It’s been a while since I’ve done a book review but with the latest I conquered, I couldn’t resist. It’s not secret I have a soft spot for Paris and all things French. It’s a city and a culture that spoke to me in a way few other things have and it will always hold a special place for me. Earlier this year, the author of a new book reached out asking if I would give it a chance and share my review. I agreed foolishly thinking that I’d be able to handle this in time for the release. HA! With my reading habits I should have known better. It wasn’t until recently that I made reading a priority. It’s something that I’ve always enjoyed and this year I’ve gotten so lost in life that I almost never took a minute to myself. So while it might have been a slow start, I rapidly finished reading Paris Ever After earlier this month and I have quite a few things to say about it. Before we get to what I have to say, take a look at the description from Goodreads first.
What Goodreads Says:
Can Amy’s rocky start in Paris turn into a happy ever after?
Amy didn’t realize how stale her life was until she jetted off to Paris without telling a soul—not even her husband—and had the adventure of a lifetime. Now as she tries to establish herself in the City of Light, she finds that despite a fun (and quirky) group of friends and the ability to indulge in French pastries whenever she wants, reinventing her life is much harder than she imagined.
Then on Amy’s thirtieth birthday, two unexpected visitors leave her wondering if she will soon be saying au revoir to Paris and the new life she’s struggled to build. Her estranged husband, Will, shows up—but is he interested in reconciliation or separation? And a young woman who arrives on Amy’s doorstep unleashes chaos that could push Amy out into the street.
As Amy’s Parisian dream starts to fall apart, she must decide: return to the stability of Will and Phoenix (if that’s even still an option) or forge her way forward in Paris? Amid secrets and surprises, set in enchanting gardens, cozy cafés, and glittering Parisian streets, Amy must choose between two very different worlds. And each has a claim on her heart.
What I Say:
It’s hard for me to dislike any novel set in Paris. I’ve read quite a few and will most likely read more so that I can live vicariously through the characters. I went through a lot of emotions while reading Paris Ever After: anger, irritation, nostalgia, disbelief. I was entertained, annoyed and enraged. And before you start thinking all those negative emotions are a bad thing, if you don’t feel strongly for a character you’re reading about, the writer hasn’t done their job. If there is one thing that K.S.R. Burns does right, it’s bring out all the feelings of her readers. There were points where I wanted to reach through the pages and shake Amy telling her to wake up and stop being so naive.
Amy is at this weird crossroads in her life. She’s about six months pregnant with her estranged husband’s baby, outstayed her visa, and is living a “life by chance.” Her home is with a woman she met at a cafe the first week she arrived. Her job is with a friend who she met through this same woman. It’s as if her life in Paris was meant to be because of how easy it was for her to get things figured out. That is...until the woman’s long lost daughter returns and flips everything on its head for Amy. Coincidentally, the same day the daughter returns, Amy finds out her estranged husband is in Paris to see her. The first third to half of the book mostly recaps events that happened to lead Amy to Paris. It's a series of flashbacks intertwined with present events. We learn about Amy's relationship with her best friend, Kat, and why she took a one-way flight suddenly after Kat's death. We learn that her marriage was actually not the best and she had been blind to her own unhappiness and lack of satisfaction within it. We learn the true character of her husband and this was what really had me wanting to scream at her through the pages. A lot happens in a mere 260 pages and I guess that’s why Paris Ever After gets 4 out of 5 stars from me.
In full disclosure, Paris Ever After is a sequel to K.S.R. Burns other novel, The Paris Effect. I did not read The Paris Effect but the novels don’t depend on one another. However, I kind of wish they did because all the recapping in Paris Ever After could have been avoided. I did enjoy Paris Ever After. though. This isn't a complete criticism, not event close. I loved walking the streets of Paris with Amy and reliving the incredible city through her. Amy’s character transformation from naive and vulnerable to strong and independent was inspiring and a proud moment. But that’s what it was...a moment! And that’s where Burns left me wanting more. We spent so much time recapping everything that happened already and getting to know the characters that Amy’s transformation felt like it happened in a matter of pages. In fact, I will never forget the feeling of finishing the last page to turn it and expect another chapter only to find out it was over. I would have loved for this part of Amy’s story to have been expanded a little more. Maybe we could have also gotten a few from one of the other characters. Or maybe we could have gone deeper into one of the other story lines because there were a few that I would have loved to explore. There are so many possibilities but the fact is that the current story, the one we were present for in Paris Ever After felt rushed.
I would recommend Paris Ever After to anyone who loves an easygoing read. There’s enough drama to keep you interested without being overwhelming. The descriptions of Paris are enchanting and worth a read alone. It’s a great vacation read, beach read or quick weekend read when it’s particularly dreary outside. Next on my nightstand, Hot Mess by Emily Belden and wowza is it a juicy one. What’s on your nightstand lately?