By: Anita Hughes
Published By: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Source: Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Adult - Contemporary, Holiday
I can only imagine that Paris at Christmas time must be absolutely gorgeous. I've never been to Paris, but there is something intriguing to me about seeing the city covered in snow and decorated with evergreens and twinkling lights. I also have to admit that I was drawn in by the cover of this one. It conjures that Christmas magic for me.
Isabel is a driven woman in her late twenties who can't seem to make love stick. She was supposed to be getting married and spending her honeymoon in Paris during Christmas, but instead she's visiting the City of Lights on her own, staying in the honeymoon sweet without her fiancee. Isabel called off the wedding because she felt like they wanted different things. In the beginning, I wasn't sure if I liked Isabel or not. There is nothing wrong with having career goals, but I feel like love is about compromise, and didn't seem that she was willing to do that. She wanted everything - the high power career, the perfect husband, a lavish home, the dog, and the beautiful children. I'm sure some women can pull that off, but her wishes left me feeling stressed out and tired. She also comes off as selfish, shallow, and spoiled.
The other main character, Alec, is an illustrator for children's' books. He lives a modest life in Paris and for awhile everything seemed to be going his way. He was engaged to a gorgeous, intelligent, and wealthy woman, but she ditched him to follow an attractive cricket player back to Australia. Alec is attempting to console himself by lounging in the honeymoon sweet at a posh Paris hotel. He might as well enjoy the luxurious surroundings since he won't be getting married anytime soon. He isn't sure that love exists for him. I instantly liked Alec. There was something captivating about him. He seemed more down to Earth and approachable than Isabel.
Isabel and Alec are brought together under odd circumstances. Isabel finds herself locked out of her suite. The balcony isn't the most hospitable location to be during December in Paris. She isn't sure how she is going to get herself out of the predicament until she decides to throw her very expensive shoes at the door of the neighboring balcony. Alec happens to be staying next door and becomes Isabel's knight in shining armor. The pair soon find that they have a broken engagement in common. They bond over their failed attempt at love and strike up an acquaintance.
While the pair is visiting the Christmas market, Isabel is approached by a fortune teller who predicts her future which includes a brush with death and a marriage to a French aristocrat. Isabel decides that she has done such a bang up job at love that she must trust this woman after several components of the fortune come true. She launches a plan to find her French aristocrat and enlists Alec's help.
I won't spoil how things work out for Isabel (or Alec for that matter), but I did enjoy being along for the ride. I enjoyed that the novel not only focused on the present, but allowed readers to understand Isabel and Alec better through flashbacks. It helped me understand where Isabel was coming from, which helped me start liking her more. There were some fairly predictable moments, but I find that is often the case with chick lit. The strength of this novel for me was the relationship between the main characters and their families.
Christmas in Paris is a sweet holiday read with a gorgeous setting.
One Last Gripe: The intimate scenes in the flashbacks were a bit explicit for my tastes.
Favorite Thing About This Book: The setting
First Sentence: Isabel took a deep breath and thought Paris at Christmas was like one of the elaborate dollhouses she played with as a child.
Favorite Character: Alec
Least Favorite Character: Celine
Hughes will fill your heart with the sights, sounds, and flavors of new love, glamorous fashion, and decadent holiday cuisine.
Isabel Lawson is standing on the balcony of her suite at the Hotel Crillon as she gazes at the twinkling lights of the Champs Elysee and wonders if she’s made a terrible mistake. She was supposed to be visiting the Christmas tree in the Place de la Concorde, and eating escargots and macaroons with her new husband on their honeymoon. But a week before the wedding, she called it off. Isabel is an ambitious Philadelphia finance woman, and Neil suddenly decided to take over his grandparents’ farm. Isabel wasn’t ready to trade her briefcase for a pair of rubber boots and a saddle.
When Neil suggested she use their honeymoon tickets for herself, she thought it would give her a chance to clear her head. That is until she locks herself out on the balcony in the middle of winter. Thankfully her neighbor Alec, a French children’s illustrator, comes to her rescue. He too is nursing a broken heart at the Crillon for the holidays. With a new friend by her side, Isabel is determined to use her time in the city of lights wisely. After a chance encounter with a fortune teller and a close call with a taxi, she starts to question everything she thought was important.
Christmas in Paris is a moving and heartwarming story about love, trust, and self-discovery. Set during the most magical week of the year, the glorious foods and fashions of the most romantic city in the world are sure to take your breath away.