Turn on the twinkling lights, make yourself a hot drink and let the holiday spirit of A Very French Christmas warm your soul.

I have been incredibly busy these last few weeks with tight deadlines, press events, content planning for The French Life and getting ready for the holiday season. My living room (which also happens to serve as my office) was starting to disappear under piles of books I had brought down from the attic for research, brochures I had yet to read and the mess that happens when you’ve been too wrapped up in your work to even notice. My house desperately needed a cleaning… and I desperately needed a break. So after tackling the house, I treated myself to a few blissful hours with a good book in front of the fireplace and my dog on my lap. A Very French Christmas was exactly what I needed.

Don’t let the title fool you, though. This beautiful book will not only appeal to those who have an interest in France and French culture, but also to anyone looking for a truly heartwarming read during the holiday season. Featuring fourteen short stories written by 19th-century French literary masters such as Guy de Maupassant, Alphonse Daudet and François Coppée, as well as contemporary writers including Jean-Philippe Blondel and Dominique Fabre, A Very French Christmas will delight you with tales of love, generosity, friendship and faith. Though I enjoyed them all, three stories especially moved me: The Gift (Blondel) about an elderly man who is unexpectedly reunited with a lost love; The Wooden Shoes of Little Wolff (Coppée) about a little pauper boy who is divinely rewarded for his faith and charity; and The Juggler of Notre Dame (Anatole France) — my absolute favorite — about a juggler who became a monk and was visited by the Holy Virgin. After putting down the book, I felt restored. These brilliantly written tales truly are the essence of Christmas.

Note: For those in or close to New York City, this coming December 2nd at 5p.m., Albertine will host a discussion about A Very French Christmas and read from the book along with translator Sandra Smith and critic, translator and moderator Liesl Schillinger.  


New Vessel Press, 2017