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Seven Letters from Paris: A Memoir

     by Vérant, Samantha

Seven Letters from Paris: A Memoir

Samantha Vérant's life is falling apart around her. She's lost her job, she's in an unhappy marriage, and her aging dog is getting sick. But it isn't until a friend reminds her of a brief love affair 20 years earlier that Vérant takes stock of her life and decides things must change. She has seven mementos from the whirlwind love-at-first-sight lark she shared with a Frenchman in Paris when she was a student. The love letters from a man she barely knew had gone unanswered two decades earlier and were shoved into a box, ignored at the back of her closet. But now Vérant is moved to start a blog about the letters and track down her former lover. Luckily, there aren't a lot of French rocket scientists named Jean-Luc, and she manages to find him through a Google search. The conversations that follow give her the courage to make changes in her unhappy life. She divorces her husband. She moves across the country to California, where she take the only job she can find — a dog walker — and moves in with her parents. She files for bankruptcy. But her rekindled love affair with a man she hasn't seen or spoken to in 20 years gives her a new outlook on life, and the confidence to trust her heart and allow herself to be happy. 

Readers who enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love or Under The Tuscan Sun will appreciate Vérant's humorous approach to her own soul searching and transcontinental courtship. While she doesn't exactly wallow, there's a universal feel to her post-divorce crisis of purpose that make her relatable. While she's not exactly plucky, she's someone the reader wants to root for. The letters themselves are included as chapter openers and can be a bit over-the-top, but what matters most is the way rediscovering them 20 years later changes the path of Vérant's life so drastically.

Reviewed by ba, 03/16. Other reviews by ba.