French Illusions and From Tours to Paris are both interesting books. They follow the 8 months that Linda spent in the Loire Valley and Paris as an au pair, student, and girlfriend. Everything is very detailed, written in present tense, and we often get the story minute-by-minute. These books don’t read like real-life; everyone in them uses perfect, un-conjugated grammar and always seems to say either the perfectly right or perfectly wrong thing. It was very distracting while reading and made it difficult to get absorbed in the story. Though I found reading it kind of trying, I did have a hard time putting it down and I finished them both rather quickly. I just can’t resist a French memoir!
My other big issue with these books is that this is not a happy story. Linda has problems with her employer, boys, and money consistently throughout both books. I am not sure I want to hear about someone’s unhappy time abroad, and when writing about my trips I’m sure to focus on the good things that happened rather than dwell on the bad. I do not recommend these books. If you’re looking for a good French memoir to read, try Seven Letters from Paris or Paris, My Sweet!