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.
What readers are saying ...
Just want you to know, I started reading Fragments of French and I feel like I’m watching a Netflix series that I can’t put down. I love it! I am halfway through. Wow! Your descriptions are fabulous—I’m hungry and romantically excited all at once.
Later: Wow! OMG! The ending is fabulous. So powerful and inspiring. I am so impressed with what you have expressed and I am recommending this book to everyone. This is way more than just a travel memoir. Thank you so much.
I wanted to let you know how much I loved and appreciated reading your book Fragments of French. I was blown away by how very well written it was. You are obviously a very competent and talented writer! More importantly though, I was amazed at how it made me feel while reading about what you went through. I was right there with you feeling all that you were feeling and that is a special talent. This was truly the best book I have read this year!
Thank you for sharing your journey so personally, beautifully and powerfully!
Here I am at 2 a.m., not a reader of any kind of book other than textbooks. I cannot put this down—I feel like I am on this journey with you and it is so exhilarating.
Next day: The only problem with this book? I cannot read it before bed anymore because I was up until 3 a.m. I literally could not put it down!
Next day: I’m almost done. School has been keeping me from finishing it, but I also don’t really want to finish it because it’s something I look forward to every night.
-Ashley N. (23 years old)
Fragments of French is a Joseph Campbell version of your true story. It is beyond 'A Year In Provence' and it is different than 'Under The Tuscan Sun'. It is unique and phenomenal. And it spans Portugal, Canada, France, and Mexico. There is no template or comparison out there.
I am absorbed in your book. What an unbelievable romantic experience/adventure you had with this man. Loving the book.
Later: I read it in 2 nights. A page-turner; it’s exceptionally good.
I read your book last evening until 1:30 a.m. I was mesmerized and I cried so hard I woke my husband, so I read him some of the book. He wants to read it after me! Your words took my breath away.
I am loving the book. This reminds me so much of a love affair I had in Italy long ago. He was very charming.
I love the first poem you wrote in Mexico. I love everything about your journey; you evoked memories and brought me back into those wonderful European cities and the Dolce di Vivere. That special beat of Europe. This is the fastest in a long time that I’ve read through a book so quickly.
Wanda, I truly enjoyed your book Fragments of French. I finished reading your book in record time (for me).
I'm not eloquent with words... I was in awe how you were able to put your heartache into words for all to share. I believe it made those who read the book aware that true heartache is devastating and a broken heart takes time to heal.
It gave me perspective ... We can heal from a broken heart.
Keep up the GREAT writing!
I’m only allowing myself small reads at a time of Fragments of French—I just don’t want it to end!
Oh, some books I just hate closing the cover on. I just love your stories! Many phrases I wanted to capture and keep, they were such thought provoking beautiful introspections. And the people you meet! My god. Every character so easily envisioned with your colourful descriptions. I can't say enough. You are my favourite author.