A real-life fairy tale romance...sigh

Sometimes a real-life story reads very much like fiction, and I think Seven Letters from Paris: a Memoir by Samantha Verant is a perfect example of a modern day fairy tale come true. The author shares her personal story of how a bundle of seven romantic love letters from her past lead her to pick herself up when her life was at its lowest and reach for the happiness she deserves. She tells it all - the good, the bad and the ugly - with just the right amount of humor mixed in.

Samantha's world was crumbling in on her. Her marriage was lifeless, her debt staggering, and she had recently been laid off from her job as an art director in Chicago. Her friend Tracey had always been the one she turned to when life got too demanding. In need of some fun, they get together one day and, over a bottle of Pinot Noir, reminisce about their European college trip twenty-some years earlier. Both nineteen at the time, they had just finished their first year of college and were looking for adventure. And what an adventure they had. While at a restaurant in Paris, they met two handsome Parisian gentlemen, Jean-Luc and Patrick. It was perfect. Jean-Luc and Samantha only had eyes for each other, and Tracey and Patrick, despite a small language barrier, were more than happy to be in each other's company. They had a wonderful time but the girls were leaving Paris the next day. Once back home, Samantha receives letters from Jean-Luc declaring his feelings and hoping she feels the same. He writes seven in all, each one more full of romance and promise than the last. She never replies. When Tracey dares her to start blogging about those old love letters, just the motion of dragging them out of that box in her closet changes everything for Samantha.

Seven Letters from Paris: a Memoir follows Samantha and Jean-Luc as they make contact, reconnect, and eventually meet up with the idea they can have a shared future together. It took great courage for Samantha to walk away from an unhappy marriage, step out into the unknown, and give love another chance. It wasn't all sunshine and roses, and there most certainly were struggles. Samantha instantly becomes a stepmother to Jean-Luc's two children, a role she was not prepared for as she had no children with her ex-husband. Add to that having to deal with a different culture, a different language, and different food and customs, and let's not leave out the nightmare of the French bureaucracy when she tries to become a permanent citizen. I love how the author shares the letters, one at a time, throughout the book. Full of flowery language and declarations of love, the letters add to the fairy tale aspect of her life story. The author now lives in wedded bliss in France with her fairy tale prince and I could not be happier for her.

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