My Story as an American Au Pair
in the Loire Valley
(Memoir, narrative non-fiction)
Release date: October 3, 2012
SYNOPSISFrench Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley, is the first of two books based on the author’s diaries.
It’s 1979 and Linda needs to learn a language fast in order to fulfill her dream of becoming a flight attendant. Broke yet determined, she chooses French immersion and contracts to become an au pair for a wealthy family in the Loire Valley. Yielding to poor judgment, she lies on her application and claims to speak basic French, confident she’ll be forgiven once she arrives at the Château de Montclair.
As she struggles to adapt to her challenging new environment with the hard-to-please Madame Dubois and her two incomprehensible children, Linda signs up and attends language classes at the local university. When she encounters Adam, a handsome young student, her life becomes more complicated—much more complicated—adding fuel to her internal battle for independence. Join Linda on her adventure of discovery and romance in an extraordinary part of the world.
ABOUT THE AUTHORLinda Kovic-Skow is a best-selling author in travel in France.
Originally from Seattle, she currently winters in Gilbert, Arizona
and spends summers on a boat in the Pacific Northwest Waters
of Washington and British Columbia.
She earned an Associate Degree in Medical Assisting in 1978
from North Seattle Community College
and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration
from Seattle University in 1985.
She has been married for 30 years and has two daughters.
An enthusiastic traveler, Linda also enjoys hiking, boating, gardening and socializing with friends. French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley, was her debut memoir. The sequel, French Illusions: From Tours to Paris, recounts the rest of her adventure in France.
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“Bonsoir, Mademoiselle Kovic.”
I spun around and saw a tall, statuesque woman, far advanced in her pregnancy, walking toward me. A burst of adrenaline surged through my body. With each step, her dark blue wool coat opened, exposing a large belly. Stopping in front of me, her lips forming a thin smile, she extended her hand in one swift motion.
“Bonsoir, Madame Dubois.” My voice quivered as I clasped her palm against mine. “Good evening” was one phrase I managed to learn, but what to say next? “Parlez-vous anglais?”
Madame Dubois frowned and tilted her head sideways. “Yes, I speak English fluently, but you speak French, correct?”
“The truth is, I speak only a few phrases.” Inhaling deeply, I continued. “I realize this must come as a shock, but I hope you'll let me explain before you make a decision whether or not to let me stay.”
Her eyes hardened and the color drained from her face. Seconds ticked as I swallowed firmly against the bile rising in my throat.
Finally, she spoke. “Clearly, I am stunned by this turn of events, but you are here now. As you can see, I do need an au pair very soon. We will discuss the situation with my husband and decide what to do then.”
She motioned with her hand for me to follow her and moved toward the exit. I felt so relieved by her words, it took me a moment to react and pick up my bags.
With her nose raised higher than necessary, Madame Dubois led us around the few remaining passengers and out the door to her Peugeot.