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While it is her first book, I'm willing to cut her some slack. There is plenty of room for improvement, and she does has potential as a writer. Aug 05, Bev rated it really liked it Shelves: Many descriptions and reviewers have called it a coming-of-age story set in Paris. True, but there's much more going on. The lead character, Katie, isn't just coming of age In that respect, the book reminded me of The Language of Flowers or even some of my favorite YA fantasy novels.

The author pulls all that off beautifully, with great writing and strong characterization. She does an especially good job of making you love the main character, and creating tension with her flaws without being irritating. I almost couldn't stop reading - rare for me in general fiction. Where this book fell short for me was in the character's transformation. By page , I was wondering where the "lessons" in "Lessons in French" were coming in.

When she did change, it was a little abrupt for me, and I didn't fully buy into the reasons why. Likewise, her romantic infatuations seemed a little shallow and plot-device-y, even for her character. Overall, four stars, with potential for five depending on your patience level and willing to believe in quick personal transformation.

A great debut novel. Jan 11, Kathleen rated it it was amazing. I received Lessons in French as a First Read giveaway. I had no idea what to expect: Kate wants to experience life after graduation from Yale. She takes the opportunity to make a connection with a famous photographer and move to Paris to be her assistant. Story may sound bland on the initial look but the diversity of the characters and the depth of the deceits are remarkable. She is looking to experience life and has found the perfect family to experience.

Lessons in French is a easy to read story filled with the bitterness of humans and the hopes of a young woman. I was torn as to whether to give this book 4 or 5 stars as some of it is rather predictable, but because the overall story gives a dimension to this young woman rather than creating her as a 2d stoic character, I chose 5 stars.

I would recommend this book to my friends and family - and especially my teenage niece. There are people in this world like the Schell family. Innocent young girls need to learn to trust their instincts and enjoy their lives. Oct 12, Ashley rated it really liked it Shelves: I received this advanced copy through a First Reads giveaway, thank you! I feel a book is well written when you have strong emotions for the characters.

I definitely had strong emotions for all of the characters in this book, and not always positive. At times I definitely didn't like the path Kate was choosing and the way she was prioritizing her friends and family. I never really went through a stage similar to Kate's nor have I been anywhere outside of North America, so it makes it difficult fo I received this advanced copy through a First Reads giveaway, thank you!

I never really went through a stage similar to Kate's nor have I been anywhere outside of North America, so it makes it difficult for me to relate with the main character, but I think the author did a great job writing the story so I didn't have to. My favorite details were the bits about all of the food. It really made me want to take a vacation just to eat!

The only thing I found a little difficult to follow was some of the French. Fortunately though, most of it was loosely translated so I didn't have to worry too much about it. All-in-all, the book was a fast, easy read.

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Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale

I'm sure especially wonderful for anyone who loves Paris or coming-of-age stories! Jan 29, Laura Power rated it really liked it Shelves: Lessons in French is a bit like a Devil Wears Prada story as we follow a young woman, Kate, in her first job as an assistant to a powerful and mercurial photographer in Paris. As a Yale grad, her vision of this job falls far from the reality. At times she is the artistic assistant and at other times she is the dog walker. Kate Is often placed in the middle of a family drama and must tiptoe around all of the eccentricity and turmoil.

Her need to please is a trait that she discovers can be a hindr Lessons in French is a bit like a Devil Wears Prada story as we follow a young woman, Kate, in her first job as an assistant to a powerful and mercurial photographer in Paris. Her need to please is a trait that she discovers can be a hindrance in her situation. One of the more appealing relationships that Kate develops is with her cousin Etienne as she resolves her past relationship with him and his family. Hilary Reyl provides us with a well-defined cast of characters but it takes the entire story to discover all of their attributes and intricacies.

It was enjoyable finding this out. Feb 26, Gretchen rated it it was amazing Shelves: Lessons in French is a wonderful journey. As a woman who came of age in the same time period, I identified fully with the protagonist Kate who is more assured of her youth and promise than of her own merits and position as an artist in a community that cherishes images and intellect.

Kate brushes elbows with the major cultural figures of the day while not knowing exactly how she fits in as the assistant of a high strung yet brilliant photojournalist.

Lessons in French

In the end, it's the relationships and experie Lessons in French is a wonderful journey. In the end, it's the relationships and experiences that open Kate's eyes to world of possibilities in front of her and she comes into her own. I loved this book and couldn't put it down mostly because of the colorful, sensuous world Hilary Reyl captured for her readers. Mar 09, Patricia Locati rated it it was amazing Shelves: What a beautifully told story.

The French language, when spoken well, is so beautiful and the same is for this book I read this book in 2 days I got totally abso What a beautifully told story. I got totally absorbed in this book Oct 11, Andrea rated it really liked it Shelves: Hilary Reyl's writing was descriptive, so that I felt as though I could envision Paris as if I was there with Kate, seeing what she saw. Oct 09, Kimberly rated it it was amazing. Absolutely loved Hilary Reyl's debut novel! I was given an advanced reader's copy and as soon as I started reading I felt an instant connection to the main character Kate.

Reyl's descriptions of Parisian life in the late 's transported me back in time and the images she paints of the food, culture, and city streets made me want to start planning my next trip to Paris. A beautiful coming of age story that I would highly recommend to all my Francophile friends. A beautifully written story of a young American woman,Kate,living in Paris and working for a famous photographer.

Kate struggles to make sense of her own creative instincts, her losses and her need for love and family. Jan 31, Carol rated it really liked it Shelves: We were NOT traveling in the same circles as the Schells! Kate, a Yale grad looking to begin her art career is hired as an "assistant" to Lydia Schell, a famous American photojournalist in Paris. Kate, what was she thinking! Lydia, uses the eager to please Kate: When she doesn't, you become invisible.

She does occasionally get to say, "Je t'invite. Kate still misses her Dad who looms large as she tries to define herself, "If only I knew what he would have wanted, I thought I could unravel into a real person. Ce n'est pas facile. En effet, ils sont interessants! Ah, c'est trop bon ca! Feb 09, Amy rated it really liked it Shelves: Paris is not a city that attracts me, yet it does fascinate me. It's not a place I long to go one brief visit in the 's has allowed me to say I've been there , but it's a city I do love to read about.

Whether historical, twentieth century, or current, the nuances of culture never cease to give much to contemplate. Hilary Reyl has managed to capture a believable Paris of and present it to her readers, along with tasty morsels of the time: The story is billed loosely as a coming of age novel, which really sells it short, because I found it to be a fascinating character study, with Paris itself one of the characters to study.

Kate, a recent Yale graduate, has the opportunity to work as the assistant to Lydia, a famous American photographer, living in Paris. Kate had lived briefly in Paris as a girl, and speaks the language beautifully. While the job bubbles with opportunities to mix with the famous, and be a part of a cutting edge culture, Lydia and her family serve up a somewhat toxic brew of personal pathologies and pathos. Kate must find a balance as well as find herself.

She still has family in the city, has a group of young aristocrats and royals she runs with, as well as the conflicted personalities that come her way, courtesy of Lydia's family.

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There were times when Kate's hormones led her astray, where I wanted to give her a shake to help her think straight, but that's part of what coming of age is all about. The thing that kept me glued to the pages here were the glimpses of Paris that emerged, the slices of life not known to those who have only visited, whether in person or via a book -- a little of the underbelly, so to speak. It rang so true that I feel certain Reyl knows her stuff, and weaves it in a clear, confident manner, into the story of Kate and her time in Paris. The book comes out March 5, Feb 16, Deb Readerbuzz Nance rated it really liked it Shelves: If you throw Paris or France in a title, you can know that I will probably seek this book out and give it a read.

And I will probably like it, no matter how badly written it is. I just like reading about Paris. Nor will it be a surprise that I liked it. You might like it, too. Turns out that author Reyl writes as if she has lots of actual experiences i If you throw Paris or France in a title, you can know that I will probably seek this book out and give it a read.

Turns out that author Reyl writes as if she has lots of actual experiences in France, which is lovely. Paris and good writing, then.


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Yes, you might like it. Jan 20, Carrie rated it it was amazing.

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I have just started reading this wonderful book. Learn how to say the days of the week in French. And watch out for those capital letters!


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  • Vocabulary and phrases to help you talk about your nearest and dearest. Make sure you check out the lesson on possessive adjectives first Every language has an array of "filler" words that help grease the wheels of conversation. These will help you sound more French, and might give you a little more time to come up with the right word! Every language has its weird expressions, and French is no different.

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    Counting in French - 1 to 1,, Counting in French follows a reasonably obvious pattern Question words Question words are amongst the most important vocabulary you'll learn. The partitive article "some" The partitive article "some" or "any" is used a lot more in French than in English.

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