Catherine Bateson, Lisette’s Paris Notebook, Allen & Unwin, Jan 2017, 286pp., $16.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781760293635
Paris, summer, gap year – the holy trinity of teenage bliss has just landed in eighteen year old Lisette’s lap. While she considers her tertiary education options, Lise’s seamstress mother sends her daughter to France to realise the dream trip she never had the chance to take herself. The holiday comes with a couple of caveats: Lise must take French lessons and make the pilgrimage on behalf of her mother to the House of Chanel. Under the close watch of her mum’s clairvoyant Madame Christophe, and with le petit chien Napoléon as her Parisian accessory, Lise discovers the secrets of French chic, and naturally, falls head over heels in love.
Award winning author Catherine Bateson (Rain May and Captain Daniel, and Being Bee) captures the adventure and romance of the City of Love as vintage-mad Lise discovers her calling after a few bumpy starts. Dull French lessons are brightened up thanks to newfound besties Mackenzie and Goldie, and a chance encounter with a dreamy antiques dealer gives Lise plenty to moon over as she wanders the streets of Paris. Lisette is a likeable protagonist with just the right mix of angst and sass as she struggles with unexpected and potentially life-changing decisions – should she stick to her original plan or follow her heart?
Lisette’s Paris Notebook is a fun and very readable coming-of-age story for teenagers with an interest in fashion, travel and life after high school. Reading age: 13-17 years
Reviewed by Jane O’Connell