Josephine Cortes is a married mother of 2, teacher of 12th century French history who is working on her doctoral research. Her husband Antoine, has been out of work for awhile, but is still looking for the right position. With his extra time he has been having an affair with Mylene. Hortense, their oldest daughter is a typical teenager: very concerned with appearances and very self absorbed. Zoe, their younger daughter just wants to grow up. Josephine has been letting herself go while she tries to hold her family together. This is all in vain as Antoine walks out and moves to Africa with Mylene.
Iris Dupin is Josephine's sister. Whereas Josephine is middle-of-the-road, Iris is very cultured and refined, not to mention very rich. She is also extremely judgmental and self absorbed. Philippe is her always working husband. Alexander is their son and is friends with Zoe. Iris is bored. Seriously bored. At a business dinner with her husband she tells someone she is writing a book set in 12th century France. She throws out random facts she has heard from her sister, the real historical scholar. The man, who is actually a publisher is intrigued. He begins to tell people about the book and now Iris is stuck. She has to write the book. But she needs help.
Iris pesters Josephine until she agrees to ghostwrite the book. Iris agrees to give the money from the book to Josephine and since Josephine is stretched for cash she agrees. The money is welcomed even more once Josephine realizes that her husband, who is in Africa raising crocodiles has taken out a loan she is now responsible for. Josephine begins to realize she is better than she thinks.
I didn't think I would like this book but I loved it. The characters are smart and funny. The story line is good. Every life has ups and downs and this story portrays both. It is a story about family and redemption and being true to yourself. Katherine Pancol is one of France's best known authors. This book shows why.
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