s selfie
  • Cate Blanchet and Lupita Nyong’o acceptance speeches
  • Pizza for everyone!
  • Spike Jonze winning for best screenplay for Her – the movie about relationships and intimacy.  A great discussion piece!
  • All of the songs performed live
  • Following along on Twitter all night – until it broke for a while!  Crazy selfie retweeting overload!  
  • The jokes following John Travolta’s major introduction fail.
  • I’m sure there’s more, but for now, that’s it.  

I’m sure that’s an overload.  I either need to blog more often or remember that people probably only read one paragraph before moving on!  If you made it to the end, I’d love to hear from you.  What made you happy in February?  It was a brutally cold month with horrible weather where I live, so you gotta look for the good to stay sane!  

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Paris Was the Place

Paris Was The Place

Storytelling.

“Paris was the Place” is a story about a poetry teacher, Willow (Willie) Pears, who moves to France to be near her older brother and her college roommate.   It’s 1989 and she teaches poetry at a University and begins volunteering at an immigration center where girls who are in France illegally are kept while they await their asylum hearings.  She works with the girls to find the words to tell their stories which they will tell the judge.

An integral part of the story is the relationship that Willie and her brother, Luke, have with their mother and father while growing up, and the relationship she has with her brother in the present.  She is still hurting from her mother’s death and feeling estranged from her father.  Luke is her connection to the past and her reason for being in France at the present.  Willie navigates Paris streets and neighborhoods, the Paris immigration system for the girls whose stories she elicits, a new relationship with a divorced immigration lawyer with a young son, and her brother’s mysterious illness.  She becomes entranced by the lives of the girls seeking asylum and goes a little too far to help one of them.  It jeopardizes her new relationship with Macon, the lawyer, and her friends, but she is forgiven.

Her brother’s illness is a pall that hangs over the entire book and sometimes paralyzes Willie.  But Willie is awarded the opportunity to go to India to meet with the daughter of the famous poet, Sarojini, in the hopes that she will be trusted to write a book about her story, and she is able to make the trip reluctantly.  Willie loved the poetry written by this Indian woman and is honored that she is able to take the words home with her study.

Willie has always been enamored with words and their meanings.  In this book she gives words and meaning to the lives of the girls at the immigration center, to her mother’s life and death, and to her brother’s illness.  Storytelling.  This book is about a teacher and storyteller.  It’s about the power of words in relationships and it’s about forgiveness and hope.

SYNOPSIS

With her new novel, Paris Was the Place (Knopf, 2013), Susan Conley offers a beautiful meditation on how much it matters to belong: to a family, to a country, to any one place, and how this belonging can mean the difference in our survival. Novelist Richard Russo calls Paris Was the Place, “by turns achingly beautiful and brutally unjust, as vividly rendered as its characters, whose joys and struggles we embrace as our own.”

When Willie Pears begins teaching at a center for immigrant girls in Paris all hoping for French asylum, the lines between teaching and mothering quickly begin to blur. Willie has fled to Paris to create a new family, and she soon falls for Macon, a passionate French lawyer. Gita, a young girl at the detention center, becomes determined to escape her circumstances, no matter the cost. And just as Willie is faced with a decision that could have dire consequences for Macon and the future of the center, her brother is taken with a serious, as-yet-unnamed illness. The writer Ayelet Waldman calls Paris Was the Place “a gorgeous love story and a wise, intimate journal of dislocation that examines how far we’ll go for the people we love most.” Named on the Indie Next List for August 2013 and on the Slate Summer Reading List, this is a story that reaffirms the ties that bind us to one another.

Release date: August 7, 2013.

Pages: 354

Publisher link: http://www.randomhouse.com/book/204489/paris-was-the-place-by-susan-conley

ISBN: 978-0-307-59407-5

Buying links:

http://www.randomhouse.com/book/204489/paris-was-the-place-by-susan-conley

http://www.amazon.com/Paris-Was-Place-Susan-Conley/dp/0307594076

http://www.amazon.com/Paris-Was-the-Place-ebook/dp/B00BVJG4CM/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/paris-was-the-place-susan-conley/1113784351?ean=9780307594075

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/paris-was-the-place-susan-conley/1113784351?ean=9780385349659

https://itunes.apple.com/be/book/paris-was-the-place/id623835456?mt=11

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780307594075/susan-conley/paris-was-place

 

Susan Conley2Author bio

Susan Conley is a writer and teacher. Her memoir, The Foremost Good Fortune (Knopf 2011), chronicles her family’s experiences in modern China as well as her journey through breast cancer. The Oprah Magazine listed it as a Top Ten Pick, Slate Magazine chose it as “Book of the Week,” and The Washington Post called it “a beautiful book about China and cancer and how to be an authentic, courageous human being.” Excerpts from the memoir have been published in The New York Times Magazine and The Daily Beast.

Susan’s writing has also appeared in The Paris Review, The Harvard Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Gettysburg Review, The North American Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. A native of Maine, she earned her B.A. from Middlebury College and her M.F.A. in creative writing from San Diego State University. After teaching poetry and literature at Emerson College in Boston, Susan returned to Portland, where she cofounded and served as executive director of The Telling Room, a nonprofit creative writing center. She currently teaches at The Telling Room and at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA Program.

Contact Information

www.SusanConley.com

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I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  I’m thankful to be part of the France Book Tour!

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