Zoe McIntyre and Lynette Eyb review French Children Don’t Throw Food, Monsieur Linh and His Child, and French Secrets...
French Children Don’t Throw Food
Pamela Druckerman, �15, Doubleday
Have you ever noticed how well-behaved French children are? What is the invisible civilising force that seems to keep the country’s youngsters quiet at meal times? Why do you hardly ever see a tot having a temper tantrum in a French supermarket? How do French mums pull off perfect parenting while remaining effortlessly glamorous? Living in Paris, American mum Pamela Druckerman began to ask herself these very questions, awestruck by the parenting expertise she witnessed around her. In an effort to uncover the true secrets of French childrearing, she carried out research involving eavesdropping and quizzing parents at the school gates. The result is a witty encyclopaedia of childrearing tricks and techniques � la fran�aise. A must-read for any weary parent longing for a good night’s sleep!
Monsieur Linh and His Child
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Philippe Claudel, �12 (hardback), MacLehose Press
Writer and film-maker Philippe Claudel’s novel of colliding cultures was published in French in 2005 and has now been translated into English. The book opens as the elderly Monsieur Linh is fleeing his war-ravaged homeland by refugee ship. When Linh – a villager all his life – arrives in France he is taken to a refugee hostel in the middle of a chaotic city. Among his few possessions is a faded photo of his long-dead wife and his infant granddaughter – the only survivor of a bombing raid on his village. As well as a commentary on the emotional wounds of war and the silent plight of refugees, Linh’s story will strike a chord with anyone who has settled into a new and strange country.
Roisin McAuley, �7.99, Little Brown
After falling for the charming Hugo Lancaster, rare-wine merchant and ch�teau propri�taire, Irish girl Honor Brady is whisked off to start a new life in a small village in Entre-Deux-Mers. As she settles among the vineyards, she discovers that the delectable rare vintages of the region are imbued with a history that has been buried deep under the dust and drama of World War II. Honor sets about sweeping away the cobwebs of deception that have been collecting in these wine cellars for more than 50 years, encountering opposition as well as friendship along the way. McAuley, who has been described as the new Maeve Binchy, has a knack for spinning a juicy tale, creating convincing and original characters.