In this robust, insightful and hitherto only privately available handbook, Parisian wife and mother Hortense de Monplaisir shares with us the secrets of her survival amongst the English. Exiled to London for the sake of her husband's career, pioneer Hortense delves into the many aspects of la perfide Albion that have long puzzled its closest neighbour and oldest enemy. No one and nothing is safe from Hortense's penetrating eye as she discusses a diverse range of topics from the inability of the English to speak their mind, their bizarre love of rituals such as the stag party and the country fete and their passion for long muddy walks, to their obsession with World War II, estate agents and incomprehensible fondness for the traditional English pantomime. The result is a double-edged comedy: here are the foibles of the English, seen through the jaundiced gaze of a sophisticated Parisienne. Hortense's confident interpretations of some of our best-loved national habits (jam with meat, anyone?) will only confirm our long-held view that the French are, indeed, very different.
Essex-born Sarah Long read English at Oxford and worked in publishing until moving to Paris where she lived for ten years, working as a writer and translator. She is the author of two novels, And What Do You Do?, based on her experiences in Paris, and The Next Best Thing. Married with three children, she now lives in London. She met Hortense de Monplaisir at a wine tasting in Paris, and describes her as my soul sister.