Sometimes, the most mundane days can change us in ways we never imagined. Whether the trip is in our hearts, minds or an actual physical movement, the lessons we learn each day and how they will affect us are unpredictable.
It's these lessons that Ellen Sussman focuses upon in her novel. In a single day, three Americans explore Paris to learn more about the city's history and the lives of its current citizens. Each travels with a tutor hired to help learn the foreign language. What they learn, however, is about themselves rather than the city. During their days, they uncover things they never knew, learn to move on from their past and begin to understand what it means to truly live the life they want.
French Lessons is akin to a softly-spoken wave of emotion that crashes with gentle release over its readers. Emotional in only good ways, the novel provides glimpses of the small, seemingly-minute events that shape - and sometimes change - lives. It is a pleasurable and educating novel about what it means to be human, and how being human sometimes surprises even the most lost soul.
A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.
Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a spirited but lonely expat housewife, struggles to feel connected to her husband and her new country. And Jeremy, the reserved husband of a renowned actress, is accompanying his wife on a film shoot, yet he feels distant from her world.
As they meet with their tutors—Josie with Nico, a sensitive poet; Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt; and Jeremy with the consummately beautiful Chantal—each succumbs to unexpected passion and unpredictable adventures. Yet as they traverse Paris’s grand boulevards and intimate, winding streets, they uncover surprising secrets about one another—and come to understand long-buried truths about themselves.