By Catherine Sanderson
(Spiegel & Grau, Hardcover, 9780385522809, 304pp.)
Publication Date: June 17, 2008
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A young Englishwoman in Paris, juggling a dying romance and the demands of motherhood, discovers escape, excitement, and—possibly—true love when she reinvents herself with a click of the mouse as … Petite Anglaise.
She has a job in Paris, the city of her dreams, a handsome Frenchman, a beautiful bilingual toddler, and a charming apartment with breathtaking views. So why does Catherine Sanderson feel that her life is coming apart? Stuck in a relationship quickly losing its heat, overwhelmed by the burdens of motherhood, and restless in a dead-end administrative job, Catherine reads an article about starting an online diary and on a slow day at work—voilà—Petite Anglaise is born. But what begins as a lighthearted diversion, a place to muse on the fish-out-of-water challenges of ex-pat life, soon gives way to a raw forum where Catherine shares intimate details about her relationship, discontents, and most impulsive desires—a daily soap opera starring herself, her lover (Mr. Frog), and their daughter (Tadpole).
When a faithful reader (who happens to be an attractive, charismatic Englishman) tries to get close to the girl behind the blog, the lines between Catherine’s real and virtual personas blur, tempting her to leave Mr. Frog and the life she has worked so hard to construct, in pursuit of l’amour fou. Propelled by her intoxicating alter ego and cheered on by thousands of readers, Catherine’s life spirals to exhilarating highs and dizzying lows as her life and her creation collide head-on and she must somehow make peace with both.
Fizzing with the vitality and allure of Paris itself, Petite Anglaise offers a fresh twist on the classic story of reinvention abroad: how a young woman transforms herself, wielding the power of a mouse.
Catherine Sanderson writes the blog Petite Anglaise, which boasts over 100,000 visitors per month. She lives with her daughter in Paris.
Praise for Petite Anglaise
"[Sanderson's] prose is infectious, and even when things are dire for her character, they're a delight for the reader."
“A digital-age fairytale in Paris. Petite Anglaise is light, frank and tremendous fun… Like all good writers, her work simply enables us to appreciate the diversity, possibilities, trials, and beauty of life.”
"Written with the same panache as her popular blog...Petite Anglaise offers a fresh twist on the classic story of reinvention abroad."
“Magnificent … Sanderson has a novelist’s gift for capturing certain eternal situations.”
“A wonderful read.”
"Readers will be taken by Sanderson's poignant, honest portrait of everyday life [in Paris]...Reading such intimate details can seem voyeuristic but they also make the book hard to put down."
"Her seamless, dramatically paced narrative reads beautifully, and her ear for dialogue is excellent. Evocative descriptions of Paris are an added plus."
“A winner…Written with breathtaking candor … it’s the story of a love affair—not so much with Mr. Frog, their adorable blonde daughter Tadpole, or even her elusive lover James, but with Paris itself … Like Peter Mayle, she brings France to life on the page.”
“Petite Anglaise describes daily life in Paris to a T, interspersing bittersweet domestic scenes with an amusing picture of French manners.”
—Conde Nast Traveler