Christmas in Paris by Anita Hughes
Isabel Lawson is standing on the balcony of her suite at the Hotel de Crillon as she gazes at the twinkling lights of the Champs-Élysées 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.
A charming, elegant love story.
The author describes Paris with love and empathy, and made me long to visit the city at Christmas, though the hotels, shops and restaurants the MC frequented would be well out of my price range! The feel and tone of the book was rather old-fashioned, not in a bad way, but as if it should have been set in an earlier decade, and in terms of characterisation, though that didn’t prevent the main characters from some slightly steamy sex scenes. It was also a little too ‘rich’ for my taste; the lifestyle the MC is used to is a monied and privileged one.
At first I found the flashbacks a little disconcerting because I didn’t recognise them for what they were and it take me out of the story for a moment each time, until I grew accustomed to the cues from the author.
For a financial analyst Isobel did seem a little flighty and lacked some depth, and Alec a little too wrapped up in Gus, but the story had a certain magical quality and the ending I expected.
About the Author
Anita Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia. At the age of eight, she won first prize in a nationwide writing contest sponsored by THE AUSTRALIAN, Australia's most prestigious newspaper. She graduated from Bard College with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Creative Writing, and attended UC Berkeley's Masters in Creative Writing Program. She lives at The St. Regis Monarch Beach, where she is at work on her next novel. For more information please go to www.anitahughesbooks.com.