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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
On leave from her job as a TV reporter, Aussie journalist Sarah Turnbull was freelancing in Bucharest when she met Frédéric, a charming French lawyer with impeccable manners and dreamy eyes. Acting on mutual attraction, he invited her to visit him in Paris, and she accepted. Four months later, she returned to stay. Almost French is her delightful account of how this chance encounter led to true love and a new life in the City of Light.
Turnbull's sprightly spin on the expat experience includes vivid descriptions of her head-on collisions with Gallic culture. She learns the hard way that French is a language fraught with subtle nuances, perilous pitfalls, and potentially mortifying double entendres. Her first cocktail party is an unmitigated disaster, as all her friendly overtures are met with cold disapproval. Considered too forward, too emancipated, too blokey for Parisian tastes, she despairs of ever fitting in. But bolstered by Frédéric's loving support, she and Paris begin to grow on each other. She changes careers, learns the language, makes friends, moves to a bustling inner-city quartier, and gains some insight into the centuries-old traditions that underlie French society.
Filled with colorful anecdotes and predictably rhapsodic descriptions, this deceptively breezy little memoir sheds unexpected light on the paradoxical quirks of French character that have contributed (perhaps unfairly?) to the country's famously negative public image. For Turnbull, falling in love with Frédéric was as easy as un, deux, troix. Falling in love with France took a bit more time. Anne Markowski