Chic in France
Chic in France is an entertaining, contemporary romance of 8.600 words . Claire has fallen hard for her New York colleague Jack who only raves about the elegance of French women. Exasperated, she decides to fly to Nice to judge things for herself. Bowled over by the French way of doing things, she ends up meeting Jacques and learns more than she counted on . . .
Beate Boeker specializes in short, romantic stories, always told with an insightful sense of self, a bit of deprecation, but in the end a woman triumphant. I love her heroines!
And Boeker is so funny:
“I rose with heaving bosom. Well, that’s not quite true because my bosom isn’t large enough to heave unless I jump to and fro, but if I had a bosom, it would have done just that. ‘I’ll fly to France, Jack, and nothing you can do will stop me.’”
Despite total lack of experience, and with much head shaking by Jack, she does just that. She walks through Nice, and exhausted, rests and talks to her coffee cup. Chance perhaps — that conversation attracts Jacques.
“His accent made my tired toes tingle. Jack had never mentioned that accent, that melt-your-heart way of speaking with a lilt and without any h. Maybe he had never talked to all those beauties he kept raving about.”
Our heroine and Jacques explore the shoe shops of Nice, the hidden paths and byways, the restaurants, and in a very chaste way, each other.
Her final postcard goes to Jack: “Am spending delightful days at the Cote d’Azur and have discovered the beautiful French women you referred to in passing. They are indeed stunning. However, how come you never mentioned the men? Have just arranged to stay longer. Claire”
Two other points are worth making. After a period of mourning my first wife, I’ve started dating again, and was lucky enough to find a lady who was born and lived in France until she was 25 and then moved and has lived in New York City ever since. It’s been great fun teasing out her French attributes from the New Yorker personality she has now become. Boeker captures an essential attribute of my friend’s Frenchness in the following passage:
“In French we say ‘J’ai du nez’, which literally translates as ‘I’ve got some nose.” That doesn’t make sense, I know.’ He grinned. ‘But it means that you had the right instinct, that you felt your way to the truth quicker than others did.”
Both my friend in our personal relationship, and Boeker in her writing have ‘J’ai du nez’. Boeker is subtle, and very clever. Note, for example, the theme of toes, feet, shoes, that come up time after time in this story, each time in a new context, each time adding a bit to the plot, the setting or the characters of Claire and Jacques. Note the use of the names of the two men in her life: “Jack” and “Jacques” and in the postcard the implied “John”. Boeker has a real sense of the writer’s “J’ai du nez”.
I’m still smiling about this lovely introduction to France, shades of Daisy Miller without the angst. My friend shared that joy when I read it aloud to her this morning.
Robert C. Ross – Top 50 Amazon Reviewer
I always enjoy reading books where I indentify with the characters – and more importantly, like them. This delightful story, written in a fresh, breezy voice made me want to get on the next plane to France!
CHIC IN FRANCE is a delightful, light summer read! Ms. Boeker did a great job with the descriptions, and since I’ve been to France, I could picture where Claire visited. If you’re looking for a short, fun book, I’d encourage you to download CHIC IN FRANCE.