Fragments of French, an Unexpected
Journey of the Heart
by Wanda St. Hilaire
After a harsh brush with her mortality, shadowed by a premature divorce, Wanda St. Hilaire pledges to be true to her primary passion—living ardently through travel. On the fateful day her life intersects with Jean-François, a charming Frenchman, on a bustling street in Lisbon, every fiber of her being feels as though she has finally entered the doorway to a magical world that she knew existed since she was a young girl.
St. Hilaire turns a complicated romantic ballet full of missteps into a collage of people, places, and cultures. Fragments of French is an exquisitely detailed travelogue of Portugal, Canada, France, and Mexico, filled with minor characters who delight with their humanity. However, what really makes this tale a standout is a gift for pacing and description to rival Tom Wolfe.
The hero’s journey is not only for the characters of our favorite stories or mythical legends. At some point, each of us receives the call to adventure. Fate summons the hero; we can refuse the call, or step into something that will turn our lives upside down, and potentially change everything we know to be true.
From feeling “completely disarmed, no fortress standing”, to embracing her untethered strength, the author turns this account of living life out loud into lessons for us all.
French words from my childhood pop into my head at opportune moments, surprising me. On our family visits, my French grandfather whom, to my seven-year-old eyes, looked like a wizened turtle, walked me to the cheese factory near his home. Hand in hand, we would saunter ever so slowly, and he would mutter foreign words to me. His horrid wife, Step grand-mère—the Wicked Witch of Winnipeg—made the grandchildren speak only French in her presence, and I am oddly grateful to her at this moment.
Jean-François asks if I am concerned about our age difference. To my mind, age is determined by the essence and energy of a person. I have known people who are biologically thirty, yet exude the air of a person many decades older. I know my energy is younger than my thirty-five years, and this is what concerns him, but the eight years between us is as insignificant as dust in the wind.
The castle looms over this ancient section of the city, making the evening more dream-like. The cultural blend and integration of the inhabitants creates an exotic atmosphere. With Brazilian, Latin, and African influences from the former Portuguese colonies, I am moved by the cadence and archaic soul of the music. My body involuntarily sways to each new rhythm, and I close my eyes to breathe in the antiquity of my surroundings.
About the Author:
Wanda St. Hilaire has a predilection and passion for all things Latin, and she believes life is too short not to do what you love, where you love. She spends time writing in Mexico for inspiration and to escape the frozen landscapes of Alberta.
Through writing, St. Hilaire shares what she’s learned from the high peaks of adventure and love, to the dark valleys of illness and heartbreak. Her mission is to help people overcome the self, and tap into their wise inner guidance system. Her wish is to inspire others to live true to their unique and beautiful nature.
Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPp3vMOpFFw
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