The book I’m sharing for this week’s French Fridays is one you might want to add to your Spring Break reading list or, if you’re planning that far ahead, perhaps your summer list. I read Karen Burns‘ The Paris Effect in one sitting this past March Break – it’s one of those “I’ll just read one more chapter” books that you suddenly discover you’ve finished before you know it. It’s also one of those books you find yourself wondering “But what happens now?” at the end. Fortunately for you, Paris Ever After, the follow-up book, will be released on May 1st so you won’t have to wait long to find out.
Friendship, loss… and a tantalizing trip to Paris in this highly praised debut novel!
Amy and Kat had a plan: A secret trip to Paris. Even Amy’s husband wouldn’t know about it. But when Amy loses Kat, the “friend of her heart,” to cancer, she knows the plan, too, has disappeared forever. Or has it?
Guided by memories of her friend and dissatisfaction with her own calorie-counting life in Phoenix, Amy sneaks off to Paris while her husband is away on a business trip. Once there, she’s robbed, stalked, arrested and kidnapped (almost). Worse, she finds that her numerous issues have come right along with her.
Through her adventures, laced with luscious descriptions of food and Paris, Amy learns that often in life, love and friendship, nothing is exactly as it seems. Grab a croissant and settle in for a decidedly non-touristy trip to the City of Light.
Though a lot of the start of the book does not take place in Paris (there’s a lot of backstory which sets the scene for the 10 days in Paris as well as the sequel book), this is certainly a book for anyone who has Paris on their bucket list (let’s face it, that’s most of us, isn’t it?).
From the cover and the title, you might assume it’s just another chick lit novel but this one is different. It’s wonderfully written, really engaging and you’ll find yourself more and more invested in the main character, Amy, as the book goes on. To be honest, I didn’t find her that likeable at the start of the book but she is real and relatable and she definitely grows on you. As she battles the demons (food issues, marriage issues and general self-esteem issues) which come to Paris with her and don’t stay home in Phoenix as I think she’d prefer, you’ll find yourself cheering for her as she overcomes adversity and comes to term with who she really is.
And, of course, if you love Paris, you’ll have the pleasure of discovering it through the eyes of a first-time visitor – watching as all her expectations about what Paris will be like are either fulfilled or crushed; watching as she is frustrated, overwhelmed, disappointed and overcome all at the same time (Paris can do that to you!). You’ll wander the streets of Paris (perhaps familiar to you, perhaps just dreamed of), enjoy French food through Amy’s eyes and tastebuds (at first, cautiously, given her calorie-counting obsession, then with abandon) and experience Paris monuments through her eyes. When she first arrived in Paris, she’s a bit of a mess and you’ll be shaking your fist and thinking “Get it together, don’t waste this trip!” (Spoiler alert: she does eventually although not without a few unexpected plot twists along the way).
The book works as a standalone (although you’ll want to know “what happens next?”) as does its sequel, Paris Ever After which releases in May (disclosure, I was sent an advance review copy of Paris Ever After and read it also in one sitting). Check back on April 30th for more about that!
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Disclosure: I purchased a copy of The Paris Effect myself. I was not asked to write about the book, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions 100% my own.