A delicious coming-of-age tale set in the most romantic city on earth.
On the cusp of the nineties just as the Berlin Wall is falling, Kate is about to pursue her dream and become an artist. But she's just graduated from Yale and when an intriguing job offer comes her way, to work as the assistant to Lydia Schell, a famous American photographer in Paris, she cannot say no. She will get to live in Paris again! And Kate has not been back to France since she was a lonely nine-year-old girl, sent to the outskirts of Paris to live with cousins while her father was dying.
Kate may speak fluent French, but she arrives at the Schell household in the fashionable Sixth Arrondissement both dazzled and wildly impressionable. She is immediately engrossed in the creative fever of the city and surrounded by a seductive cast of characters. Amidst the glamorous, famous and pretentious circle that she now finds herself a part of Kate tries to fit in. But as she falls in love with Paris all over again, she begins to question the kindness of the people to whom she is so drawn as well as her own motives for wanting them to love her.
A compelling and delightful portrait of a precocious, ambitious young woman struggling to define herself in a city a million miles from home amidst a new life that is spiralling out of control. Lessons in French is at once a love letter to Paris and the story of a young woman finding herself, her moral compass, and, finally, her true family.
Hilary Reyl has a PhD in French literature from NYU with a focus on the nineteenth century, and has spent several years working and studying in France. She lives in New York City with her family. Lessons in French is her first novel.