In 2009, New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James took a leap that many people dream about: she sold her house, took a sabbatical from her job as a Shakespeare professor, and moved her family to Paris. Paris in Love: A Memoir chronicles her joyful year in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
With no classes to teach, no committee meetings to attend, no lawn to mow or cars to park, Eloisa revels in the ordinary pleasures of life—discovering corner museums that tourists overlook, chronicling Frenchwomen’s sartorial triumphs, walking from one end of Paris to another. She copes with her Italian husband’s notions of quality time; her two hilarious children, ages eleven and fifteen, as they navigate schools—not to mention puberty—in a foreign language; and her mother-in-law Marina’s raised eyebrow in the kitchen (even as Marina overfeeds Milo, the family dog).
Hardcover, Random House, 272 pages
What a wonderful book this is! Eloisa James has written a memoir that is at times funny, romantic, and poignant. After a health crisis, she and her husband Allessandro both take a sabbatical from their respective teaching positions and move their family to Paris. The book is chock full of little vignettes of their life in France, adjusting to the cultural differences, finding their way around the city and even bridging the language issue. I particularly like the stories about her feisty daughter, Anna and her run- ins with a fellow classmate who eventually becomes her friend. There were so many interesting parts to the book. My heart felt sad when Ms. James wrote about a small museum of French historical treasures started by a local banker and later imparts the fact that the house was donated to the French government, his son died as a soldier for France and yet the entire family was shipped off to Auschwitz and never returned. The American in me loved that some of the highly touted French cuisine is in fact, not so good, but the description of most of the food is simply amazing. The markets, the stores, the buildings make one want to chuck it all and head to France. The stories of the homeless man living in a tent with two little trees as his enjoyment in life make you appreciate life here. I had a good laugh with the stories about Milo, the family's part time Chihuahua who lives with Allesandro's mother in Venice and weighs 27 pounds! Mostly, I enjoyed the everyday stories of a family adjusting to change and loving being together. I read most of this book while writing a complicated grant for the library where I work and I couldn't wait to get home and start reading and feeling the stress just flow away with every page.