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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2014
I've read quite a few memoirs of people retiring and moving to Spain, Italy and Greece but this is something different. Linda tells of when she was twenty-one and working as a medical assistant for a family practice clinic in Seattle. Her real ambition was to be a flight attendant with an International Airline. The only stumbling block was that she needed to be able to speak another language. This is Linda's story of how she went to France to work as an Au Pair to try and 'drop herself in at the deep end' to learn the language as she went along. She wasn't entirely honest with the Dubois family who she went to work for as she told them that she could already speak French. At first, on finding out her deception, they seemed quite tolerant and helped her to enrol in classes to learn the language. Gradually Madame Dubois asks more and more of Linda so that she gets to the point of wondering if she can cope with the job anymore. This book has a great beginning, very easy to get into. It is fast-moving, to the point and Linda's enthusiastic, bubbly personality bursts through the writing. Linda does quite an amount of cooking with Madame and there are some lovely descriptions of the foods in the book which evoke smells and taste. I like how she presents a 'taster' sentence at the beginning of a chapter, hinting at what is going to be happening without giving too much away so you just have to read on to find out. I really enjoyed this, it was nice easy reading with fairly short chapters. It's intriguing, you are kept guessing as Madame Dubois's behaviour is changeable, it must have been very confusing for the young Linda. There's a bit of romance in here too, a lovely varied read. I understand that a follow-up is being written and I look forward to that very much. Great read, I really enjoyed it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 28 January 2014
Linda really amazed me with her story about her time as an au pair in the Loire Valley. She has a way of writing that keeps your interest and, unlike what another reviewer mentioned, doesn't get too stuck on the details. There are few books that can make one laugh, cry, and cheer for the main character but this is one of them. Anyone who has traveled away can relate to her feelings of homesickness. I was never that interested in France but this book made me want to go the Loire Valley and explore! I highly recommend this novel to one and all.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2014
As someone who was an au-pair about 1970 if I remember correctly in France but on the Swiss border , I could see Le Jet D'Eau from my bedroom , when I saw this book I had to read it and it didn't disappoint!!!!!
The descriptions of the day to day jobs you were expected to do and the area was brilliant!
A lot of people in that situation would have headed home I think!!!!
So looking forward to what happens next!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2014
This engrossing and entertaining memoir of the author's time spent as an American au pair for a wealthy family in a beautiful chateau in France offers a facinating glimpse into a life most of us can only imagine. The heartwarming optimism she displays in her personal journey along with the struggles in this captivating real life story kept me reading into the night. The snippets of French language and the wonderful descriptions of this region in France (along with the delicious food diary) both educated and intrigued me. I so want to go there now!! I won't give away the story but suffice it to say that I highly recommend this book for it's adventure, humor and romance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2014
I really enjoyed this well written memoir. I have always wondered what it would be like to be an au pair, or a "nanny", as Americans say. After reading this novel, I can tell you it is not at all a "Mary Poppins" experience.

While I do feel that the author should not have lied about speaking French to get the job, all of us have been young and dumb at one time. Her boss, Madame Dubois, was just a mean spirited woman who has probably never cut anyone slack, even once, in her lifetime. Compassion, understanding, and forgiveness are not words found in Madame's vocabulary.

The author described her life in France so vividly that I almost felt as if I were there, too. I enjoyed reading all of the details of her time as an au pair to the sassy little Colette (a miniature version of her mother), sweet Antoine, and the adorable baby Jocelyn. I was rather surprised at the way the story ended. I was not expecting the tale to take the turn that it did, but nothing should be surprising when Madame Dubois is involved. I felt that the story ended very abruptly and I was expecting a little more of an ending.

I am anxiously awaiting the sequel so I can find out what happens next. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who would like to read about French culture, or anyone who has thoughts of becoming an au pair.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 28 January 2014
It's a 5 star rating from me because not only do I know that area, and love it, but the writing drew me into the compelling storyline, written so that all Linda's emotions shone through in the storytelling. I hope that there might be a sequel? A nice easy read to pack in your bag for a rainy weekend away.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2014
Having been an Au Pair myself at the age of 17 for a Parisian family Linda's experiences were all too familiar!!! I enjoyed her style of writing, it kept me interested. I look forward to her next instalment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2014
Loved this book! French Illusions is an absorbing, enjoyable and well written account of the author's time spent as an au pair back in 1979 in the Loire region of France. As a Francophile, the book appealed to me on many levels. The helpful smattering of French language, with translations throughout, revived my rather rusty French a bit. The delicious recipes and descriptions of food and localities reminded me of all that I miss about France. I did feel sorry for Linda, caught up in that awful situation with her employer and so wanted her to escape but what a fascinating read. I'm looking forward to the follow up book very much.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2014
By Jreader - See all my reviews
This review is from: French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley (Paperback)
This book is an entertaining story about the author's ordeal in a country very foreign to her. She deals with her 'stay' in France with a lot of emotions and adventures with her host family and her new found friends. A romance adds to the excitement as Adam steals her heart while a certain member of her host family has no heart! It is an easy and fun read. You will want to keep reading to the end, just to see how her story ends!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2014
This memoir from new author, Linda Kovic-Skow, is a must-read for all of us that have longed to explore the world, but don't have the courage of the vivacious, young protagonist. Looking for a new direction in life, Linda yearns for adventure in her hopes of becoming a glamorous flight attendant. But, when she fibs her way into a job as an au pair in the Loire Valley of France, she soon discovers that her expectations aren't quite in line with those of her new employer. The story flows nicely as she paints a picture of the quaint towns and rolling hillsides of her new home, but the highlights for this reader were the vignettes with the children, especially little Antoine. His adorable one-liners and interactions with Linda never ceased to brighten my mood. The relationships with the rest of the family are nicely developed throughout the book, and the dialogue reads well. Don't be surprised when you see French dialogue on the page, though, because it is a convention that carries throughout. Overall, I thought that Francophiles and casual readers alike could enjoy this story, and I personally can't wait for a sequel!
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