Book Cover Notes:
Aberystwyth University, 1986 and another year of torrential rain. Bad hair days and a rugby-fanatic fiancé are part of her drab existence so who can blame Karen for falling into the arms of a handsome Parisian?
Hastening across The Channel with stars in her eyes, she speeds to the city of light only to discover that her lover is nowhere to be found. Nor what he seemed.
Life takes a turn for the better when her old school-friend Jessica makes a dramatic entrance, encouraging Karen on a downward spiral of adventure – including a brush with the Parisian underworld which places both girls in peril.
Karen’s childhood is a constant anguish reminding her that when things go wrong, not everyone has a home to return to, as the dark shadows of the past merge with her troubled French life.
Where to go, when there’s no going home?
Based on a true story, A Stranger in Paris is the first of a three-part series. This honest memoir recounts with humour and poignancy the search for love and family.
This memoir is such an open and honest account of the transition to independence once university life is over. Karen’s future looked bleak. With no money, no home and no plans she decided to track down her uni sweetheart, who has returned to Paris and told her to ‘move on and forget me’.
Karen bravely embarked on a journey into adulthood that started with a move to Paris. On arrival, she was collected by her new high profile Parisian employer and thrown into an unknown world of domestic chores, strict routines and a very strange family. With no previous experience this was going to be a hands-on, crash course on how to be an English au-pair with often funny consequences.
At times it felt like I was reading the author’s personal diary. Sharing her thoughts, hopes and dreams. Admiring her sheer determination to work hard and survive on her own. Her resilience was astounding, living in a strange country, dealing with the language barrier and daily encounters with Parisians with very different opinions on social etiquette.
I particularly enjoyed how conversations were woven into the story in french and then translated into English. I’m currently learning french so I loved being able to practice my french reading. Karens observations of what it was like to live and work in Paris in the 1980’s was quite eye opening.
A cracking first book, loved it from cover to cover. I found myself staying up late and speed reading as I needed to know what happened next. Really looking forward to book 2 and more ‘can’t put it down’ late nights 🙂
About the Author
Karen graduated from Aberystwyth University with a Degree in English Literature. She then moved to Paris, where she worked for 16 years as an English language teacher for business professionals before settling in rural South West France. With few employment opportunities other than stuffing geese or picking melons, she qualified as a licensed real estate agent.
Karen then attended Lancaster University where she graduated with a Masters in Creative Writing in 2015, after which she set up a series of Creative Writing retreats, “A Chapter Away”, inviting world famous authors, literary agents and publishers to teach aspiring novelists. Inspired by the comments of tutors on the memoir writing course, she began “A Stranger in Paris.”
Passionate about theatre, and script-writing, Karen has also written plays, several short stories and a novel – all of which are lurking in the bottom drawer. “A Stranger in Paris” is her first published work, and is the first novel of the trilogy La Vie Française.
Karen now lives in Gascony with her husband and son, and has a grown-up daughter who works in London. Much of her writing is inspired by the North West of England where she grew up, and France which became her country of adoption.
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