Bev's Reviews > Lessons in French

Lessons in French by Hilary Reyl
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really liked it
bookshelves: good-fiction-that-doesn-t-hurt, owning-power, possible-votes

This book was ALMOST one of my favorite books of the year. Many descriptions and reviewers have called it a coming-of-age story set in Paris. True, but there's much more going on. The lead character, Katie, isn't just coming of age... she's moving beyond childhood trauma and rejection, learning how to not be a people pleaser and really own her power as a human being. In that respect, the book reminded me of The Language of Flowers or even some of my favorite YA fantasy novels. The author pulls all that off beautifully, with great writing and strong characterization. She does an especially good job of making you love the main character, and creating tension with her flaws without being irritating. I almost couldn't stop reading - rare for me in general fiction.

Where this book fell short for me was in the character's transformation. By page 200, I was wondering where the "lessons" in "Lessons in French" were coming in. When she did change, it was a little abrupt for me, and I didn't fully buy into the reasons why. Likewise, her romantic infatuations seemed a little shallow and plot-device-y, even for her character.

Overall, four stars, with potential for five depending on your patience level and willing to believe in quick personal transformation. A great debut novel.
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Reading Progress

August 5, 2013 – Started Reading
August 5, 2013 – Shelved
August 7, 2013 – Shelved as: good-fiction-that-doesn-t-hurt
August 7, 2013 – Shelved as: owning-power
August 7, 2013 – Finished Reading
November 4, 2013 – Shelved as: possible-votes

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