A modern day Agatha Christie-sque setting and an unwanted guest to sleuth – was The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley be as good as her previous books. I loved Foley’s other two books, what about her third? Read my book review of The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley to find out.
When Jess invites herself to her brother Ben’s luxurious apartment, Ben is missing. She was sure he would help her as he did when they were younger, but sure he wouldn’t disappear, would he?
Jess doesn’t know about the adult Ben’s life, nor how he is able to afford this apartment itself. 12 Rue des Amants, a beautiful 5 storey building with a tenant on each floor, is a character by itself.
A nice guy, a socialite, an alcoholic, a reserved student and the concierge – who is a friend and who is lying? Where is Ben and what happened to him? Read The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley to find out.
Book review of The Paris Apartment
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley is a classic whodunnit with a bunch of questionable characters and a motivated sleuth on the trail. The setting of the house was intriguing and added a sense of doom and eerie to it. It reminded me a lot of “Only Murders in the Building” (which absolutely loved it).
I have read Foley’s previous books and I really had big hopes for this one, as a big fan of closed-room mysteries. I enjoyed how the layers unraveled, even though some elements were unnecessary to the story and were added just to create a distraction.
While the slow pace put me off in places, I think it worked out well. I was not particularly enthused by Jess and her attempt to solve the mystery. I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes, often. It felt a little more of thriller than a mystery to me, especially when she was getting any better at solving anything.
I found the multiple person narrative with 6 people tiresome at places, and the book could have been shorter by at least 20 pages. Maybe it was just me, I was getting restless after big twist for the book to end.
What worked for me
I loved the setting and the unlikable cast of tenants. It was eerie and sinister.
While I didn’t like any of the characters, they were well developed and intriguing.
What may have been better
I felt it was more of a thriller than a mystery.
The pace dragged a bit, compared to what is usual for the genre.
Murder, Suicide, Alcoholism, Cheating, Domestic violence, Sex work, Sexual harassment (mentioned), Self-harm (mentioned)
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley is a slow paced, claustrophobic whodunnit. It is different from Foley’s other books in terms of writing and narrative style, but it mostly works. If you like “Only Murders in the Building” you might enjoy The Paris Apartment.
I love meeting new people and visiting new places. But I am also a person who would be happy to curl up in the bed with a book or watching the television. I mean why would people want to travel in real life when you can armchair travel all through the year right?
And I thought I should include you in my travels. You ask me how? Welcome to the new bimonthly feature ‘Flyaway Friday‘.
Every month we will choose a country, and we will do what we generally do – DISCUSS BOOKS from that country. The books will either be set in that country or the characters will be from the country. And that is not all.
Every month we will have a guest blog from a blogger from that country who will tell us about their home first hand.
Are you excited? You can bet I am. And all of that starts right now. And with one of the most visited and read about country of the world.
Yes we are visiting France, this January.
I know, I know. France, the most romantic place on earth, ask any romance lover.
And it is just not only that.
I have rounded up the best books for you and guess what? They are all as French as they can be.
We might have read this French book when we were kids, but this 90-page novella definitely requires a reread as an adult. The story follows the travels of a small boy who leaves his home planet to travel the universe.
2) Les Misérables
Much has been spoken and written about this masterpiece of Victor Hugo. The book takes the reader into the depths and the darkest corners of the French political scene. Les Misérables is definitely a happy book but I can promise you the joy of reading if you can get through it.
3) Madame Bovary
Published in 1856, this book by Flaubert was attacked for ‘obscenity’. The lead character Emma finds her husband bland and boring and ignores him and their child for other men. And of course, the society doesn’t take such things very lightly. I can safely say, Desperate Housewives in 19th Century France.
You can safely say I am a sucker for stories from World War II. So here are a few from that era. (Oh, it is not as old as you think)
4) Lilac Girls
This book has been on my TBR shelf from the first time I heard of it, somewhere in Nov 2017 and I am definitely reading this one as soon as I can. Three women, from New York who works at the French consulate, Poland and Germany respectively, cross paths during Holocaust in an unexpected way. As any story based on the Nuremberg trial Lilac Girls would make you weep out, especially when you learn it is partially based on a true story.
5) All the Light We Cannot See
This is one of the books am currently reading and I can assure you the author Doerr has a way with his words. All the Light We Cannot See follows the stories of a German boy and a blind French girl during the World War II. You will love this book if you liked The book thief.
6) The Nightingale
The book follows the life of two French sister, divided by years and wisdom as they fight for their freedom in their own terms in the German occupied France. The book won the Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction (2015) and has been popular ever since.
7) The Paris Wife
Ever wanted to see what happens behind the screens in the lives of famous people? Catch up The Paris Wife as it follows the lives of Ernest and Hadley Hemingway as they move into the Parisian life. Warning:: there is no hard and fast rules when it comes to love and boozing.
Find some romance novels set in France to keep you awake this winter season.
8) Paris for One
In mood for some quick read set in Paris? Let Jojo Moyes take you for a spin with her new Paris for One. When Nell finds her unreliable boyfriend has abandoned her in Paris of all places, she decides to have some fun for herself. But what she was not looking for the mysterious Fabien to steal her heart away. A perfect choice for the winter nights.
9) If Only It Were True
What happens when you fall in love with ghost in your closet? Based in San Francisco, If Only It Were True written by the French novelist Marc Levy has been turned into a film staring Reese Witherspoon as well.
Still young at heart? Don’t worry we have the best of YA for you as well.
10) Anna and the French Kiss
This cult YA romance needs no introduction. Anna is less than enthused when she is shipped off to a boarding school at Paris, until she meets St Clair. This classic boy meets girl is all you need when you need a cheer up and that in France.
11) The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Okay this could be the next best YA read since I dunno what. Monty takes Grand tour of Europe with his sister and his best friend / crush Percy, and an yearlong escapade before he is forced to join his father’s business. You should be reading it already.
Okay technically this is not a young adult book because the Asterix; comics is pleasure to read for all ages. Asterix and his friends defend their Gaul village from the mighty Roman invasion and is quite funny despite the whole violent war scenario.
What countries do you want to be featured in this series? Have you been to France or do you want to? How many of these books have you read? Do you have any book set in France or having French characters that I have to reader? Let me know in the comments.
One of the many reasons we read fiction is to escape the reality called life. Reading a memoir is like reading fiction for me, as it doesn’t happen to me or anyone I know. For instance, I didn’t realize Memoirs of a Geisha was an actual memoir until I completed it (yeah I kinda missed the point while reading the title) and it did feel like a fiction while reading it. Rarely does a memoir make me feel that the writer did go through these, and they know what they talk about. So when I received Meet Me in Paris from the author I did not expect anything different. So how did it fare on the scale? Read on.
Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author for the free copy of the book, in exchange for an honest review.
This review has been published in the CBC Magazine
Plot Summary of Meet me in Paris
The memoir traces about two to three years of the author’s life, who is a successful romance writer, someone in love with Paris. She is married to her high school sweetheart and their marriage is beyond salvage. Despite their love for each other, she feels she is trapped in her marriage and is seeking an escape. That is when Nick enters into her life and shows her what is to be adored and loved in the two days they spend together away from their spouses.
Yes, Nick is married and has no intention to leave his wife, despite their open relationship. Yet for Danielle it is an eye opener, and she finally decides both she and her husband deserve better, they proceed to separate. Danielle travels to the only place that could offer her the solace and the excitement she needed in her life, where Nick travels just to spend two weeks with her. What happens then? Do the star-crossed lovers spend their lives together? Or is Nick just a rebound?
Book review of Meet me in Paris
I should start with how amazed I am at the author’s courage to wrote about her personal life, especially one that talks about her separation and an affair with a married man. The memoir talked about the period when she was at her most vulnerable when she was in love with someone who would never leave his wife and she has left her husband, albeit not for her lover. Though I didn’t like Danielle’s nor Nick’s character as a person, I understand that is how life is. There are no black and white squares to peg people in. Her memoir takes us through her heartbreak, divorce, hopelessness, depression and also falling in love, figuring out the future and of course travelling, baring her emotions as it is, it can not get truer than this.
Juliette’s writing shows that she is a seasoned romance novelist. I was resonating with her plight to be stuck in a suffocating loveless marriage and having an affair before and during her separation even though it is such a taboo. I think it was only due to her writing style that she made me empathize with her and even, justify her actions. Her love for Nick and his for her could not have been captured any better. Even the intimate scenes were beautifully written and honest to say the least, (Note: not suited for young audience – PG rated.)
A few days ago, one of my friends was saying (read as complaining) that he dropped a book mid-way as it had too many characters while none of them had impact on the storyline. I was genuinely shocked and kinda miffed as well. But I was able to relate to this emotion when I was reading this one. Wow Juliette, you do have so many friends! While I am happy for you, but after a while, it became hard even to remember anyone at all, and you know what, it still didn’t matter as far as the plot was concerned.
Did I relate to her? No.
Did I like her actions and choices? No.
Did I understand her? Yes, and I think that is where a writer in her shone her best.
And yes there were times that I wanted to throw the book at her, for her choices exasperated me but again, that is people do in real life – mess it up and pick the dust to move on. We all mess up, we all do things that in reflection understand we should not have. But to gather what is left and move ahead to make better choices is what Juliette did. That is what I feel about the memoir, a brave and honest attempt.