An afternoon/evening with an author and a historical perspective........NEW!

A "Final Transgression" Paris event with Harriet and Philippe Rochefort!

A long-time resident of France, Harriet Welty Rochefort is the author of three light-hearted but informative nonfiction books about France and the French. Her first novel, Final Trangression, which is set in Paris and southwest France during the German Occupation, will be published in June 2020.

" I am delighted to announce the publication of my first novel, Final Transgression : One Woman’s Tragic Destiny in War-torn France.  It’s been a long haul:  the idea for the story came to me back in 2007 and I have been working on shaping it into a novel ever since. During that period I also worked on and published my third nonfictionbook, Joie de Vivre, but the book that would become Final Transgression was constantly on my mind.

I researched it both through reading books about WW2 in France and traveling to the southwest of France where much of the action takes place. The Dordogne is now and was then an enchanted region with castles and foie gras and prehistoric caves. A lesser known fact is that In WW2 it was rife with résistants fighting the Nazis and the members of the Milice, the paramilitary force of the collaborationist Vichy regime– as well as rival Resistance groups. My heroine has been warned not to return from Paris to this area where she grew up and was the protegée of the local countess but she ignores the advice.  To find out what happens once she is in this hotbed of violence, read the book which has been called “a page turner.”   The description of the story is below. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it."

The novel

Two sisters, two different destinies. In Final Transgression, 85-year-old Caroline Aubry tells the tale of the tragic wartime destiny of her beloved younger sister, Séverine. From their humble beginnings in a hamlet in the southwest of France to a château where Séverine becomes the protegée of the beautiful countess who employs their parents, their trajectories differ. After they move to Paris, the pragmatic Caroline becomes a successful designer and the high-spirited Severine marries a rich jeweler. When WW2 breaks out and her collaborationist husband betrays her, the headstrong Séverine flees to the chateau and the countess  - in spite of warnings about the risk of traveling to an area that is a fierce battleground for rival groups of résistants, Nazis and collaborators. Severine is beautiful, intelligent but obstinate – and it is this obstinacy that will ultimately seal her fate. The end of the war in France was a time for settling scores. Séverine, an ordinary woman living in extraordinary times, unwittingly hands the hangman’s noose to her enemies in one egregious act—her final transgression. 

Click for more about Final Transgression.

Join Harriet and her husband, Philippe Rochefort, for a unique event that combines a discussion with an American author about her novel and a presentation by a French historian of the terrible period in which it takes place.

Write for more details!

The Afternoon/Evening with an Author includes :

  • A welcome drink

  • A 15-minute introduction (in English) by a French historian

  • A 15-minute presentation of the novel Final Transgression by the author

  • A break with drinks and snacks

  • An open discussion about the book and the period it takes place in.

Total time : 2 1/2 hours
Minimum 5, maximum 10

Participation for drinks/snacks : 10 €


Copies of the book will be available sur place or can be found on Amazon in paperback or ebook .

For more details, please contact us.







The setting of the novel : WW2 in France

France was occupied by the Germans from mid-June 1940 to Fall 1944 (i.e. more than 52 months). To understand this terrible period, you need to get certain clues and have answers to the following questions :

  • Why such a humiliating defeat for an army which was supposed to be the strongest in Europe?

  • Why did the French accept and support an ugly collaborationist regime like Marshal Pétain's?

  • Why did the French tolerate the persecutions against the Jews?

  • What was the life of the average French person like during the German occupation?

  • What was the American policy toward France ?

  • What was the role and the strategy of : the Vichy régime? General de Gaulle? The French Communist Party? Franklin D. Roosevelt?

This is what the historical introduction will try to cover.






Click for more about this period of the history of France.

About your Franco-American hosts

Harriet Welty Rochefort, is a former journalist and professor of journalism. In addition to this novel, she is the author of three books about France and the French (see her site). .

Harriet at the Alliance Française (Chicago)

Philippe Rochefort, an international bank executive who earned his Ph.D in History from the Sorbonne after his retirement (see his resume).

Philippe at Mississipi Southern State University
To related pages : intercultural differences, French history, German occupationFrench attitudes

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Harriet Welty Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French. Order her books :

  • "Final Transgression". One Woman's Tragic Destiny in War-torn France, Understand France, Paris, 2020
  • "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

More on Harriet's books (excerpts, upcoming events, testimonials, etc..)

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