Book review: French Rhapsody – I love France 203

French Rhapsody



Antoine Laurain
Emily Boyce & Jane Aitken
Gallic Books

US Release date: Oct 11, 2016
Rhapsodie française
was first released in French in January 2016
Pages: 240
ISBN: 978-1910477304
also available as ebook
Genre:  literary fiction


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 Rating system  Rating system  Rating system

When I participated in BEA 16 in Chicago a few months ago, there was  a lot of hype around Antoine Laurain, a French author I had not yet read! So before reading the book I got there, I decided to read and review one published earlier, The President’s Hat. I really enjoyed it and was eager then to discover his  latest, French Rhapsody. Like some other readers though, I’m a bit disappointed. There are however some good things in this short novel. Click to continue reading


Moonlight And Love Songs: author interview and giveaway. I love France #69

Moonlight & LoveSongs banner



I plan to publish this meme every Thursday.

You can share here about any book

or anything cultural you just discovered related to France, Paris, etc.

Please spread the news on Twitter, Facebook, etc !

Feel free to grab my button,

and link your own post through Mister Linky,

at the bottom of this post.


Moonlight And Love Songs


Alyssa Linn PALMER

Release date: September 17, 2013

Genre: Gay Romance, M/M, Noir

Moonlight & LoveSongs

Available in Trade Paperback (200 pages) and eBook

ISBN-13: 978-0992006525 (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 978-0992006532 (Kindle)

ISBN-13: 978-0992006549 (Smashwords)   AmazonDE  AmazonFR  AmazonES  AmazonIT
Smashwords Createspace

If you buy the trade paperback of Moonlight & Love Songs,
you can email the author
and she will send you an ebook in the format of your choice!


 When Le Chat Rouge’s pianist, Benoît Grenier, meets the club’s new singer, his world is turned upside down. He’d given up ever finding someone to love. His hopes and dreams of a life beyond the club are revived, while his heart heals.

Daniel Marceau has come from Marseille, looking to escape bad decisions and worse memories. He never expected to fall in love, and when his past catches up with him it could ruin the only thing he’s ever found worth living for.

Daniel’s fears and his reluctance to ask Benoît for help could cost them everything they’ve worked so hard to create.  [synopsis provided by the author]


Alyssa Linn Palmer

Alyssa Linn Palmer is a Canadian writer and freelance editor. She splits her time between a full-time day job, and her part-time loves, writing and editing. She is a member of the RWA, the Calgary RWA, and RRW (Rainbow Romance Writers). She has a passion for Paris and all things French, which is reflected in her writing. When she’s not writing lesbian romance, she’s creating the dark, morally flawed characters of the LE CHAT ROUGE series and indulging in her addictions to classic pulp fiction.

You can find her online at

on Twitter @alyslinn (

on Facebook:


Today, as part of the Virtual Tour of Alyssa Linn Palmer with her romance Moonlight And Love Songs I’m delighted to interview Alyssa on things French!

reading bug

Hello Alyssa,

1. Your book opens in a Paris club called Le Chat Rouge. Can you tell us a bit about this name?

Alyssa Linn Palmer

I have a red tabby (well, orange mackerel tabby), and I thought it would be a good name for a club.
Short and easily recognizable.

2. Why did you choose to have your book set in Paris?

I love Paris, it’s as simple as that. I’ve been twice, and if I could, I’d move there.
Writing about Paris keeps me from missing it too much.

3. The world of music is central to your book. How did you discover that world? What’s your favorite French song?

I love music, and always have, and about ten years ago, after watching a film with the ‘hep cat’ himself, Hoagy Carmichael, I started getting into swing and jazz.

I went to the famed Paris jazz club ‘Le Bilboquet’ (which, regrettably, has since closed), and when I am traveling, I make a point to seek out other jazz clubs. Sunset/Sunside in Paris, and the Birdland in NYC are favourites.

 It’s hard to pick my favourite French song. There are so many good ones! But if I really had to pick, it’d be ‘Hymne d’Amour’ as sung by Edith Piaf. It’s a classic.

4. I’m not at all familiar with LGBT romance. If it’s not too personal, would you mind explaining why you chose to write in that genre?

Mostly I wanted to expand the subgenres of romance that I wrote. Love is love no matter what the gender of the lovers, so it’s never really been a big deal to me to write LGBT romance.

5. Daniel travels from Marseille to Paris. In his eyes, how does Marseille compare to Paris? What do you personally think of both cities?

For Daniel, Marseille is the city of his past, the place where he hurt. Even though it is a beautiful city (from what I’ve seen, as I’ve never been there myself—yet), its beauty is tarnished by his experiences and memories. It’s home, but yet, not a happy home

6. Any out of the beaten path places you would recommend to a tourist going for the first time to Paris and/or Marseille?

When I was in Paris this last time, I saw a performance by singer Caroline Nin in a tiny theatre (Essaion Theatre, 6 rue Pierre au Lard) in the fourth arrondissement. It was essentially a cellar, and held perhaps 40 people. Utterly charming, and it was down this tiny side street where you could almost touch the walls on both sides if you stretched out your arms. 

Also, the jazz club Sunset/Sunside is excellent. Book a ticket ahead of time. Also, there are a lot of places just a short train ride away from Paris.

One of my favourites from my last trip was Chartres. The cathedral is strikingly beautiful, it is such a lovely town to walk about, and we had an excellent meal at one of the restaurants near the main square.
I suppose my best advice for a tourist to Paris (or anywhere, really) is to take time to seek out smaller places, to leave the touristy areas and have an adventure. A trip should be an experience, and getting outside your comfort zone and being spontaneous can make it the trip of a lifetime



Monday, Oct 7
Guest-post + Giveaway at Roof Beam Reader
 Tuesday, Oct 8
Review + Giveaway at I Am, Indeed
Wednesday, Oct 9
Review + Giveaway at Turning The Pages
  Thursday, Oct 10
Review + Giveaway at Making My Mark
 Friday, Oct 11
Review at Books A To Z
  Saturday, Oct 12
Review + Giveaway at Mommasez…
 Sunday, Oct 13
Interview + Giveaway at My Book Addiction And More!
Monday, Oct 14
Giveaway at Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews
 Tuesday, Oct 15
Review + Giveaway at New Books On My Shelves


Good luck!


* If you have problems entering the giveaway for this ebook, please send me an email before midnight on 10/23 at ehc16e {at] yahoo [dot) com. Include in it:

  1. the title of the book you are entering to win – write this in the subject to be sure I don’t think your email is spam
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  3. the url of your tweet of this giveaway, for an extra entry.

* when you enter a giveaway, I keep your email address only until a winner has been chosen and has confirmed. After that, I delete the form where your answers were stored during the duration of the giveaway. If you win and you email me your mailing address, I delete this email and its information as soon as I have mailed you the book.



Just a reminder guys:

If you link your own post on France,

please if possible

include the title of the book or topic in your link:

name of your blog (name of the book title or topic):

example : me @ myblog (Camus)


(2012) #68 review: Illuminations



A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen



352 pages


Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in October2012

Ebook received Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:



rating system

A few months ago, I read a beautiful historical novel based on the life of the Orthodox Saint Xenia. And here it is, another historical novel published this year on another saint: Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen.

If you are familiar with the Middle Ages, you  have heard of course about this  extraordinary abbess (1098–1179); you may even have listened to some of her musical creations, so popular these days. But her talent was far from being limited to music. She knew many languages and all about remedies with plants, not mentioning of course her writings, based on her visions of God.

This astonishing historical novel manages to draw a very plausible portrait of the Benediction visionary, and the life she lived first as a more than cloistered nun, then as a herald of the Church, denouncing its abuses and scandals.

She is portrayed with her strengths, but also her shadows and weaknesses, which makes for a very genuine text and person.

I was very very impressed by the seriousness of the research put into this novel. The author is definitely someone very familiar with the Midldle Ages, its spirituality, its liturgy, and its history. I appreciated the way she inserted Hildegard’s prayers and poems, by putting first the Latin title, followed by the English translation, making it easy to keep tract of what exact piece she was referring to.

Sharratt had of course to include Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, and she did, with precision. He stands frankly apart from bishops or religious orders who used their power or even the influence and renown of religious women such as Hildegard to make money.

If you are not familiar with medieval saints but are too afraid to launch into a real hagiography, I highly recommend this book. Plus, you may know that Hildegard was just recognized as a Doctor of the Church by the Catholic Church. So it is time for you to see what this woman was all about.



A triumphant portrait of a resilient and courageous woman and the life she might have lived . . .

Skillfully interweaving historical fact with psychological insight and vivid imagination, Sharratt’s redemptive novel, Illuminations, brings to life one of the most extraordinary women of the Middle Ages: Hildegard von Bingen, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath.

Offered to the Church at the age of eight, Hildegard was entombed in a small room where she was expected to live out her days in silent submission as the handmaiden of a renowned but disturbed young nun, Jutta von Sponheim. Instead, Hildegard rejected Jutta’s masochistic piety and found comfort and grace in studying books, growing herbs, and rejoicing in her own secret visions of the divine. When Jutta died some thirty years later, Hildegard broke out of her prison with the heavenly calling to speak and write about her visions and to liberate her sisters and herself from the soul-destroying anchorage. Riveting and utterly unforgettable, Illuminations is a deeply moving portrayal of a woman willing to risk everything for what she believed.

“With elegance and sensitivity, Mary Sharratt rescues Hildegard von Bingen from the obscurity of legend, bringing to life the flesh-and-blood woman in all her conflict, faith, and unwavering tenacity. Illuminations is an astonishing revelation of a visionary leader willing to sacrifice everything to defend her beliefs in a dangerous time of oppression.”
—C. W. Gortner, author of The Confessions of Catherine de Medici [from the publisher]


Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt is an American writer who lives with her Belgian husband in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, the setting for her acclaimed 2010 novel, DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL, which recasts the Pendle Witches of 1612 in their historical context as cunning folk and healers.

Previously she lived for twelve years in Germany. This, along with her interest in sacred music and herbal medicine, inspired her to write her most recent novel, ILLUMINATIONS: A NOVEL OF HILDEGARD VON BINGEN, which explores the dramatic life of the 12th century Benedictine abbess, composer, polymath, and powerfrau.

Winner of the 2005 WILLA Literary Award and a Minnesota Book Award Finalist, Mary has also written the acclaimed novels SUMMIT AVENUE (Coffee House 2000), THE REAL MINERVA (Houghton Mifflin 2004), THE VANISHING POINT (Houghton Mifflin 2006), and co-edited the subversive fiction anthology BITCH LIT (Crocus Books 2006), which celebrates female anti-heroes–strong women who break all the rules. Her short fiction has been published in TWIN CITIES NOIR (Akashic Books 2006).

Mary writes regular articles for Historical Novels Review and Solander on the theme of writing women back into history. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually riding her spirited Welsh mare through the Lancashire countryside.

The author’s website is worth the visit.


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