Can we please all first just take a moment to admire the stunning cover of this book? Right … done? We can move on then …
Born into Russian royalty, Tatiana Vytenis and her family are forced to flee their homeland. Together with her mother, sister, brother-in-law and young niece she has made a life for herself in Paris. It’s the 1930’s and as much as she would like to, she just cannot leave behind the memories of the trauma of her past. She buries this deep within her and holds her head up high, giving off the impression of snobbery and superiority. She becomes engaged to French aristocrat, Gérard de Sainte-Vierge, despite warnings from friends, family (both hers and his) and even mere acquaintances. But despite her regal bearing and appearance, Tatiana is in fact, naive and frighteningly immature! Unfortunately, she has very few (if any) character traits that I found endearing, and I struggled to care about what happened to her.
Her sister Katya, had (as they say) ‘a head on her shoulders’ and bore the brunt of the family’s troubles. She and her husband built a solid business: a fashion house; surely not an easy thing to achieve in Paris. The descriptions of the life that went on within the walls of their little empire were fascinating! The mannequins, the styles, the fabrics, the ‘copyists’ (no smartphones, and no quick posts on Instagram!) It was all so marvelous! I know, I know – it wasn’t all as glamorous as it seems – it was hard work! But Ms Evans brought it all to life so beautifully!
So too with the descriptions of that famed French disapproval – so aptly personified in Gérard’s (horrible) mother. I actually felt myself physically cringe while reading about her! She really is that awful!
This is a sweeping saga, with moments that focus on the lives of people just trying to make the most of the hand they’ve been dealt, while much larger issues play out on a global stage. I did rather enjoy the peripheral characters more than the main ones – but most of these were integral to the plot, so I felt that it was fine for me to transfer my preference to them!
4 stars for this one!
Natalie Meg Evans has been an art student, actor, PR copywriter, book-keeper and bartender but always wanted to write. A USA Today best-seller and RITA nominee, she is author of four published novels which follow the fortunes of strong-minded women during the 1930s and 40s. Fashion, manners and art are the glass through which her characters’ lives are viewed. Each novel is laced with passion, romance and desire. Mystery is never far away. An avid absorber of history – for her sixth birthday she got a toy Arthurian castle with plastic knights – Natalie views historical fiction as theatre for the imagination. Her novels delve behind the scenes of a prestige industry: high fashion, millinery, theatre, wine making. Rich arenas for love and conflict. Most at home in the English countryside, Natalie lives in rural Suffolk. She has one son.
Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to tour with them once again! Look at what other bloggers are saying about The Paris Girl …