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Paris is Always a Good Idea by Nicolas Barreau

Paris is Always a Good Idea by Nicolas Barreau
Pub. Date: March 29, 2016
Source: finished copy via publisher (Thank you, St. Martin’s Griffin!)
Summary: Rosalie Laurent is the proud owner of Luna Luna, a little post-card shop in St. Germain, and if it were up to her, far more people would write cards. Her specialty is producing “wishing cards,” but where her own wishes are concerned the quirky graphic artist is far from lucky. Every birthday Rosalie sends a card inscribed with her heart’s desire fluttering down from the Eiffel Tower – but none of her wishes has ever been fulfilled.

Then one day when an elderly gentleman trips up in her shop and knocks over a post-card stand, it seems that her wish cards are working after-all. Rosalie finds out that it is Max Marchais, famed and successful author of children’s books who’s fallen into her life. When he asks her to illustrate his new (and probably last) book, Rosalie is only too glad to accept, and the two – very different – maverick artists become friends.

Rosalie’s wishes seem to be coming true at last, until a clumsy American professor stumbles into her store with accusations of plagiarism. Rosalie is hard pressed to know whether love or trouble is blowing through her door these days, but when in doubt, she knows that Paris is Always a Good Idea when one is looking for the truth and finding love.
Genre: Contemporary, Charming, Romance, Whimsical

Despite her mother’s very vocal disappointment, Rosalie has followed her dreams and opened a quaint postcard shop. The most popular items, however, are Rosalie’s very own ‘wishing cards,’ unique to each customer’s specifications. While the cards are certainly popular sellers, Rosalie starts to wonder if there’s any hope in wishing – each year on her birthday she climbs the Eiffel Tower and sets loose her very own wish card…and has yet to have a single wish come true.

The day an elderly gentlemen stumbles into her shop, however, is the day Rosalie’s life changes. The man is Max Marchais, France’s version of Roald Dahl. After twenty years Max has finally decided to write a new book – and he wants Rosalie to illustrate it. Things couldn’t be going more beautifully until, months later, another man walks into Rosalie’s shop and begins accusing both Rosalie and Max of plagiarism. In her heart Rosalie wants to believe Max’s word that he wrote the story, but when she digs deeper she uncovers truths she never expected.

Paris is Always a Good Idea is a slim whisper of a novel, clocking in at just shy of 300 pages. As with any Parisian setting, there’s a quirky sort of Old World charm and that alone is worth the read! The descriptions of the grey skies, fresh baguettes and croissants, and apartments with secrets balconies had my heart all a-flutter!

The story gets going pretty quickly and I’m pleased to say the momentum doesn’t let up until the book is over, making this one very quick read! The characters are all wonderfully crafted, from the American professor (who followed his passion rather than take over at his father’s prestigious law firm) to a little pup named William Morris to Max himself (and who was most definitely my favorite character.) Each one had their own personality, their own individuality that was very impressive in a book this size!

The only fault I had with this novel came toward the end when I started to notice some very odd translation choices. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but there’s a scene with a heated discussion-turn-shouting match between two characters. They’ve been in a relationship for years but things haven’t been going so well – especially once one of them discovers their partner had been cheating and lying. The yelling and screaming culminates into a line that completely took me out of the scene: “And now beat it!” Maybe I’m too quick to lay blame on the translator? Perhaps it was written like that in the original German. Either way, it felt totally wrong to me.

Apart from a few odd phrases, Paris is Always a Good Idea is exactly that – a good idea. This one is a lovely, easygoing novel that I happily spent the afternoon with. Between the fantastic characters to the charming setting, this is a novel definitely worth a read!

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