With a planned trip to Paris, this book jumped at me from my book clubs recent magazine, so when I spotted in with a 3for2 sticker in Waterstones, I decided to buy it.
What could be better for a eurostar trip than a story of an English Woman living in Paris after the breakup of her ten-year relationship, leaving her a single mother, as she embarks on an onlin attempt at restarting her love-life.
What I got from this book is the knowledge that the author is intimately acquainted with the city. The streets she describes, the areas she talk of are just as she writes. Yes it did help that I was in Paris at the time, but Catherine Sanderson writes so descriptively, you can put yourself where Sally and her friends are.
The writing style is fluid and well paced. The characters are well rounded and likeable, and the descriptions of the 'dates' Sally finds herself on are humourous. You even find yourself liking Nico, her unfaithful ex.
The story isn't just about her search for new beginnings, but about coming to terms with the end of the last, tying up the loose ends of that, the lives of her friends, and tho less-so, about the people she meets with her job as an English Tutor.
It's really easy to lose yourself in Sally's story, that coupled with Sandersons descriptive scenes, makes this a really good yarn. Enjoyable
Sally Marshall is single for the first time in 10 years as she's just split up with her partner Nico. So in a bid to get herself back on the market, Sally decides to set up a dating profile on popular French dating site rendez-vous. However being a single mum to her four-year-old daughter Lila means Sally feels she limited to the men she may be able to meet. She doesn't have to worry too much though and ends up going on a succession of dates... Can she find true love again?
Having hated Catherine Sanderson's debut - her true life story Petite Anglaise - I always said I was going to give her fiction debut a try. It wasn't as bad as Petite Anglaise but it wasn't really any better to be honest. Since the book is dedicated to her online-date-turned-husband M, I assume French Kissing is part based on Catherine's own experiences of online dating. That for me isn't necessarily a problem but it's hardly a unique plot.
Like I struggled to sympathise with Catherine herself in Petite Anglaise, I also struggled to sympathise with Sally Marshall. No, she didn't deserve to find out about Nico's affair like that, but apart from that I felt no sympathy for her. I also couldn't imagine she would be someone I'd ever have as a friend, either. The complete dis-regard she has for herself when going out on these online dates is shocking. She is a mother to a four-year-old daughter, Lila, yet gets so drunk she ends up having to spend the night with a man she hardly knows. She also (albeit once) takes drugs - which I found shocking. Just because Lila was away at the time doesn't justify the fact Sally took ecstasy - it came across as irresponsible rather than the care-free I thin Catherine was going for there.
There aren't really any other characters in the book that are constant through-out bar maybe Sally's friends Ryan, Anna and Kate but even then Sally is getting all uppity because Ryan and Anna seem to hit it off and she starts to feel left out. Again, quite childish antics from a supposed adult. At times, Sally acted like a petulant teenager when she was supposed to be a grown-up woman and I just found her incredibly annoying. Maybe she doesn't have a hectic social life nor can she stay out just as parties "get exciting" but she has her daughter and she seemed to forget that. It's as if she resents her daughter and it isn't really her daughters fault.
The worst part for me, though, was when Sally agreed to go home with one of her online dates and spent the night. The next morning Sally implies what the man does to her as "like rape except I didn't say no" which really surprised me. I understand that's how Sally saw the whole thing but it comes across in bad taste.
Another thing I struggled to understand was how easily Sally fell for one of her online dates. I thought she obsessed over him something chronic and I just wished that the man in question would just ring her already! I mean it wasn't as if there was anything particularly likeable about the man, nor does he give Sally a hint he felt the same so it all seemed irrelevant. I also thought she treated Matthias shamefully. She was alleged to be head-over-heels with Jeremy but spends the night with Matthias. HUH?
Overall, it really wasn't a great read. I found that it drifted off at the end and I couldn't finish it quick enough. There was nothing at all really likeable about the book. The writing was nothing special and since it was all from Sally's viewpoint I got rather annoyed at times at everything Sally was doing. There was no saving grace especially since the synopsis on the back hints at a possible reconciliation between Nico and Sally but nothing of the sort arose. Although I suppose the saving grace was I finished it so quickly. One last thing... to name a character Catherine when the author's name is Catherine comes across as ridiculously lazy. Never have I seen an author write a book and use their name for a character. I thought French Kissing would be a funny tale of learning to love again after being cheated on. It was nothing like I expected. I think, for me, this is it with any Catherine Sanderson books.