Author: Jennifer Robson
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Summary: Fantastic historical details and relationship building made this an outstanding read.
After a near fatal illness, Lady Helena Montagu-Douglas-Parr is determined to get over the public snubs that followed her abandonment by her fiance and to truly live. She decides to move to Paris to live with her unconventional aunt, where she can be more independent and pursue her passion for art. Once there, her harsh art teacher and her attraction to an entirely unsuitable American newspaperman, Sam, will force her to decide whether she wants the conventional life her family sees for her and whether she’s brave enough to pursue a life she loves.
I really liked that the author gave the main character a background that would make her choice to live an unconventional life believable. As with her previous book, Somewhere in France, the author did a great job putting her heroine at the forefront of social change, allowing Helena to be admirably unconventional without feeling too modern for her time. The relationships were also exceptionally believable. I can point to specific reasons Helena fell for Sam and to scenes that were clearly relationship building. Even better, the same is true of Helena’s relationship with her friends and family. I understood why she was close to all of them and I appreciated that, together with her love of art, they gave her a full life, not exclusively focused on romance.
The plot was somewhat predictable and some of the relationship drama came from people not talking to each other (a pet peeve of mine), but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book. It helped that the setting was just as good as the characters. The author did an amazing job giving us a cross-section of life in 1920’s Paris. I enjoyed seeing how the upper class lived and also at least a bit of how everyone else lived. The little details of daily life were fascinating and worked into the story completely naturally, with no info dumps. I loved how different Helena and her friends were as well. They gave a broader view of how people lived in the 1920’s, while Sam’s job as a newspaperman made it easy for the author to work in the bigger picture events of the time period as well. The name-dropping of famous authors and artists in Paris at the same time was also a lot of fun.
I thought this was incredibly well done historical fiction. The characters were engaging and the setting enriched the story. Jennifer Robson is definitely going on my list of must-read authors and if you love historical fiction, I’d recommend adding her to yours as well.
For some other perspectives, check out the other stops on the tour.
Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy
This sounds like a wonderfully inspiring story! And I love the setting of 20s Paris. The history would definitely engage me. I’m glad this was a great read for you. Thank you for the giveaway!
Inspiring is a good word for it! I really love both the books I’ve read by this author because the women in her books are so believably at the forefront of their times.
Glad to see you liked this one so much! I have her first book on my shelf. Have you read either of her first 2 books?
I have read one of her other books, her first book, I think – Somewhere in France. I really loved it too 🙂
Lory @ Emerald City Book Review
This sounds excellent. I haven’t read much about 1920s Paris and this would be a wonderful way to experience that era.
I’ve not read much about this time period either. I’d definitely like to pick up some of nonfiction about this era too 🙂
Nice review. I really want to read this book. I love historical fiction and even better when the title has “Paris” in it!! 🙂 Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
Thanks Letty 🙂 I really love books set in Paris too!
This book sounds intriguing. Who can resist the combination of a historical novel set in Paris. By the way, if your readers like books set in France, they might enjoy the Francophiles Group at Goodreads. https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/43273-francophiles
Thanks Linda! I’m coming of a break from books set in Paris, after getting burnt out on memoirs of people moving there, but I think I’m ready to get back into it 🙂 I’ll definitely be checking out the goodreads group.
Heather J @ TLC Book Tours
Historical fiction is my favorite genre and I am always looking forward to discovering great new-to-me authors. Thanks for the great recommendation and for being a part of the tour!
I’d definitely recommend Robson based on both of her books that I’ve read! Thanks for including me in the tour 🙂