Elizabeth Bard. I can’t decide if she’s my idol or maybe my lucky talisman.
Years and years ago, before Paris ever happened, but after I had started a book proposal (then a guide to New York’s best sweets), I heard about Elizabeth’s book, Lunch in Paris. Then I met this guy at a New York house party, who would go on to be one of my best friends in Paris, who just so happened to be subletting his Canal Saint-Martin apartment from this American journalist/author… Elizabeth Bard. I took that to be my first omen.
Within a year, I was living in Paris, Lunch in Paris long since devoured and revered. My book proposal had evolved to include Paris and eventually I got to meet Elizabeth at one of her readings. As smart and stylish as expected, I was surprised to hear she was leaving Paris to head south to Provence.
In the years since, I’ve modestly kept up with Elizabeth’s life via Facebook and her blog. I (no doubt like all her other fans) wondered if and when the follow-up book would come. And then this past fall, I heard from Elizabeth: would I be interested in reading an advance copy of her sequel, Picnic in Provence?
It was perfect: on maternity leave, bonding with my little Sweet in PJs on the couch, while reading Elizabeth’s travails and triumphs in parenthood. For she had not only given birth to an adorable boy, but she and her husband, Gwendal, started a new business: an ice cream shop! In Provence! Yes, this is her life.
It’s a very thoughtful and thought-provoking account of parenthood. Many of us have certain visions of what it will be like to have a baby. The reality can be quite different, and Elizabeth unflinching, beautifully captures the struggles. She is tender and tough. She is real and honest. And she is so endearing throughout it all.
Beyond parenthood, Picnic in Provence is a fantastic journey through the south of France, an inspiration about following your heart and, of course, a delicious book about love, family and acclimation, complete with killer recipes. Anyone who read Lunch in Paris will love the change of scenery, the deeper story line and the new chapter of Elizabeth’s sweet life.