Summer Reading List: French Trysts


Paris Hangover was Kirsten Lobe’s sensational first novel. So how does her second novel, French Trysts: Secrets of a Courtesan, stack up to the fabulously witty debut?

The novel tells the story of Alex Ward, a student-turned-high-class-whore operating amongst the top corporate and political figures in Paris. Rife with tales of orgies, black AMEX cards, and pink diamonds, the storyline is shockingly devoid of morality as our heroine makes her way from bed to bed, while still managing to feel intelligent and guilt-free throughout all of her promiscuity. Even PetiteBrigitte was stunned by some of the dialogue, which included graphic sex tips and mesmerizing justifications for living the life of a ‘courtesan.’ Lobe was correct in stating that this novel makes Paris Hangover “read like the Bible.”

It took me all week to figure out why I didn’t enjoy this novel as much as her first. Sure, the plot was mildly disturbing, as well as predictable. But there was something else. Finally it dawned on me: Kirsten Lobe is a powerhouse of wit and intellectual banter. Paris Hangover kept me laughing the whole way through. Her fatal mistake was throwing SO MUCH of it into one book. C’etait trop trop trop. The novel jumps from witty remark to witty remark faster than you can say “bouquet intime” (yes, that’s her name for you-know-what). This renders the remarks less witty, less plausible, and dare I say, boring? On top of this, the heroine constantly addresses her readers, which distracts from the unfolding scene and makes the plot even harder to follow, not to mention exhausting. (Her use of exclamation points and parentheses are so rampant that the heroine literally apologizes for it!!)

French Trysts is a glaring case of E.U.I., otherwise known as Editing Under the Influence. Where the editor of this book was (in bed perhaps?) is the enduring question. My best guess is that Lobe’s stunning looks, the gorgeous blond hair, the new maternal glow, so mesmerized the editor that he/she could not bear to cut even the most superfluous of text.

PetiteB still loves KLobe, and sends her best with these parting words: Keep it up, third time’s the charm!

French Trysts is available at W.H. Smith, 15 euros.

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4 thoughts on “Summer Reading List: French Trysts

  1. senorita d says:

    Petite B, so glad you’re back!! i’ve missed your posts — they’re more nourishing than a glass of bordeaux w/ camembert. Keep it up!

  2. nice review!

    I think what you’re finding conflicting about the book is right there on the cover. From the middle up it seems kind of legit, a bit romantic but the matte b/w photography paired with the font gives it an air of legitimacy. Then from the middle down you have the foufy chicklit scrawl replete with curlicues. It sounds like this schizophrenia is reflected in the book– it sounds like it wants to be unflinching, incisive and witty but her publisher wanted it to still be marketable as chick lit. Which explains why you were so surprised by how disturbing it was– you weren’t expecting it from this kind of writer.

    I think, anyway. What do you think?

  3. petitebrigitte says:

    In agreement with you! The word from KLobe is that she didn’t have control over the cover or the title. How much control she had on the rest is also in question!

    Unfortunate, but c’est la vie I suppose… it is a shame editors are forcing ‘chick lit,’ when I felt her first book was a step up from that genre.

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