I have never been to Paris. But I have always wanted to. It just seems like one of those cities that, if you have any inclination to travel, you must visit. From what I’ve seen in movies and pictures, it’s beautiful and interesting and relaxed and historical. And I am unfailingly intrigued by it. So when I saw A Paris All Your Own, I thought reading stories about Paris might be a wonderful way to explore it a bit more, if only in my imagination.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
(From Goodreads) A collection of all-new Paris-themed essays written by some of the biggest names in women’s fiction, including Paula McLain, Therese Anne Fowler, Maggie Shipstead, and Lauren Willig, edited by Eleanor Brown, the New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters and The Light of Paris.
“My time in Paris,” says New York Times-bestselling author Paula McLain (The Paris Wife), “was like no one else’s ever.” For each of the eighteen bestselling authors in this warm, inspiring, and charming collection of personal essays on the City of Light, nothing could be more true.
While all of the women writers featured here have written books connected to Paris, their personal stories of the city are wildly different. Meg Waite Clayton (The Race for Paris) and M. J. Rose (The Book of Lost Fragrances) share the romantic secrets that have made Paris the destination for lovers for hundreds of years. Susan Vreeland (The Girl in Hyacinth Blue) and J. Courtney Sullivan (The Engagements) peek behind the stereotype of snobbish Parisians to show us the genuine kindness of real people.
From book club favorites Paula McLain, Therese Anne Fowler (Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald), and anthology editor Eleanor Brown (The Light of Paris) to mystery writer Cara Black (Murder in the Marais), historical author Lauren Willig (The Secret History of the Pink Carnation), and memoirist Julie Powell (Julie and Julia), these Parisian memoirs range from laugh-out-loud funny to wistfully romantic to thoughtfully somber and reflective.
Perfect for armchair travelers and veterans of Parisian pilgrimages alike, readers will delight in these brand-new tales from their most beloved authors.
I had somewhat high expectations for A Paris All Your Own. And, sadly, I was disappointed. I was anticipating a fun, enchanting romp through the city of light. But this book was much more pragmatic than I’d realized going in. Some of the stories did start out with the author being in love with Paris the way only someone who hasn’t been there can be. But they quickly became somewhat disenchanted with what, as it turns out, it really just a city.
And while I liked that the stories in this book were more realistic, that’s just not what I wanted from this book. My disappointment is largely my own fault, but it was difficult to ignore. I really wanted something wonderful and magical, a book that would make me even more anxious to visit Paris, and that’s not what I got.
However, I did enjoy this book in that it was a great snapshot of many different writers. Since the only things they really have in common is that they are female and have written about Paris, there are many different writing styles, and I liked being able to explore them all. I also thought it was brilliant that this book is full of nonfiction essays, because it really is about these authors and their personal experiences in Paris. I discovered a few new authors that I want to read. (The only one of these authors I was familiar with going in was Lauren Willig, though I do own a copy of Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife.)
★★★☆☆ – A Paris All Your Own was a good book, it just wasn’t the book I wanted to read. Ultimately, I’d say that if you like reading about Paris, or if this book interests you, give it a read. And hopefully you like it more than I did.
You can purchase your copy of A Paris All Your Own on Amazon now.
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