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.
After his shower, Jean-François invites me to join him at a nearby café he visits each morning before work. He looks squeaky clean and refreshed. We pass a tiny desk in the dim hallway, and a smiling, motherly landlady pops out from a doorway, insistent on meeting me. Although this short conversation is in French and Portuguese, it is clear that she is pleased for Jean-François to have found a woman, and I can see that she has adopted him as one of her own.
The noisy pâtisserie has standing-room-only at the bar, typical for a busy European weekday. Jean-François orders a double espresso and two pains au chocolat, and I my daily cappuccino. The baker pulls a fragrant tray of freshly baked pastries from an oven directly in front of us. As I bite into my croissant, the chocolate still hot and velvety and running down my fingers, I cannot know that this is a moment I will never forget, and one I will seek to relive, to re-taste.
He draws me a map of the way back to Rossio on a small blue napkin, and I leave him only after he boards the bus. Passing businessmen in tailored suits and starched white shirts, I observe the workaday life of the Lisboans from my wistful world, a million miles away from my everyday life—energized by the tender night, twitterpated by the possibility of love, and high on travel. On the way, I plan for a daytrip to Sintra by train today.
Amazon link (print)
Amazon link (e-book)
Companion poetry book, Of Love, Life, and Journeys
(Inspired during the story of my travel memoir, this collection of poems and verse was first published in 2004 and became a Canadian bestseller for poetry.
This second edition was created as a companion book to Fragments of French.)
About the Author:
Her prime passion is the thrill of travel—of experiencing other cultures, traditions, lifestyles, and languages—thus expanding her perspective.
Wanda St. Hilaire has a predilection and passion for all things Latin, and she believes life is too short not to do what you love, where you love. She spends time writing in Mexico for inspiration and to escape the frozen landscapes of Alberta.
Through writing, St. Hilaire shares what she’s learned from the high peaks of adventure and love, to the dark valleys of illness and heartbreak. Her mission is to help people overcome the self, and tap into their wise inner guidance system. Her wish is to inspire others to live true to their unique and beautiful nature.
Amazon author page
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.
Wanda St. Hilaire will be awarding a ribboned beret & Paris coin bag with an E-book of Fragments of French to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. (International offer)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The tour dates can be found here