Paris by the Bookby Liam Callanan Published 03 Apr 2018
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A missing person, a grieving family, a curious clue: a half-finished manuscript set in Paris. Heading off in search of its author, a mother and her daughters find themselves in France, rescuing a failing bookstore and drawing closer to unexpected truths.
Once a week, I chase men who are not my husband….
When eccentric novelist Robert Eady abruptly vanishes, he leaves behind his wife, Leah, their daughters, and, hidden in an unexpected spot, plane tickets to Paris.
Hoping to uncover clues—and her husband—Leah sets off for France with her girls. Upon their arrival, she discovers an unfinished manuscript, one Robert had been writing without her knowledge…and that he had set in Paris. The Eady women follow the path of the manuscript to a small, floundering English-language bookstore whose weary proprietor is eager to sell. The whole store? Today? Yes, but Leah’s biggest surprise comes when she hears herself accepting the offer on the spot.
As the family settles into their new Parisian life, they can’t help but trace the literary paths of some beloved Parisian classics, including Madeline and The Red Balloon, hoping more clues arise. But a series of startling discoveries forces Leah to consider that she may not be ready for what solving this mystery might do to her family—and the Paris she thought she knew.
At once haunting and charming, Paris by the Book follows one woman’s journey as her story is being rewritten, exploring the power of family and the magic that hides within the pages of a book.
"Paris by the Book" Reviews
I found this book enchanting. It draws the reader in and keeps them off balance with the protagonist as she negotiates her new normal. It represents Paris through a variety of literary filters and adds its own spin. I enjoyed the settings, the characters and the way it did not take the easy way out.
DNF When writer Robert Eady disappears, his wife, Leah, and daughters, Ellie and Daphne, don’t know if he’s alive or dead. I did want to find out the mystery of what happened to him, but unfortunately, the writing style made me not care enough to actually finish this book.
Leah’s narration is incredibly odd. She’ll skim over months and months. Events will abruptly happen. There is just no continuity in the narrative, and it bugged the heck out of me. Leah and her daughters go to Paris to find clues about what happened to Robert, and Paris is a city I love. Still, even the wonderful setting wasn’t enough for me to get passed the 30 percent mark in this novel.
Thanks so much to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel.
For more of my reviews, please visit http://www.theresaalan.net/blog
Bailed. Really wanted to jump into this....a bookstore...in Paris....a romantic mystery...what’s not to like? However, the sentence structure is very chopped up and doesn’t flow. After several pages of having to re-read sentence after sentence because they were pointlessly convoluted.....I bailed. 😞
Leah and Robert were College sweethearts, always wanting to go to Paris, France, settling for trips to Paris, Wisconsin, and other cities and towns named Paris thinking, maybe one day.
Robert is a writer - he craves time alone and often takes off, he and Leah and his kids, Ellie and Daphne, have an understanding. When Robert needs time, he just leaves, always leaving a note, saying “be back soon.” Sometimes he’s gone for hours, sometimes days, never providing an explanation. One morning, Robert leaves and doesn’t come back. At first, Leah and her girls think he simply took a trip and then, as the days go by, they think he abandoned them or worse. When Leah finds a confirmation code in a cereal box for 4 plane tickets to Paris, France, leaving in a few weeks time, Leah knows - she and the girls must go. Maybe, just maybe… Paris is like a dream for all of them, being able to let go, find each other, and get help. Once they receive a half finished a manuscript of Robert’s, however, Leah, Ellie and Daphne have more questions than answers and can’t help wonder if maybe Robert is alive.
“Paris by the Book” is a slow moving domestic drama about a family whose lives have been torn apart. There were times when I was deeply involved in the storyline and enraged at the character of Robert, who took off for days at a time with no explanation and seemed to have little regard for his family and at the character of Leah, who often cared more for her own regard than her daughters. Unfortunately, in my opinion, this novel included a bit more of a tell vs. show style of writing and had a tendency to overuse the phrases “I said” and “Ellie said” etc., which I admittedly grew a little tired of. The characters of Leah, Daphne and Ellie however, all had me fully invested in the storyline which made me eagerly await the outcome.
This was a sister read with Lindsay - thanks for reading this one with me Linds! Sorry it took me a little while to finish!
Thank you to Edelweiss, Penguin Publishing Group and Liam Callanan for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Published on Edelweiss and Goodreads on 6.3.18.
Paris by the Book
MY RATING ⭐️⭐️⭐️▫️▫️
PUBLISHED April 3, 2018
A touching story of a family consumed by a mysterious disappearance that launches them on a literary journey in the City of Light.
They met outside a bookstore in Wisconsin! Leah, a former film student, whose favorite film was The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse and Robert, a struggling author, loved the Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans. The two continued to debate about which was better, even after they got married and had children of their own, two little girls. Both works are set in Paris, and Leah and Robert’s ultimate dream was to go to Paris, but there was never enough money. And then one day Robert went out for a run and totally disappeared. No one could find any trace of him, or knew whether he was dead or alive. Leah and the girls, Daphne, 14, and Ellie, 12, were devastated, confused and inconsolable. They don’t want to believe that he is dead, but they also can’t believe he would leave them for good. Perhaps it was time to go to Paris, maybe Robert was there. There are clues pointed in that direction, particularly a half finished manuscript about a family in Paris. Once they are there, it’s not long before they are living above and running a failing bookstore...and believe they are seeing Robert everywhere.
Paris by the Book is the story of a woman whose life has been usurped by her husband’s disappearance. Leah’s character is well developed and you can easily understand her struggle of not knowing if he is dead or alive. The mystery of Robert’s disappearance most definitively propels the narrative. Parts of the story are brilliant and fun, while a few parts are confusing and slow. Leah’s thoughts frequently are wandering here and there, pondering the past, struggling with the present and worried about the future. But who can blame her, given the situation. Book People and Paris lovers should appreciate this story. Not being familiar with The Red Balloon film, the book motivated me to watch it one afternoon. Very interesting! Liam Callanan is an American author and professor of English at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, his other novels include Cloud Atlas and All Saints. Thanks to Penguin for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is a novel is about coping with loss and taking a leap of faith by following a dream.
Leah is devastated after her husband's disappearance. Soon after, Leah takes her daughters for a visit to Paris and ends up staying and managing a bookstore.
The premise sounds wonderful but I did not enjoy this novel as much as I expected. The main character goes on and on about The Red Balloon movie (and the book) and also about the Madeline's children's stories. After extensively describing them she returns again to it several times in the book.
Also, the pace is very slow. I had expectations this novel would have some mystery to it, and it does but I think the novel can be better categorized as women's fiction. After reading over 51% of it I found myself skimming some sections. I finished it expecting the pace would pick up later on but it didn't.
Overall, it was ok. As much as I love reading about Paris and bookstores the story could not hold my interest. 2.5 rounded up.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via Netgalley