Say bonjour to a whole new way of life!
Take one French widower, his two young children, and drop a former city girl from Chicago into a small town in southwestern France. Shake vigorously... and voilá: a blended Franco-American family whose lives will all drastically change.
Floating on a cloud of newlywed bliss, Samantha couldn't wait to move to France to begin her life with her new husband, Jean-Luc, and his kids. But almost from the moment the plane touches down, Samantha realizes that there are a lot of things about her new homeincluding flea-ridden cats, grumpy teenagers, and language barriersthat she hadn't counted on.
Struggling to feel at home and wondering when exactly her French fairy tale is going to start, Samantha isn't sure if she really has what it takes to make it in la belle France. But when a second chance at life and love is on the line, giving up isn't an option. How to Make a French Family is the heartwarming and sometimes hilarious story of the culture clashes and faux pas that , in the end, add up to one happy family.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Author's Note xiii
How to Make a French Family xv
Preface: How to Marry a Frenchman You've Ignored for Twenty Years xvii
Ingredient 1 Communication xxiii
1 A Beautiful Mess 1
2 Leaping into L'amour 9
3 Bienvenue en France 17
4 This Is My Circus, and These Are My Fleas 27
5 Winging It 35
6 I'm an Immigrant? 43
Recipes for Communication 53
Paulctte's Tomates Farcies 53
Jean-Luc's Mottles a la Mariniere 55
Monies Curry Sauce 56
Monies Roquefort Sauce 57
Monies a la Plancha 58
Tuna Noodle Casserole 59
Jean-Luc's Quiche Lorraine 60
Ingredient 2 Friendship 63
7 Integrate or Die Trying 65
8 Driving Forward 71
9 Bring on the Mistletoe and Holly 77
10 A Baguette in the Oven 87
11 Online (Friend) Dating 95
12 Love Doesn't Just Come from DNA 105
13 Swinging from (the Sugar High of) La Chandeleur 113
Recipes for Friendship 123
Jean-Luc's Tartiflette 123
How to Host a French Dinner Party 125
Individual Tomato and Zucchini Tarts 125
Alain and Muriel's Grapefruit, Shrimp, and Fennel Verrine 126
Roasted Potimarron (Hokkaido Squash) Soup 127
Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Cream Sauce 129
Boeuf Bourguignon 131
Jean-Luc's Langoustes à I'Armorkaine 133
Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette 135
Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette 135
Ingredient 3 Adventure 137
14 A Spring in My Step 139
15 Salmonluhjali! 147
16 Weight Not, Want Not 155
17 Making Ends Meet 163
18 Diving Right In 173
19 La Guerre des Boutons (The War of the Buttons) 181
Recipes for Adventure 189
Jean-Luc's Crepes 189
My Mom's Chicken and Mushrooms in a Cream Sauce 190
Maxence's Ham and Cheese Crepes 191
Chicken Tagine with Apricots, Prunes, and Almonds 192
Lemon Confit à la Marocaine (Preserves) 194
Sam's Toulousian French Creole Gumbo 195
Isabelle's Gateau Fondant a Vorange 197
Ingredient 4 Passion 199
20 The American Invasion 201
21 Digging Up Roots 213
22 Dreams Change 221
23 Throw Papa from the Plane 233
Recipes for Passion 243
Jean-Luc's Flambéed Pastis Shrimp 243
Mango-Avocado Salsa 244
Moelleux au Chocolat with a Cceur Fondant 245
Sautéed Rosemary Potatoes 246
Elvire's Gateau au Yaourt (Yogurt Cake) 247
Ingredient 5 Love 249
24 Stepmother's Day 251
25 Get Me to the Church on Time 257
26 Friendship Is Always in Season 265
27 Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, Even When There Are Pits 273
28 Sweet Sixteen 279
Recipes for Love 289
Jean-Luc's Traditional Tian Provencal 289
Kathy's Goat Cheese and Balsamic Glaze Tian Provencal 290
Jean-Luc's Simple Pot-au-Feu 291
Jean-Luc's Cherry Clafoutis 293
Jean-Luc's Strawberry Soup 294
A Crumble for All 295
Cherry Compote 298
How to Host the Perfect Book Club 301
Reading Group Guide 303
About the Author 309
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
From the very first pages of this book I was captivated by Mrs Verant's writing style. She has such a natural writing style that helps the reader feel at home in her book. She is funny, poetic, beautifully descriptive and incredibly real. Loved all the culture throughout the book. As someone with a BA in foreign studies I loved all the French culture I learned from this book. I was fascinated by it. Loved learning it from a person who was originally from America and was living (not just traveling through) a foreign country. Ups and downs that come with being an expatriate were plenty. Loved the authenticity of the author not just painting a beautiful picture of her life in France. Great memoir. You will enjoy it.
Great personal story. It was warm and full of personal stories. I enjoyed this book and a glimpse into the author's life. There were happy and difficult times. Liked the honesty. I freely give this review from an ARC.
A cute tale of love, family, friendship, and adjustment to French culture. Samantha wholeheartedly introduces the reader to her new life abroad. There were a few sections of this book that made me laugh out. If you have lived in France, you will appreciate Samantha's portrayals of culture shock, language barriers and integrating into the French "way of life." Delicious recipes are included.
A perfect summer read, "How To Make a French Family" is set in picturesque southwest France and gives honest details of the author's second chance at happiness. We cheer Verant on in her new life, as she dives into marriage with a charming Frenchman, whom she met 20 years earlier. In a heartbeat, she becomes a wife, a step-mom, an ex-pat immersed in a new and often overwhelming culture... and a whiz in the kitchen. We empathize with the author's situation (partly because sometime you feel like you are reading a diary) all the while wondering how would we react if encountering all of these circumstances ourselves. Although there are many books about France on the market at the moment, Verant has set her story apart by taking it one step further: including treasured family recipes, the meals over which her new French family bonded. The occasional tidbit of touristy information was valuable as well. Verant's light, conversational style of writing easily carries the reader along on her many adventures. She speaks from the heart (sadly heavy-hearted at times); has showed firsthand that humour, perseverance and great food (and the occasional band-aid) make the difficult times manageable. She is inspirational yet realistic in her search for the beauty in every moment, in everyday life. Thank you for the reminder! The story was at times bouncy, almost as if you were sitting across from Verant, both cheerfully sipping red wine as she retells her stories. Because of this, I found that having read her previous memoir, "Seven Letters From Paris" helpful in understanding her back-story more fully. Although not necessary, for added dimension, reading Seven Letters is recommended. I am excited to try out her recipes (yes, even Tuna Noodle Casserole) and to read what family adventures Verant writes about next. Part of Team Seabiscuit, I had the great fortune of obtaining an advance reader copy of this book.
I really enjoyed this book! As with most good books you read, you always want to know what happens next, and this 2nd book delivers. The author writes with the same wit, and humor that was in the first book "Seven letters from Paris", but you also get to see a more personal side, and some struggles they were challenged by as a family. It was heartfelt, but also made me laugh out loud. The recipes look amazing, and although I have not tried any, I did make the macarons from her blog and they came out perfect. I am usually apprehensive about sequels to stories, but I really loved it and I am sure you will not be disappointed. I think you can read it alone, as the stories are great, but I recommend investing in and reading the first book, "Seven Letters from Paris" as well. Disclaimer: I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Samantha is open, honest, and real. After our book club read one of my favorite stories SEVEN LETTERS FROM PARIS, I was so happy to be able to continue with this journey. I asked for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review because I wanted to get to know Samantha better and I knew the only way was through the pages of her story. What I found in HOW TO MAKE A FRENCH FAMILY was so deep and touching. I imagined myself as one of her expat friends that would meet and pour their hearts and lives into each other…laughing and crying….sharing real life. Finding her way with her new family through cooking (loaded with recipes), patience, and braveness has given me courage to “let go” of some of my conventional thoughts and go on my own adventure. My wish is that these two books will be combined into a movie! It would be the next “Under the Tuscan Sun”! Don’t miss this heartwarming book and getting to know Samantha through the well written pages of her story.
When Samantha's (Sam) parents moved to London, they left her in the U.S. to attend college. She spent her summers in London. One summer, at age 19, Sam and her friend, Tracey, decided to visit London and Paris. In Paris, they met two sexy Frenchmen, Jean-Luc and Patrick. Jean-Luc has a great job and an engineer with a company in Toulouse France that is the equivalent of NASA in the U.S. After meeting Sam, he wrote to her numerous times when she was at college but she never wrote back. Now, 20 years later, Sam has been through a very bad divorce and needs a big change in her life. Having kept Jean-Luc’s letters, she decides to write him and apologize for never responding to his letters. He is now a widower with two children. Soon, emails and phone calls increased to the point that Sam finally decides to fly to France. There, they get married. Now, she is Madame Verant married to Jean-Luc and stepmom to two. The story follows Sam as she struggles to learn the language, settle into the customs of a new country, and do her best to be a good mother to budding teenagers. Even though she is now 39 and has never had children, Sam and Jean-Luc attempt a family of their own which is not an easy thing for them. In her memoir, Sam describes the food that she shops for and prepares (including yummy recipes). She also shares descriptions of the surrounding areas where they visit with the children and the friends they make. She manages to laugh at herself at the faux pas she makes with the language which endears her to everyone. When she finds some other English speaking ladies in the area, they become good friends and share their experiences. This story is totally delightful and means so much to me. I experienced so much of what Sam did. My husband is also an engineer with NASA who was sent to a NATO organization in Paris for a 3-year tour. With 2 little children in tow, and a zero knowledge of French, I was the one struggling to adjust to a new country, language, customs, and being away from family. Yes, it was difficult and I experienced much of the same frustrations that Sam did. However, the key as Sam points out is to become a part of the culture as much as you can. Learning to laugh at yourself is necessary and enjoy this wonderful experience even if some of the experiences are laughter mixed with tears. We loved it so much, that we went back to Paris 10 years later for another 3-year tour. I do hope others will read this book too. You don’t need to have lived or even visited another country to enjoy the experiences that Sam shares with you. It’s a book you will not want to put down. Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I just finished reading Samantha Vérant’s “How to Make a French Family” and enjoyed it even more than I did her first book, “Seven Letters from Paris: A Memoir.” She is an excellent writer and shares her experiences with humor and with insight. The warmth of her personality comes through even better in this sequel, and her descriptions of her new life in France with her French husband and his two children are fascinating; they answered the questions I had been left with after closing the covers of her first book. Vérant is frank in her discussions of the major adjustments she had to make: new husband, new adolescent children, new country, and a new language. Although she had taken French in school many years prior, it didn’t prepare her for the challenges of speaking it every day in all of her interactions with friends, neighbors, tradespeople, and new family members. Her learning curve was steep, but she persevered and won through. Equally the cultural differences were a hurdle, and for a while she felt isolated despite the support of her children and her husband. The turning point occurred when she reached out and developed a small group of fellow expats, several of whom also had French spouses. Together they were able to compare experiences and to recognize that what they were feeling was totally normal, and to move forward with each other’s help. I very much admired Vérant’s ability to cope, to see situations from all angles, to reach out to her step-children and empathize with them, and to rise to the challenges she faced as she came to feel fully comfortable and at home with her new family. Disclaimer: I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.