Sunday, 7 September 2014

Seven Letters From Paris by Samantha Vérant

I so wanted to love this story.

Seven Letters From Paris: Sometimes Love Gives you a Second Chance: A True Love Story should have been right up my alley.
My Random House rep knew of the basic story behind my very own romantic marriage, so she thought of me straight away when this proof copy turned up at work.

Sure, Sydney is not Paris, and our time apart was 14 yrs, not 20. I was only 19 when I met my husband for the first time, just like Samantha. However ours was more than a holiday romance back then as we dated for 4 yrs....& the beginning of our second time also centred around letters and emails.

As you can see, two very similar romantic stories - we should have been kindred spirits. I should have been able to relate to Samantha's story. But I didn't.

The part that finally made me give up was when Samantha flew to Paris to meet Jean-Luc for the first time 20 yrs later.

Perhaps it's simply not possible to describe the true intensity of feelings of that day, that moment when you meet again. The hopes, the fears, the anticipation, the regrets, the excitement, the wonder, the confusion, the tears, the laughter, the passion - so many expectations & possibilities crowded into one moment, one day. Ten years later, that day is etched onto my brain, heart & soul forever.

Sadly, I was unable to enter into Samantha's world at this point of the story. I felt deflated, like something important had been glossed over. Even Paris seemed bland. I couldn't capture the excitement or feel the emotion. It was a story being told, rather than an experience being shared.

I do wish Samantha and Jean-Luc all the love and happiness in the world. I hope their real life story continues to be as wonderful, romantic and special as ours is to this day.
Even though all our friends say our story would make a fabulous movie, after reading Seven Letters, I think I will save our story just for us.
Unless you know the people involved, with all the back stories and nuances understood & accepted, reading someone else's love story is just, well...unsatisfying.

Seven Letters From Paris is a November release from Random House Australia.
This post is part of Dreaming of France.

8 comments:

  1. The story of yourself and your husband is marvelous!

    Sometimes though a book tells a relatable tale to our lives it just does not work.

    Do you think that if this had not had parallels to your own story that you might have expected less and/or liked it better?

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    1. I have thought about that over night Brian, but then I remembered that I often struggle to read about other people's love lives!

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  2. Sometimes a story is too close to one's own - one reads with that third eye. I think that when this happens the enjoyment of the book is somewhat less than it might otherwise be.........

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    1. That is how it ended up certainly.
      But I did go into the book with the expectation of finding a story that I could relate to, that would resonate, that I would 'get' the hidden emotion behind the sentences. Maybe my expectations were too high?

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  3. It sounds like you should be writing your own story here, Brona! I wonder if the reaction is a bit like when one reads a book set somewhere where one has lived and been part of the community, and the book picture just doesn't seem to be 'my' picture of the place. Our expectations are perhaps too high! ;-)

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  4. I agree that your own story sounds compelling. Maybe some day. Thanks for your review of this book. The name Jean-Luc made me smile because that is the name of the Frenchman and college crush of my character in I See London I See France. It must be a common name for men that women fall in love with and search out later. Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France today. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme

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  5. Too bad. Thanks for you thoughts on this book though.

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  6. I'm sorry it wasn't the book for you. I hate it when I don't like a French/Paris book- it's reasonably rare, but it does happen from time to time.

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