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13 November 2015

#BookBeginnings, #Friday56 & A Ramble -- The Châtelet Apprentice by Jean-François Parot

I promise this will be my last French-to-English ramble for a while. I'll have to largely ignore NetGalley (or, at least, Gallic Books), but my brain needs a break and something a little more ... well ... not French. For now, though, I'm set to finish up The Châtelet Apprentice by Jean-François Parot within the next day or two. Perfect timing for Friday 56 and Book Beginnings!

As always, Friday56 (share a blurb from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice & Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences & your thoughts) is at Rose City Reader.

The story opens in early 1761 -- Louis XV was still ruling over France. The country was five years in to the Seven Years War and thirty years away from the beginning of the French Revolution. To say that things were a bit stressful in the country would be an understatement. I might not remember an awful lot about the European history courses I took in college, but I do remember that.

The main character of the series, Nicolas Le Floch, has been sent from Brittany by his godfather to Paris in order to train under the Lieutenant General of Police, Monsieur de Sartine. He was hesitant about all of it, feeling inadequate since he was an orphan found in a cemetery, but his godfather was a Marquis and a friend of the Lieutenant General and sent him with a sealed letter of recommendation. After a brief inspection of the boy, Sartine sends Nicolas off to Commissioner Lardin for training and lodging. For fifteen months Nicolas trained with Lardin while reporting back to Sartine (sometimes about Lardin) and being sent on undercover missions. He was a hard worker and fast learner and grew up quickly. He returns home as his guardian is dying and when he returns to Paris he discovers that Lardin himself has disappeared. Of course, it's put to him to figure it all out.

This has NOT been a fast read, but that may be because the week in general has seemed busier than usual for me. Parot is a diplomat and French historian and the detail and care he puts into telling his tale is splendid. He scatters non-fictional characters into the narrative seamlessly and the fictional characters are so believable I found myself hitting Google more than once to see who was real and who was not. A lot of historical fiction tends to read like my old text books, but Parot has managed to avoid that. I even have the next two in the series already floating around my storage cloud! Now, if only I could find the French tv series with English subtitles I would be all set.


  1. Hope it picks up for you or you week gets a little easier. Maybe the weekend will help. :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental Friday Memes

  2. I like the beginning. And I also hope it picks up for you. Sometimes, I'm not in the right mood and set a book aside for a bit, not wanting to force the read.

    My 56 - http://fuonlyknew.com/2015/11/13/the-friday-56-85-the-captive-condition/

  3. This sounds like a good choice - I do like French to English books myself though I have to admit that there is a huge difference in the writing styles between European writers and American writer - the European are definitely more wordy as a whole. Here's my
    my Friday post

    1. I really have been enjoying it but it's ooooh so wordy! That's not a bad thing, of course, but I have thought several times that it could probably have been half as long and just as good.

  4. I hope it gets better.

    ENJOY your weekend. Thanks for sharing.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Beginnings

  5. After what happened in Paris today, your tribute to French reading is nice.
    Happy weekend!

  6. Great opening and great 56, I will be watching the library for this one. Happy Weekend!