This Week’s Hot Reads: February 25, 2013

“From a tour of four Eastern megalopolises to a novel that looks inside the world of the French ultra-rich”

by G. Clay Whittaker — The Daily Beast (Feb 25, 2013 1:50 PM EST)

The Suitors 
By Cécile David-Weill

Two sisters seek to hold onto the family summer home by attracting a rich suitor.

If you’re about to lose your French summer home, you should fill it with rich men. That’s how sisters Laure and Marie deal with the threat, upon learning of their parents’ plans to sell a beloved family summer retreat: they hatch a plan to lure and trap a wealthy suitor to purchase the estate and keep it in the family.

The story is broken into four parts, whimsically compiled, with three of them depicting three weekends, complete with menus and guest lists for the elaborate stage plays. Laure, as narrator, is just one of the many family eccentrics who chatter on about current events, literature, cinema, and art at the endangered estate. The comedy of manners is performed by a cast of French high-society characters. “I must have had bedroom eyes, because I proved indecently popular with men at luncheon that day—a development I instinctively took care to conceal from my mother and Marie,” Laure thinks. “Our male guests seemed to grow shy, blush, or make sheep’s eyes at me upon approaching, when they weren’t simply proposing a quickie in the bathroom…” Laure is disarming and witty, and serves as a charming guide who takes us inside the world of the very rich—and the no longer so.

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