' "It's as if I put on this mom costume nine years ago, and I don't know the person underneath anymore. What is my passion? Do I have a passion anymore? I think I'm lost." '
~ I See London I See France, Paulita Kincer
After Caroline Sommer's husband of fifteen years, Scott, announces that he's "had enough", he methodically packs a suitcase and leaves her alone at home in Columbus, Ohio, with their three young children, Henry, 5, Maggie, 7, and Jack, 9, and Caroline is understandably distraught and confused. While Scott is away, Caroline visits her friend, Fiona, and because she's enjoyed traveling abroad before, soon decides to take her children to Europe, and sells the family's minivan in order to have money for the trip. I See London I See France by Paulita Kincer is set in 2012 (with an epilogue set in 2013) in Ohio and Michigan, as well as in parts of England, Scotland, and France, and it also goes back in time to 1996, to Corisca and Aix en Provence, France, where Caroline worked as an au pair for the children of a French couple, Lisette and Robert. And it was in 1996 when she first met the couple's friend, Jean-Marc, a handsome Frenchman, who she wishes to see again on her current trip, while she contemplates her marriage and her future.
“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
I'm not exactly sure why I liked this book so much more than the first one I read by Paulita Kincer, The Summer of France. I enjoyed that book, but I See London I See France, published in 2013, was a much better read for me. Ouah! This book immediately grasped my interest, in the first chapter, and my interest never waned. Written in the first person, Caroline, 38, is the main character and narrator, and I think that women, and particularly those married with children, will easily relate to her frustrations and joys as a wife and mother. I See London I See France depicts the very real struggles that many married women face, and those that mothers of young children contend with, and the book seemed emotionally honest to me. It's also quite sexy and funny at times! The visit to the nude beach where Caroline feels discomfited is very funny (I would've felt the same way as the modest protagonist). The main character shares her private thoughts about sex and ruminations about romance in a way that's bound to resonate with many women, and I appreciated her candor. During her trip with the kids to London, Scotland, Paris, and Provence, she takes them on special excursions to Loch Ness and Monet's Garden (belles descriptions!), and Caroline realizes that she must tend to her own needs as well as those of her children, and that it's up to her to discover a passion, her passion, outside of her children, which will bring her personal fulfillment and happiness. I read this book quickly--not because I was on a deadline to post my review, but because I was eager to know how things turned out for Caroline. I cared about this character. Although she's not perfect, she loves her children, fiercely, and she does think about what's best for them. Caroline seemed like someone I'd want to be friends with in real life. Paulita Kincer's writing brought Caroline and her story to life. C'est un livre extraordinaire!
Nouvelles dieu! France Book Tours is offering a giveaway for a paperback copy of I See London I See France (U.S./Canada only).
- To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
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Enter by 5 PM PDT on Monday, March 17. One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, March 18.
Please be sure to visit the others stops on the I See London I See France book tour. Thanks to Emma from France Book Tours for inviting me to be a part of this tour, and to author Paulita Kincer for sending me a copy of her book.
Merci pour la lecture!