December 17, 2015

French Illusions by Linda Kovic-Skow - Review/Excerpt/Giveaway

I received this book from France Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: October 3, 2012
Number of pages: 275
Genre: Memoir

French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley, is the first of two books based on the author’s diaries. It’s 1979 and Linda needs to learn a language fast in order to fulfill her dream of becoming a flight attendant. Broke yet determined, she chooses French immersion and contracts to become an au pair for a wealthy family in the Loire Valley. Yielding to poor judgment, she lies on her application and claims to speak basic French, confident she’ll be forgiven once she arrives at the Château de Montclair. As she struggles to adapt to her challenging new environment with the hard-to-please Madame Dubois and her two incomprehensible children, Linda signs up and attends language classes at the local university. When she encounters Adam, a handsome young student, her life becomes more complicated—much more complicated—adding fuel to her internal battle for independence. Join Linda on her adventure of discovery and romance in an extraordinary part of the world.

I think that the author was brave to apply for a job as an Au Pair in France espeically when she did not speak French. Then to have a job for a woman who to say it politely is not a nice person. What a great adventure in life this job gave her as well as the experience of traveling to a country that most of us dream of getting to go to. The author did such a good job in her writing that you felt as if you were right there along for the ride with her. I like the way this book was written as I felt as if a friend was sharing her diary with me so I can see how all the things happened while she was learning her job and secretly learning how to speak better French. It was also nice to read about her relationship with Adam. I have to say be sure to have the second book handy when you are reading this as the author leaves you wanting more of her story when you come to the end. 

Linda Kovic-Skow is a best-selling author in travel in France. Originally from Seattle, she currently winters in Gilbert, Arizona and spends summers on a boat in the Pacific Northwest Waters of Washington and British Columbia. She earned an Associate Degree in Medical Assisting in 1978 from North Seattle Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Seattle University in 1985. She has been married for 30 years and has two daughters. An enthusiastic traveler, Linda also enjoys hiking, boating, gardening and socializing with friends. French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley, was her debut memoir. The sequel, French Illusions: From Tours to Paris, recounts the rest of her adventure in France.

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The following day, I woke up feeling achy and nauseated. I planned to go Tours and visit the university, but I couldn’t raise myself out of bed, let alone walk to Songais to catch the train. Mummy checked my temperature, squinting through her glasses in order to read the thermometer, waggling her head afterward. Pursing her lips, she helped me choke down a sip of water and placed a cool cloth on my brow. Throughout the afternoon, my fever worsened and I vomited several times, wincing in pain and misery.

“Peut-être devrais-je appeler Armand? Je suis désolée de le déranger, mais votre fièvre m’inquiète.” She was thinking aloud, worried about the fever and threatening to call her son.

Unexpectedly, Colette pushed open the door and poked her nose in. “Mummy, mon oncle vient d’arriver.” I heard the word “uncle,” and I wondered if Alexandre had come for a visit.

Mummy glanced at me, sighed, and then followed Colette out of the room. A few minutes later, she returned with a strange man in tow who she referred to as Marcel.

“C’est l’autre frère de Geneviève,” she reported.

Madame’s Dubois’s other brother? I stared blankly at her for a moment, and then opened my mouth to speak, but before any words formed, I heaved into the bowl in front of me. Rushing to my side, Mummy handed me a towel and whisked the container away while I tried to avoid eye contact with Marcel.

Unruffled by my episode of nausea, he strolled to the bed, his auburn hair falling forward as he leaned over to get a closer look. Pulling the covers up under my chin, I narrowed my eyes and assessed him at the same time.

He appeared to be in his mid-twenties, but given his disheveled appearance, it was difficult to tell. Dressed in snug blue jeans, a dirty plaid shirt and work boots, I had a hard time reconciling this man belonged to the same family as Madame and her brother Alexandre.

“Have you strong pain anywhere, as your abdomen?” he asked in broken English.

“I hurt all over.”

“I think you could have flu of stomach,” Marcel declared, crossing his muscular arms over his chest. “We shall give you a little of medicine for fever and you should improve during next few days.”

He repeated the phrase in French to Mummy, her smile fleeting as she dipped her head. Dashing over to the nightstand, she dispensed some medicine and then encouraged me to take it with a small sip of water. After one final perusal, she shooed Marcel away, and they both left me to my despair.

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  1. Thank you for this fabulous review of my memoir. I'm so glad you enjoyed my story.

  2. thanks for your wonderful review and sharing an excerpt. Emma at FBT