France: Seven Letters from Paris

 

SevenLetters-BlogBadgeTWENTY YEARS, SEVEN LETTERS, AND ONE LONG-LOST LOVE OF A LIFETIME 

Fall in love with Samantha Vérant’s SEVEN LETTERS FROM PARIS

Preface from the book:

Tonight I’m cooking from the heart, choosing self-belief over fear.

Although I’ve always been a culinary adventuress, experimenting with recipes ripped from the pages ofBon Appétit and Gourmet since the age of twelve, Jean-Luc and I usually prepare this particular meal together—him manning the stove, me the eager sous-chef, slicing and dicing the parsley, shallots, and garlic. Now, thanks to his gentle coaching, I’m a little more confident when it comes to the art of preparing flammable French cuisine. And I can’t let a little heat scare me out of my own kitchen.

The time has finally come to conquer my anxiety of flambéing—on my own.

On the first strike, the match hisses to life, trailing a wisp of smoke. I take a step back, reach out my arm, and touch the lit tip into the Pastis with a steady hand. Flames flare up and the aroma of the anise-flavored liqueur permeates the kitchen. The blaze settles into a simmer, and I let out the breath I’ve been holding in. My technique is still not flawless though; to the cat’s delight, one plump shrimp tumbles onto the floor. Bella lifts her haunches and pounces on her prey. I may not have the pan flip down, but I have one very happy, pint-sized panther.

VIDEO BOOK TRAILER

After setting the timer, I twist the knob on the burner to low, which will allow the flavors of the Pastis to infuse the shrimp just a bit more. Jean-Luc has already set the table outside, and I step out into the garden to join him. “Wine?” he asks.

I nod and take my seat within earshot of the kitchen, noting my husband’s handsome profile, his manicured sideburns, and his chiseled jaw with the five o’clock shadow as he uncorks the bottle of Cabernet d’Anjou.

I am just as attracted to him as I’d been when we first met over twenty years ago.

Right as we’re about to clink glasses, the timer in the kitchen buzzes. Before I can move a muscle, Jean-Luc says, “Stay. Stay.” He flies out of his chair and into the house. A few seconds later, he rushes back to the deck and places a glossy black paper bag on my dinner plate. I can make out the name of a jeweler: 18k, Montres et Bijoux.

I point, my mouth dropping open. “But you weren’t supposed to get me anything—”

“I wanted to.” He shrugs and blows air between his lips like only a Frenchman can do without looking silly.

“But the shrimp—”

“Can wait a minute. I turned the burner off.” He motions to the bag. “Ouvre-le.”

He doesn’t need to translate his words into English. With a shake of my head, I reach through layers of hot pink tissue paper to discover a bracelet resting in a satin-lined box. The clasp is delicate, but Jean-Luc manages to hitch it in seconds. The strand twists on my wrist and a small amethyst heart rests on my pulse, its facets glittering in the candlelight. Something about the way the light flickers on the jewel, almost beating, brings on a moment of complete clarity. I look to the starlit sky before meeting Jean-Luc’s gaze, trying to find my breath. I can only whisper, “Thank you.”

Jean-Luc’s hands clasp onto mine. “Sam, you never, ever have to thank me.”

Oh, but I do.

Three years ago, when I left a loveless marriage, filed for bankruptcy, became a dog walker, and moved back in with my parents in Southern California, I thought things couldn’t get any worse. But then, in a moment of longing and memory, I used the Internet to track down Jean-Luc and rekindle an unfinished romance from decades before. Tonight is our second wedding anniversary.

This is the story of how I rebooted my life and restarted my heart.

 Ready to read the whole book?

Click here for SEVEN LETTERS FROM PARIS 

 

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.5 million views. After three months on TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts, she had over 500,000 (1/2 million) views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers”

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