All Good Things From Paris to Tahiti: Life and Longing
About the Book
Sarah Turnbull was about to depart on the adventure of a lifetime. Again.
A decade prior, Australian native Sarah Turnbull had found a new life (and love) in Paris, a story chronicled in her bestselling memoir ALMOST FRENCH. So when her husband, Frédéric, is offered a position in tropical Tahiti, she is initially hesitant to leave her new Parisian life. But as the idea of life on a tropical island begins to fill her thoughts, she finds herself longing for her next big adventure.
When Sarah arrives on her new island home, she is a bit overwhelmed: “I was excited, definitely. But also awed and intimidated” (34). Her island life slowly begins to take shape, filled with swims in a teeming lagoon, visits with her new neighbors, trips out to explore the island and dives to explore the surrounding life-filled waters, and work on the novel she brought with her from France. Despite ‘visits’ from petty burglars and a car crash and a confrontation that leaves her “unsettled,” (104), Sarah settles in.
However, the lush island does not help Sarah produce a novel --- her stalled progress on which begins to mirror her troubles conceiving a child. In Paris, Sarah and Frédéric had tried IVF six times “all the way to the end,” and “countless” times the process was started and then stopped when Sarah’s body didn’t respond to the hormones (108). Sarah had hoped that fertile Tahiti would help her ability to create: “Book and baby: I’d never dared speak them so boldly but my aims for the next two years were clear in my mind before we moved” (54).
It is Sarah’s usually-reserved French therapist who is the catalyst for Sarah and Frédéric attempting IVF one last time: “It’s not a crime to hope, you know” (165). Inspired, Sarah and Frédéric travel to Australia to give IVF one last try. Even though the procedure seems unlikely to work, Sarah finally hears the words she had been waiting six years to hear: “You’re pregnant” (202).
Sarah and Frédéric return to Tahiti for the duration of Sarah’s “grossesse précieuse” and to welcome their son. Not everything goes smoothly --- Sarah’s early labor forces an emergency Caesarean section, Sarah’s mother comes to help care for her newborn son but falls ill, and an accident leaves baby Oliver and Sarah with painful memories of Tahiti. When Frédéric’s career changes have the family on the move again (296), Sarah realizes paradise may be exactly where she is.
Engrossing, candid and ultimately hopeful, ALL GOOD THINGS is the story of diving in to life --- and finding your own personal paradise.