I must confess that if I was not madly in love with my sweetie Bud, I would have scoffed at the notion of someone keeping letters written 20 years before by a man she met and knew for only a few days on a trip to Paris. Being in love has led me to believe that people come and go in our lives at certain times to teach us lessons; and sometimes the time isn't right to have the relationship we want--sometimes we have to wait for it. But--when you do find that special someone, you embrace the wonderfulness of that love. Sounds corny, I know.
Samantha is turning 40, and in an unhappy marriage she doesn't have the courage to end. She's just been laid off her job, and over wine and whine with her friend Tracey they reminisce about a trip they took to Paris 20 years before, when they were 19 years old. On that trip, they met two attractive French men: Jean-Luc and Patrick. The attraction between Samantha and Jean-Luc was immediate and intense. With only a few days left in Paris, Samantha and Jean-Luc spend every moment together. He begs her to stay longer, but she insists on keeping to travel plans (and a non-refundable train ticket) and leaves her man behind. She longs for him, but realizes it was too much too soon.
Jean-Luc writes Samantha 7 letters which are waiting for her when she gets back home to California. They really are quite extraordinarily romantic letters, full of longing and a desire to see Samantha again. You get to read them and realize that there is something to be said in receiving a love letter.
But she never replies to Jean-Luc's letters, and instead packs them away. Until 20 years later. She acts on an idea Tracey has to start a blog about those special letters, and after re-reading them, finds Jean-Luc on the internet (it makes these connections so much easier now!) and writes him, apologizing for never replying to his letters. And so a rekindled romance begins.
There are no surprises in this memoir. Yes, Samantha and Jean-Luc do find each other again, and get married. Yes, they live happily ever after in France. The journey of Samantha from a confused, very unhappy woman at a major cross-roads in her life is one that we can all identify with in some way. She's starting out with nothing again--no job, no home, no money, no husband. To top it all off, she has to move in with her parents. Pretty much hits rock bottom in her life.
Enter Jean-Luc and a love story that will make you sigh and smile. It's truly a wonderfully sweet and romantic story that makes you believe in the power of love and those powerful connections we find in other people that make no sense and aren't explainable--they just are there. Love works in magical, mysterious ways.
Rating: 7/10 for a sweet memoir about finding love again and navigating a new beginning.
Available in paperback and e-book.