French By Heart: An American Family’s Adventures in La Belle France

Can a family of five from deep in the heart of Dixie find happiness smack dab in the middle of France?

French By Heart is the story of an all-American family pulling up stakes and finding a new home in Clermont-Ferrand, a city four hours south of Paris known more for its smoke-spitting factories and car dealerships than for its location in the Auvergne, the lush heartland of France dotted with crumbling castles and sunflower fields. The Ramseys are not jet-setters; they’re a regular family with big-hearted and rambunctious kids. Quickly their lives go from covered-dish suppers to smoky dinner parties with heated polemics, from being surrounded by Southern hospitality to receiving funny looks if the children play in the yard without shoes.

A charming tale with world-class characters, French By Heart reads like letters from your funniest friend. More than just a slice of life in France, it’s a heartwarming account of a family coming of age and learning what “home sweet home” really means.

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From Publishers Weekly

“First-time author Ramsey adopts a sweet but never cloying tone to tell the charming story of her family’s four-year stint in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Ramsey, a young mother of three whose husband’s company relocates them to France, recounts what it feels like to sell the family home in South Carolina, say good-bye to everyone you know and move overseas. Rather than tell the story chronologically, Ramsey links the narrative to everyday events recalling the pitfalls and petite triumphs inherent in each encounter. Moreover, because the family’s command of French is minimal, routine tasks often become embarrassing lessons. Ultimately, Ramsey and her family embrace their adopted country’s language and customs. Entering a bookstore, she finds herself surrounded by graceful young women in high heels, short skirts and stylish leather blazers, while she is “standing there in my big red field jacket and clunky black clogs… like a frumpy giant.” Ramsey acknowledges telling “the whole truth, even when it makes me look ridiculous”—and this results in an endearing memoir. (Apr.)”

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