Jacqueline in Paris
In August 1949, Jacqueline Bouvier boarded a ship to spend her junior year in Paris. It was a year that she would call “the high point of my life, my happiest and most carefree year.” It was a year that would transform her, cement her passion for French language and culture, and offer her inspiration and intellectual refuge for the rest of her life.
But the story begins even earlier, with a childhood yearning for France ignited by her paternal grandfather’s imagined family link to French aristocracy. And it starts even earlier than that, with the complicated relationship of a pretty little girl and her critical mother, a mother who demands a good match for her daughter — and expects little else from her. And it starts even earlier than that — with a society that tells girls to hide their intelligence and defer to boys so they may become pretty and proper wives and mothers. Jacqueline’s year in battered, post-war Paris would challenge all these notions. “I learned not to be ashamed of a real hunger for knowledge, something I had always tried to hide,” she later wrote about that academic year.
Based on Ann’s New York Times feature: the novel will be a classic bildungsroman with Jacqueline’s year in Paris as the catalyst that provokes her psychological growth from girlhood to adulthood. It is a love story — and of course there will be a romantic interest — but Jacqueline’s true love is Paris. Moody, misty, cold, and beautiful Paris — the Paris that is both an escape from familial and social constraints, but also a challenge that helps define her.
Claire Nozieres manages the translation rights for Jacqueline in Paris