As you can see, my plan to post book reviews every Friday is not going exactly as I hoped. I’m still playing a bit of catch-up this week and dealing with life, but I’m hoping to be back to posting punctually by the end of this week! Today’s review is for the second installment of Jennifer L. Scott’s Madame Chic series, At Home With Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life.
As someone who already enjoyed Jennifer’s content on YouTube, I was interested to read her book series and see what I could learn. Last week, I posted my review for the first book in her series, Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris, which you can read here. It was certainly an enjoyable read, but not without its flaws. The first book cast a wide net and covered topics from diet and exercise, to fashion and makeup, to lifestyle and entertainment. It provided a great overview of Parisian-inspired refined living.
However, as a full-time stay-at-home wife and homemaker myself, I really wanted to go deeper on topics related to homemaking and daily life, so I was eager to read At Home with Madame Chic. This book has much more information regarding the atmosphere of the home, balancing work and family life, daily routines, and cultivating inner peace.
“When she arrived at Madame Chic’s Parisian apartment as a foreign exchange student, Jennifer Scott was a casual California girl who thought sweatpants were appropriate street attire. Madame Chic took Jennifer under her wing and tutored her in the secrets of how the French elevate the little things in life to the art of living.
Years later, Jennifer was back in California with a husband, two young daughters, a dog, and her first home. Every day she confronted mundane duties like folding laundry and unloading the dishwasher, and she began to think about Madame Chic’s home—how the breakfast table was set beautifully the night before, the music that always played in the background, the calm of Madame and Monsieur Chic’s ritual cocktail hour together. Jennifer wanted that life. She decided to see what would happen if she didn’t perform her chores impatiently or mindlessly, if, instead, she could live like Madame Chic.
At Home with Madame Chic reveals the secrets to having a happy, fulfilling, and passionate life at home. Jennifer explains the morning send-off need not be chaotic, it’s possible to look stylish with minimal time and effort, a little forethought makes it possible to serve a home-cooked dinner every night, and details like music and scented candles can set the tone for the whole family’s evening. Organized by the pleasures that can be found throughout the day, this charming, helpful book is full of ideas, playlists, recipes, beauty routines, and advice that can turn an irritating day into an enjoyable experience.”
Quoted from Goodreads
Right off the bat, I could feel how the author had matured between writing her first and second books. I’m relieved to report that there was no air of judgment or superiority that had tainted my reading experience of the first book.
She also took a much different approach to the organization of the content in this book. The first three chapters focus on the French perspective on home life, how to appreciate our current abodes, and how to conquer clutter. The next three chapters were each devoted to different parts of the day: morning, afternoon, and evening. In each chapter, she talked about routines and healthy habits, mealtimes, how to incorporate house chores throughout the day, setting the atmosphere in the home, mindful practices, and gave lots of specific, practical recommendations throughout.
What I Liked
I really loved everything about this book. I thought that Jennifer’s advice was much more thoughtful, gentle, and loving this time around. I felt very comforted and inspired as I read her insights on home life and cultivating inner peace. Everything she talked about felt much more accessible and doable compared to some of the advice she gave in her first book. I finished this book feeling calm and simultaneously motivated to make positive changes in my life.
I really loved how she breaks down the day into three manageable parts and gives advice specific to each time of day. Each part of the day is unique, with its own challenges, demands, and flow of energy, so she tailors her advice accordingly and shares some great tips.
I also loved having access to information and lists that I can reference again and again. As someone who flounders without clear direction, I deeply appreciated her specificity. She gives specific recommendations about what scents to use, recipes to try, teas to drink, music to listen to, cleaning supplies, mindfulness habits to cultivate, and so much more. All the while, she gives her recommendations without sounding too forceful, and always stipulates that it’s most important to do what’s right for you and your family, and not to get too caught up in the details or trying to do things her way.
By the end of the book, I had highlighted 90 useful passages! That’s not even including her music recommendations, because I screenshotted those instead for some reason… In any case, I’m really looking forward to rereading all of the passages I saved and seeing how I can implement what I learned into my daily life.
What I Didn’t
There’s not much that I can say negatively about this book.
One thing I did notice was that there seemed to be much less emphasis on Jennifer’s experiences in France. While it’s not necessarily a bad thing, it was one of the points that I enjoyed about her first book; all of her whimsical anecdotes really helped transport me and feel like I was enjoying my own European adventure. She does of course refer back to Madame Chic throughout this installment, but the references were more fleeting and less important to her overall message. I won’t fault the author for it since I enjoyed this book so much for many other reasons, but I did miss a bit of that Parisian flair.
Another thing I will mention (though this is not the author’s fault!) is that for some reason, this book had a rather severe glitch in the Kindle app. If I scrolled to the very first or last location of the book, the image would flash and then the app would go black, and I couldn’t scroll to another part of the book. Very unusual and a bit annoying. Again, not the author’s fault, but I really don’t have any other negatives to report, so I thought I’d mention it.
My Star Rating
If you’d like to transform your home and start enjoying the small pleasures of daily life, then I highly recommend this book. Jennifer L. Scott has two other books, and after this reading experience, I am definitely interested in reading those as well. You can find At Home With Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life here.
My next book review will be for Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy. Hopefully, it will be going up ON TIME this Friday, so stay tuned.
Thanks for reading!