The Bookshelf

An American reinvents her life in France

The Norman Conquest Tired of expats extolling the glories of living the simple life in France? Well, Susan Herrmann Loomis' On Rue Tatin (Broadway Books) takes the most world-weary reader down a new road. Transplanted to the Normandy town of Louviers, Loomis uses her considerable talents as a cook to discover the secrets of making friends—no small feat in this village filled with reticent neighbors. Through sheer determination, joie de vivre, and such recipes as Les Pains de Rapprochement, "the rolls that brought us together," Loomis wins a place at the French table. She and her husband raise a family, renovate their home—a medieval convent and a behemoth task!—and finally, start a cooking school (dubbed On Rue Tatin). Loomis' story gives the reader a true taste of what it's like for an American to reinvent her life in France.