Three Paws Up for ‘From a Paris Balcony’

Greetings from Par-ee! I found this paperback at the grocery store and decided to treat myself to a fun little romance/mystery set in Paris! Ever since watching “Emily in Paris” (shameful, I know!), I’ve been on a Paris kick. Do I love that show? No. However, the scenic backdrops of lavish garden parties, Eifel Tower views and outdoor cafes just transport me to a magical world! And then there’s the sultry men with gorgeous accents…ooh la la.

But I digress! Back to the book. Although this is kind of a slow read, I did enjoy the atmosphere and intrigue. Here’s my assessment:

What I liked: I came for the Parisian escape and the author delivered with her beautiful, lyrical prose. I felt like I was right there with both of the main characters (Louisa circa 1898 and Sarah circa 2015) as they went searching for answers in Paris. It was fun delving into the two different worlds: the modern-day bustling metropolis and the Victorian-era cityscape of bordellos and socialite balls. Wouldn’t this make for an excellent movie? Why must we make do with this “Emily in Paris” vapid drivel to get our fix?

What irked me: To be perfectly honest, I was rather annoyed by the repetitive descriptions of Sarah’s perfect, glossy black bob. I get it, she’s a knockout. All the men want her. Yay for her. Here’s my question: why must the leading lady be stunningly beautiful in order for us to care about her? Why must she exceed society’s unrealistic standards of the feminine ideal? Perfection, in my opinion, is overrated.

What confused me: OK, so I have to point out that Sarah’s living arrangements make no sense! Let me back this up here…so she discovers a letter written by none other than Marthe de Florian (a real historical figure who was a famous Parisian courtesan), she discovers the mystery of her ancestor Louisa’s apparent suicide. She is adamant about staying at Martha’s apartment, and it just so happens she has a friend who can hook her up. The only thing is…a very sexy, famous painter is also staying there. No bother, she’ll just be roomies with him with no push-back whatsoever. Huh? I’m sorry, but this is strange, no?

Overall: Despite some of the …oddities…this story is worth a read for people who enjoy a good historical mystery set amidst the backdrops of Paris and England. The mystery behind Louisa’s “suicide,” kept me intrigued, and I enjoyed Sarah’s investigations at the stately manor where her ancestor once lived. The blue-blood family members are being very tight-lipped about the whole ordeal, and things really get interesting when the skeletons start dancing out of their closet!

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