True Pleasures: A Memoir of Women in Paris
Meet the dazzling women of Paris; from Colette to Nancy Mitford; Marie Antoinette to Coco Chanel; Napoleon's Josephine to Edith Wharton. Rule-breakers and style-setters, these women were utterly diverse, yet they shared one common passion - Paris, the world's headquarters of femininity.
At a turning point in her life, Lucinda Holdforth journeys to Paris and takes a very personal tour through the lives, loves and losses of its celebrated women. She evokes the incarnations of the city from Louis XIV through the French Revolution, two world wars and the Paris of the new millennium. And, as she walks in their footsteps, Lucinda draws inspiration from the fascinating women who created and nurtured the world's most civilised city. This enjoyable companion will seduce and delight - and inspire every woman in search of her own true pleasures...
'A fascinating study of an enduring city.'
- The Courier-Mail
'True Pleasures is more than biography or memoir. It can be read as a gentle instruction manual on how to look at life from a different view than the usual run-of-the-mill perspectives.'
- Limelight Magazine
"'Demanding, voracious, expert, rewarding'-that assessment by 16-year-old Bertrand de Jouvenal of sex with his 47-year-old stepmother, the writer Colette, could also be Lucinda Holdforth's judgment of her beloved Paris. Through her, we see the city as a gorgeous courtesan, dressed by Dior, perfumed by Chanel, with dialogue by de Beauvoir, admiring herself in the mirror of other women-artists, aristocrats, diplomats-who, like this perceptive and outspoken Australian, have fallen under her spell. If you can't have a French lover, True Pleasures is the next best thing."
- John Baxter, author We'll Always Have Paris: Sex and Love in the City of Light
“In this journey of mid-life self discovery, the external physical and mental landscapes explored are contemporary Paris and the Paris and lives of a series of French female icons from recent centuries. By seeing their world and embracing Paris, Lucinda Holdforth sees herself anew. Paris can do that to one like no other city. It is a city whose business is pleasure. And we're fortunate to go along for the journey in her well-informed, well-written travel memoir”.
- Mireille Giuliano, author French Women Don’t Get Fat
"This is a treasure hunt of a book. Lucinda Holdforth's passionate portraits draw us deep into the lives of these supremely feminine characters, and along the way, reacquaints even the most jaded Parisian with this supremely feminine city. For readers, True Pleasures is a an absorbing literary voyage — for Lucinda, we suspect, it’s also one of self-discovery."
- Charla Carter , Paris Editor, Vogue Australia
“A sparkling literary companion”
- The Sunday Telegraph
'The pleasure of this book is the way Lucinda Holdforth gracefully and intelligently negotiates this well-worn terrain and makes it her own... The story of a quiet revolution written with a light, sure touch.'
- The Age
"[A] quite remarkable piece of travel writing.....It is meticulously researched, and Holdforth's responses, as she visits the famous houses and places and imagines the lives of the women, are passionate and compelling"
- The Sydney Morning Herald
'There is no more perfect book for travellers to Paris than Lucinda Holdforth's wonderfully erudite True Pleasures.'
- Vogue Entertaining & Travel
'If you too dream of being Nancy Mitford, or perhaps Madame de Pompadour or Colette, all of them living in Paris as snug as oysters, this is the book for you.'
-The Canberra Times