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The Way I Found Her

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  886 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
From the author of The Gustav Sonata

This is the summer that Lewis Little, precocious thirteen-year-old, is spending in Paris with his mother, Alice. Alice is translating the latest medieval romance by Valentina Gavrilovich, the bestselling and exotic Russian émigré, Lewis is there to make his first acquaintance with one of the greatest cities in the world; neither can fore
Paperback, 359 pages
Published April 2nd 1998 by Vintage (first published 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,387)
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Jun 14, 2013 Silvia rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, contemporary
I’m very, very torn on this novel. It is a coming-of-age story told by Lewis, a thirteen-year-old boy from Devon who spends a summer in Paris with his mother Alice, a translator for Valentina, a Russian-born French writer of medieval romance novels. For the first half, the book is a sweet and atmospheric tale that follows Lewis through the streets of Paris, the people he meets, his thoughts, emotions and sexuality of a boy becoming a teenager, as he almost immediately develops a crush for attrac ...more
Dec 05, 2008 Cintamani rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Poets, Dreamers & Lovers
Set in Paris, it is a beautiful kind of reverse Lolita tale of a young boy falling in love with an older woman. He spends his summer in an attic of a gorgeous apartment in Paris, learning the language by reading Dostoyevsky's Crime & Punishment in French, and walking around the city on his own as his mother translates books for their host, Valentina. Dramatic, touching, and full of beautiful sorrow, this is a book to remember. Like the literary equivalent to 'Some Velvet Morning' by Nancy Si ...more
Roxenne Smith
This is billed as a coming of age story, but in fact, the main character, at age 13, already has an extraordinary (if not entirely unbelievable) maturity. What kept me going was the quality of the writing. The story was unusual and interesting enough, but there were numerous situations in which the plot felt sluggish and bogged down in detail. The mystery element kept prodding me forward in anticipation, but the outcome did not entirely satisfy.

This was not a novel that left me wanting more. Ev
Sue Uden
Jun 28, 2015 Sue Uden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thought provoking, memorable read. I have loved every Rose Tremain I have read. Strangely all the way through I thought I had read this one before. And more than probably I had, when it was first published - but then I was a different me then! This time there was so much to say that I haven't time to do that now - but maybe I'll come back and edit this later. In the meantime, I would recommend it as an excellent read - with wonderful settings in Paris and insights to Russian history - and an e ...more
Nov 16, 2014 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have very mixed feelings about this book. At times it compared with anything written by this brilliant author and at others it became rambling and boring. I'm all for the odd description of a dream, but this book overdid this device. The descriptions of Paris were great to begin with, but these also became a little repetitive. The development of the main plot is interesting when thirteen year old Lewis sets himself a quest because of his adolescent adoration for the voluptuous Valentina, with ...more
Huw Rhys
Mar 11, 2010 Huw Rhys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rose Tremain always delivers a cracking good yarn - and "The Way I Found her" doesn't fail to please, as usual.

OK, the premise of an extremely sexually aware 13-year old boy may be a little far fetched - but if you want reality, watch soap operas. If you want a damn good story with strong characterizations, insights onto the human nature and an allround entertaining read - then you'll probably enjoy this book.

No two Rose Tremain books are the same - the settings (both geographically and historic
Melanie Garrett
Nov 28, 2009 Melanie Garrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my all time favourite reads. I was completely captivated by the narrator, Lewis, and his coming of age drama. I don't want to say too much more because I don't want to spoil anything, but having just felt quite disappointed with The Road Home because it seemed to me the characters were too cosseted, and that Tremain was running ahead and smoothing their way the whole time, I'd have to say that The Way I Found Her was a much, much braver book.

I finished reading it at five in the mo
Jun 13, 2016 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is much in this story that is autobiographical. After her father walked out of her family Rose Tremain was sent to a dismal boarding school in England, and then to a Paris finishing school by her Francophile mother for a year before she planned going on to university. However the headstrong and wilful teenager instead enrolled at the Sorbonne. In this novel a headstrong and precocious thirteen year old, Lewis Little, leaves his father behind one long hot summer and travels to Paris with hi ...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Way I Found Her, by Rose Tremain, Narrated by Tom Haywood, Produced by Audible inc., downloaded from

This is the summer that Lewis Little, precocious thirteen-year-old, is spending in Paris with his mother, Alice. Alice is translating the latest medieval
romance by Valentina Gavrilovich, the bestselling and exotic Russian émigré, Lewis is there to make his first acquaintance with one of the greatest cities
in the world; neither can foresee the momentous events that lie in wait for
Feb 08, 2009 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a classic example of "don't judge a book by its cover". It looks like a trashy piece of fluff, but it is so NOT. It is the deeply moving (and painful) story of a pivotal summer in the life of an adolescent boy. If you want light reading, don't choose this; but if you want something unique and memorable, this is a book for you.
Dec 19, 2015 Bekah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hate to give my beloved Rose Tremain only 3 stars, but this book was not a pleasant read. In fact, I'm hoping not to have nightmares tonight. I don't want to dream of a face peering in through my window at midnight. I don't want to dwell on this teenager's unhealthy obsession with a middle-aged woman. And I most certainly don't want to think of what he said to Daniel at the end of the book: "When I hear them playing carols in shops, I want to gun down everybody in sight." Yikes. Mind you, I'm ...more
Dec 30, 2014 Betty rated it liked it
Shelves: france, fiction
Clearly I have to read The Wanderer (Les Grand Meaulnes), the book Lewis Little is translating in which the main character is a young French schoolboy finding his first love. In this book, the schoolboy Lewis is English and his love is a crush on the French writer whose latest novel is being translated by this mother. The narrative is entirely from the point of view of Lewis, who at 13 is neither younger nor older than that, as he well realizes. A highly readable, if not very plausible, narrativ ...more
Ana Emilia
The most enjoyable part of this novel for me was the trip through Paris; the sweetness of the pasteries in the cafes on Rue Rembrandt, shopping at the colorful outdoor markets, and the trips to Parc Monceau with Sergi the dog.
Additionally, I liked the characters, especially Lewis, Didier and Valentina. They were so well defined and depicted so well, I could almost paint their portraits. This is the second Rose Tremain book I have read and her character definition is very appealing to me.
On anot
Dec 05, 2014 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
From the beginning I didn't like Lewis and his thoughts ok he was intelligence but he killed Valentina by his stubborn and loving her I knew it when he forced her to escape from the roof that smth bad is going to happen.He was acting older than his age if he let the job to the adults nothing would happend to the end he was remembering her and smile! he thought that she belong to him !
Jun 12, 2015 Lesley rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A very unusual novel in plot and characters. I'm not sure it was entirely believable, or whether we are supposed to believe it. For the most part it kept my attention although there were some bits where the story seemed to be going nowhere. One which will stick in my mind, I think.
Jun 25, 2007 Writerlibrarian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2006
This one left me in tears. Literally. The last 75 pages just got to me. The plot is fairly simple, Lewis Little, 13, spends the summer in Paris with his mother, who is translating the latest medieval romance novel from Valentina Gavril as she writes it. The summer is hot and Lewis is becoming a teenager with a giant crush on Valentina. He reads, takes walks with Valentina's dog Sergueï. And one day, Valentina vanishes. No one can find her. No ransom demand. Nothing. Lewis decides he will find he ...more
Jay Fitzloff
Apr 18, 2007 Jay Fitzloff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: haveread
My mom recommended this book to me. After reading it, I have no idea why she did, but it was still a good book.

The first half moves incredibly slow, allowing the reader to get to know the main character - a young boy of 13 spending the summer in France while his mom translates the book of a famous medieval romance author. An entertaining premise, but what ultimately delivers in this book is Tremain's ability to successfully portray the inner thoughts of a young teenage boy.

By the time you get to
Dec 10, 2013 Helynne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to this book when I heard it was about a English boy, Lewis Little, who goes to France with his mother, a translator, and becomes interested in the book Le Grand Meaulnes, which is one of my favorite French novels. However, the parts about Lewis's fascination with Le Grand Meaulnes are quick and disappointing, and the plot deteriorates into Lewis's larger, hormonal fascination with Valentine, a neighbor, who mysteriously disappears about halfway through the book. The plot deteriora ...more
Nicole G.
Jul 22, 2008 Nicole G. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
Lewis is a thirteen year old British boy on holiday with his mother, Alice. Alice is a translator for Valentina, a Russian woman who writes French romance novels. When Valentina suddenly disappears after a hotel visit with a former lover, Lewis takes it upon himself to try to crack the case; he gets sucked into a maelstrom of seedy characters. I'm not too keen on just mystery stories, but this had more than that to it - coming of age, Lewis' parents and their relationship, etc. I think the only ...more
Nov 05, 2011 Martin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A precocious 13-year-old boy narrates this story, set in and evocative of Paris. It’s a fabric of exotic and interesting characters and ideas, involving a Russian woman writer of medieval romance novels--written in French--that the boy's mother is translating into English. There is some Existentialism, a suspicion of plagiarism, and a kidnapping. Of course the boy is obsessed with the woman writer(a standard middle-aged woman author fantasy?). Some of it borders on implausible, though it's mostl ...more
Mar 15, 2014 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My rating is about liking, but I think the book is excellent -- just not the kind of story that speaks to me (ie adolescent boy story).
And then, after only a moment or two, I hear her laughter and a feeling like happiness comes into me and is mine.

Last line from The Way I Found Her by Rose Tremain. I’d read The Colour by Rose Tremain a while ago and because it gradually won me over, I thought I’d try another one of her books. The Way I Found Her was a drag through the fantasies of a teenage boy. None of the characters captured my interest and I couldn’t finish this fast enough. Tremain’s saving grace is that she can write well;
Gene Knauer
I'm a big Rose Tremain fan but this one was a disappointment.
Aug 01, 2009 James rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As stated, this is about a precocious 13 year old boy living in Paris with his mother, a translator, and the writer she works with. Let's just say I did not buy the concept from the start. Felt false. I understand you must give a writer some latitude, but she used all my suspension of disbelief in the first 10 pages. This was not a 13 year old boy in that book--it was an adult woman wanting to endow a boy with traits almost never seen in a child then just call him precocious to say it is possibl ...more
Lawrence A
May 23, 2008 Lawrence A rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I loved the writing and the theme of early adolescent lust for an older woman, coupled with alienation from one's parents. Of course, I'd like to think that, when I was just about to turn 14, I had Lewis Little's preternaturally adult responses to the grown-up world of sex, work, duplicity, and depravity. Needless to say, I didn't have his courage, but what straight 14-year-old boy doesn't have fantasies of saving an older, voluptuous damsel in distress [while simultaneously discovering his own ...more
Lionel Denny
Mar 04, 2015 Lionel Denny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense, mystery
Rose Tremain never fears covering thought provoking, provocative and controversial material but does it with sensitivity, care and results in another excellent tale.
Jan 17, 2015 Anne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
read in 2004
Feb 11, 2012 Mew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
In this book Rose Tremain portrayed Paris in the very latter end of the 20th Century in a way that was so evocative I felt as though I had lived there myself. I don't know if that Paris exists now - I don't know if it ever actually existed.

The characters were often vile, not least the overly self-aware Lewis but it didn't really matter much to me, I don't think the point was to like the characters.

Refreshingly good, considering she has many more books I am yet to read.
Feb 07, 2009 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A precocious thirteen-year old boy, Lewis, spends the summer in Paris, where his mother is working as translator for Valentina, a woman novelist. At first, this seems to be merely a coming of age story, with Lewis' observations on the adult world which surrounds him making for some wonderfully witty passages. But there is a mystery or two, and adventure, and in the end a conclusion of integrity, making this a very satisfying and clever novel indeed. Recommended.
Feb 08, 2012 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a re-read for me and just as enjoyable as the first time. The Paris that the author evokes is so clear - the food, the smells, colours and clothes just are so well described. The thoughts of Lewis are too well observed (if much too channelled and educated - I really don't think 13 year old boys think like Lewis) so that they can move the plot along - would it have worked without a 1st person narrator? Poignant and well-plotted - a very good read.
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Rose Tremain's best-selling novels have won many awards, including the Orange Prize, the Whitbread Novel of the Year, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Prix Femina Etranger. Restoration, the first of her novels to feature Robert Merivel, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She lives in Norfolk and London with the biographer Richard Holmes.
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