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October 3, 2013

Jazz chanteuse pens first novel, 'The Frenchman'

Jazz chanteuse pens first novel, 'The Frenchman'

Barbara Boudreau is known for her musical performances with her husband Al Boudreau and an assortment of top jazz musicians. But now she is revealing another side to her artistic spirit with the launch of her debut book.

The release of the novel “The Frenchman” will take place during a musical literary evening at the Rocky Neck Cultural Center at 6 Wonson St. in Gloucester on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 5 p.m. The event will feature a cocktail party, jazz music by the Boudreaus and a reading from the novel.

One of Boudreau’s favorite actors — Jean Reno, a French actor of Spanish ancestry — inspired the title and one of the characters. The book involves robbery, escape, a pursuit and romance. “The Frenchman” is Jean LaChance, who is running from his criminal past and finds more than he expected in the California desert when he runs into Lilly Parsons and her three children.

The book begins with LaChance, a renowned French thief who escaped from France after a badly botched job, going to Los Angeles to meet his partner in crime. Instead, at a remote rendezvous, he meets the guy’s girlfriend.

“Over four days they forge a sense of belonging for the first time in their lives — loneliness and despair begin to melt away,” according to the jacket cover. “But this bond of trust is seemingly broken when Lilly flees with the children, unaware that the (stolen) money is in the trunk of her car. Now LaChance is in determined pursuit of the woman and children he has grown to love, but he is unconvinced of their motive for leaving, taking the money and sending the cops. What will he do when he finds them?”

Boudreau said she has worked for the past four years on this novel.

“It’s an exciting time in life. Releasing a novel is like growing up all over again,” she said. “The writing was fun, self-reflective work involving many forks in the road. Fortunately, it was not a solo journey. There were so many people that helped along the way, much like a long road trip with flat tires, good and bad weather and varying road surfaces, but now, it’s done.”

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