Book Review

Til We Meet Again by Judith Krantz - A Guest Review by RedHeadedGirl

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Title: Til We Meet Again
Author: Judith Krantz
Publication Info: Bantam May 1989
ISBN: 978-0553280142
Genre: Historical: Other

Til We Meet Again Okay, like, I don’t even know how to approach this one.  Also I’m in the middle of bar exam studying, so…. I just don’t have a lot of brain.
I first read this book many years ago- I was dog-sitting for some neighbors, and they had a copy of this in their TV room, and I swiped it.  They never asked, and I never mentioned, but I was fascinated by it. 

FAS.
IN.
ATE.
ED.


It’s not a traditional “boy meets girl, girl disses boy, boy has huge misunderstanding, somewhere in there they get it on, HEA” Romance.  It’s more the story of three women in a family, and starts before World War I in France, wanders through the 1930s in Hollywood, goes back to France and Britain during World War II, and, blunders through the early 50s. 
 

So we start with Eve, who is 16 in 1912ish Dijon, and being raised to be a perfect wife and she’s confined and bored and a fantabulous singer, but instead of wanting to sing the classical arias she’s allowed, she likes singing plebian trash.  She ends up running away from home with a musical hall singer (who seduces her most thoroughly) and when he can’t work due to pneumonia, she becomes a star on the music hall stage.

Her counterpoint is Paul de Lancel, the second son of the Viscount de Lancel., and also a member fo the diplomatic corp in France.  His family makes champagne.  He was married to an only daughter of an ancient and honorable and impoverished family, and she died giving birth to their son while he was off at WWI.  He meets Eve while she’s singing at the front, and then decides basically right then and there to marry her.  She is all over this plan, and gives up her singing career to be a diplomat’s wife.  Because she’s declassee and caused a HUGE ASS scandal by running away to perform in a music hall, his career suffers a whole bunch.

(Even though he’s one of the few French diplomats to survive the war, he still gets shunted off to places like South Africa and India and HEAVEN FORFEND Los Angeles.)
Paul and Eve have two daughters, Delphine and Marie-Frederique (Freddy) who are chalk and cheese.  Delphine is a delicate beauty that is so remarkable that “everyone who remarks on it feels like they are making an original observation” and Freddy is red haired and vibrant and has been convinced from the age of three that she wanted to fly.
Delphine goes through a phase where she wants to be famous (and it’s super lucky for her that this is pre-internet, because this is the kind of kid who finds the wrong kind of famous on YouTube), and after being arrested on an illegal gambling ship, gets shipped off to the France and stumbles her way into becoming a French movie star.
Like you do.

Freddy lies her way into flying lessons, then, when she says that UCLA is not for her (and…. She’s so right) gets kicked out of the house, gets a job doing flying stunts for Hollywood movies, and enters into a passionate relationship with her flying instructor. It ends, and she ends up working in the Air Transport Auxillary with a number of other women pilots in Great Britain for the duration of WWII.

I don’t want to summarize the whole thing because a) I kind of want people to read it and b) THIS SUCKER IS LONG.

So we’ll go with what keep bringing me back to this book- I’m on my second copy, the stolen one being long gone.

First, the story is classic Oldish Skool Crazy Sauce.  Ridiculous story, French nobility, La Resistance, World War I, World War II, movies, flying- there is everything but a kitchen sink in there and it is AWESOME.

Second, Krantz loves history, clearly.  She shows her work in making the world real. I think this was my first exposure to the chaos of WWI, and she weaves in the bits about famous women pilots and racing, the ATA, the French film Industry and the French music hall business- there’s so much texture and detail!  LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT.

Third, in addition to the general history and place detail, THERE IS THE DRESSES.  You guys know I’m a total sucker for pretty dresses, and the discussion of the anatomy of the Diot New Look and the TOTAL COSTUME PORN when Delphine is dressing to go…. well, anywhere… TOTAL TOTAL COSTUME PORN.

This isn’t a traditional romance, which I appreciated that none of the women started off with their one and onlys at the outset.  There was a theme of “Hm, I’ve known you for like, six hours and clearly you are the dude for me!” running through.  Which is weird, but we’ll go with it.

I can see some people being dismayed (or pissed off) that Eve just gave up her pretty great career as a music hall singer to be a diplomat’s wife.  And I’ve been angry about it, and I’ve thought about it, and well, frankly I don’t see any other way it could have worked out.  Paul is a diplomat, which means he’s going to be sent around the world.  Also, the spouse of a diplomat is an important, unpaid position in and of itself. And if Eve found that acceptable, well, who are we to judge?  Neither Freddy or Delphine give up their careers for their dudes, and there is exploration of what that means for both of them, so it’s not a unilateral thing.

Seriously, I love this book.  It’s so crazy. GO READ IT AND TELL ME WHAT OTHER KRANTZ BOOKS I SHOULD READ. 

PLEASE.


This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Sony | Kobo.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    theladyferris says:

    Princess Daisy for the Fabergé Egg Porn.

  2. 2
    Connie333 says:

    Oh I love this book, except that if Freddy was a real person I would probably want to strangle her she’s so full on all the time.

  3. 3
    Sarah W says:

    Dazzle is excellent—it’s essentially about family, but with photography hot sex, and a Cinderella twist with comeuppances for those hateful characters you’ve been loving.

    I recommend the Scruples series (I liked the third book, Lovers, the best), especially if you have a LOT of time on your hands and don’t mind character-age continuity fiddles and questionable sex, and Spring Collection if you like a behind the scenes look at fashion porn plus models, and those daddy-issues that are clearly a Thing with Krantz.

  4. 4
    Kate Hewitt says:

    I read Mistral’s Daughter when I was about 13 and loved it. It sounds very similar to this book—it’s multigenerational and how the women relate to a French painter (Mistral). I can’t remember too much about it now but I read it about four times in my teens.

  5. 5
    Ashlyn Macnamara says:

    When I was going through a bad period at university (due to man problems, IIRC), a friend lent me a copy of Princess Daisy. And I am forever grateful.

  6. 6
    Lynnd says:

    Definitely try Princess Daisy and Mistral’s Daugher.  I recently picked them up again when I cleaned out my mom’s house (where i still had all my Old Skool goodness stored) and they were both still as enjoyable as when I read them way back when. 

  7. 7
    VandyJ says:

    I enjoyed I’ll Take Manhatten.  Lovely crazy sauce relationships and everything a 15 year old can enjoy.  And the sexing cold cure is entertaining to read too.

  8. 8
    TK says:

    You need to read Sally Beauman’s ‘Destiny’ if you loved this one.  ‘Destiny’ was the absolute best of the historically-researched French-aristocrats-American-trailer-trash-World-War-II-drama-and-sexual-WTFery bonkbuster genre, I swear.  Debauched plantation owners!  French lords!  Moroccan rentboys!  Diamonds!  I read that book when I was around thirteen, and my eyeballs just about fell out of my head. 

  9. 9
    India says:

    If you like(d) those, try LACE by Shirley Conran.  It’s another bizarre decades-spanning epic of sex-and-shopping, about four BFFs, one of whom has a child.  Ah, but which BFF??  This is the book that contains the immortal line “Which one of you bitches is my mother?”

  10. 10
    Rowan Speedwell says:

    Oh, God, I LOVED Krantz’s stuff. Haven’t read it in years, but now I wanna go dig out my ancient copies…  For some reason Mistral’s Daughter and Princess Daisy stick out as favorites, but I think I read Scruples like fifteen times. I think what impressed me about them is the theme of female empowerment that runs through all of them. These ARE heroines of their own stories, not just the TSTL ones that made up so much of 80’s fiction.

  11. 11

    I haven’t read any of Krantz’s stuff but seeing how everyone else here seems to love it I’m going to request it from the library now.

  12. 12
    Bnbsrose says:

    “Scruples” for the retail porn and Spider. OMG SPIDER!! And of course, the fabulous Billy dumping her husband’s ashes from a plane and then blowing the pilot scene. We all deal with grief in our own way….

    It came out during my poor college student days and I bought, along with The Stand, as they seemed like good bang for the buck value. Long books it would take a while to read. And then I finished it in a day. They made it into a TV movie which was completely unmemorable except that Barry Bostwick played Spider. Barry’s a fine specimen of manhood today, but ladies of a younger breed you need to goggle Barry of the 80’s.

     

  13. 13
    patsy says:

    OMG, this is one of my favorite books EVER! It was probably the first “adult” book that I read, because I loved the TV movie (starring Courtney Cox as Freddy! and Mia Sara as Delphine! and Bruce Boxleitner as Jock! and HUGH mthrf’n GRANT as Bruno!) and then realized it was a book when I saw it on sale in a hotel gift shop. This book is how I figured out how sex really worked. And it’s so awesome. I miss Ms. Krantz. All her books are worth reading, but this is my favorite.

  14. 14

    (FINALLY MADE DISQUS WORK FOR ME AGAIN THANK GOD)

    I say about five minutes of the movie once, and it’s in the “Saved” portion of my Netflix queue for AGES but I have no idea if it will ever be availible ever and I WANT TO SEEEEE ITTTTTT.

  15. 15

    OK, so WEIRD because *I* discovered this book while dog-sitting for neighbors and finding it on the bookshelf!!! If you weren’t taking the bar, I’d think we were living the same life.

    Recently I tracked it down in ebook format (after an agonizing search to remember the title, which I finally found only because I vaguely remembered that it was made into a TV movie with Courtney Cox starring as Freddy) and read it again, and it was just as deliciously ridiculous as I remember it! :-)

  16. 16
    Sonia says:

    Scrupples and the drool worthy Spider! not to mention the crazyness going on all along the book.
    Princess Daisy was my first adult book and Oh my! never forgot it.

  17. 17
    Todd says:

    I’m old enough to have read these when they first came out. I shocked a friend’s husband when he heard me describing “Scruples” as being one of the few books that made finding the right dress sound better than sex.

    And as for “goggle Barry of the 80’s” … Barry Bostwick made me goggle a few times ….

  18. 18
    Bnbsrose says:

    That’s google Barry Bostwick. And once you have, then you can goggle.

  19. 19
    HollyY says:

    They made it into a mini series in the 80s. It had a major A-list of stars – A-list at the time – many are now B or C list but they were hot back in the day. Check out the listing on IMDB:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt00…

  20. 20
    Vicki says:

    Thanks for reminding me about Krantz – I did love her when I was in college. I think I love Scruples the most, Princess Daisy is maybe second – now I’ll have to go re-read them all. BTW, I second India on Lace – that was a fun romp. And if you like this stuff, Elizabeth Adler’s early stuff such as Fortune is a Lady or The Property of a Lady. History and adventure and, eventually, true love.

  21. 21
    Soloniuk says:

    Ooops, that should be Fortune is a Woman.

  22. 22
    cleo says:

    Wait. I think i read this. Does Delphine have secret orgasms on camera and sleep with her directors? And her true love is a Jewish director? Somehow i thought it was by Danielle Steele.  I loved those crazysauce 80s sagas.

    I’ll Take Manhattan is great too. Completely different feel. Not historical or multi generational but full of the crazysauce.  And it’s the book that intoduced me to grudge fucks and mercy fucks. My young teenaged self had No Idea.

  23. 23

    Scruples, totes Scruples. We ran through them all at boarding school, Scruples and Princess Daisy and Scruples Two and I’ll Take Manhattan. I was very popular because I’d go visit my father in the US on vacation and come back with the latest J.Krantz, which I’d already read on the flight, so it went straight into the sticky mitts of my friends. They were bliss post-exams, when we didn’t really have serious classes and we could lie in the sun reading bonkbusters. Also did Lace, Destiny, Jacqueline Susann, Jackie Collins, Sidney Sheldon and Harold Robbins. Quite the education.

  24. 24
    Todd says:

    I’ll Take Manhattan was made into a … movie? miniseries? … something for TV. I remember it starred Valerie Bertinelli.

  25. 25
    Nadia says:

    Turning my head to my bookshelf and what do I see?  Oh, yes, the hardbacks for “I’ll Take Manhattan” and “‘Till We Meet Again” right next to JAK and above the Noras.  Deliciously over-the-top.  I tried to read “Scruples” as a young teen, but when she blew the pilot, I figured out I wasn’t ready for it yet and put it back on my mom’s shelf.  Went back to it in college and loved, loved, loved it.  But I think “Princess Daisy” is my favorite.  Not sure why I don’t have my own copy of it.  Was just thinking about that book the other night, and how much I loved Robert Urich as Patrick Shannon.  Her books are the most awesome crazysauce, yes, and then to add the miniseries, ooooh…. 

  26. 26
    cayenne says:

    Oh, Princess Daisy & Scruples.  I think the same cast was in every Krantz miniseries, but PD was teh bestest because: Rupert Everett as evil rapist stepbrother.  Seriously.

  27. 27
    Jenniferlohmann says:

    Can I just quote your entire post as my own? I read Mistral’s Daughter because Cosmo recommended it as a summer breach read when I was in high school sometime. And I read it. And I read it. And I read it…

  28. 28
    Ann Kristin says:

    I read that book in middle school, and was traumatized both by the rape scene and my mother’s reaction to the fact that my aunt had given me the book in the first place. It’s certainly is memorable though. :)

  29. 29
    Bookworm Airhead says:

    I re-bought Scruples on holiday last year because I remembered how awesomecrazysauce it was!  Valentine and her lovely frocks!  SPIDER!  Billy when she’s fat in France…with the tiny tartine for breakfast! 

    AND THE POOL BOYS.  ALL THE POOL BOYS.

    *SIGH*

  30. 30
    HollyY says:

    Hugh Grant was delightfully evil as the half-brother/son from a previous marriage in Til we Meet again. He SO deserved what he got.

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