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Friday, 1 July 2016

Book Review: "Paris Mon Amour" by Isabel Costello

I must admit that after reading some of the titles on the Baileys Prize shortlist, I was feeling pretty depressed. Seriously, these are some grim stories. Being that I am off to Paris for a weekend in a couple of weeks the setting of this novel appealed to me to get me in the mood.

Alexandra is a 40 year old woman who has suffered tragedies in her past which continue to impact her present. When her visiting mother suggests her husband Phillippe is having an affair, it is a niggling thought which begins to preoccupy her. Bowled over by the appearance of Jean-Luc, a troubled and beautiful young man, Alexandra is soon embroiled in her own passionate affair. 

This is a well written book, if one which grated with me slightly in its use of expletives. I don't mean to sound prudish as, in general, it doesn't bother me, but I didn't really feel it was in tone with the voice of Alexandra and it just stuck out as an attempt to be 'edgy' in a novel which didn't need that. The story itself is quite compelling, and the reader is witness to a situation which becomes less and less tenable.

Though I would have preferred a greater exploration of Jean-Luc's troubles, Alexandra's journey though, is one of discovery, of self-understanding and realisation of what she is capable of. I imagine the thrill of an illicit affair is pretty good escapism for many of us right now. Overall, a convincing and enjoyable read. 

Thanks to the publishers for providing a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Buy the book: Paris Mon Amour

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