Published: October 4, 2016
Source: Goodreads Giveaway
Isabel Lawson is standing on the balcony of her suite at the Hotel Crillon as she gazes at the twinkling lights of the Champs Elysee 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.
Christmas in Paris is a moving and heartwarming story about love, trust, and self-discovery. Set during the most magical week of the year, the glorious foods and fashions of the most romantic city in the world are sure to take your breath away.
I'm going to come right out and say this here, this book is all about the good, the bad, and the flat-out ridiculous.
Let's start with the good--and that would be Alec. Alec is not your typical romance hero. He's actually much more in line with Ove from A Man Called Ove (although much younger and not so intent on dying). I have to admit that I like the grumpy guys and Alec delivers in full force. I appreciated that Hughes took the time to explain why Alec was such a grump instead of just putting it out there and forcing the reader to accept it.
Now, the bad. From the summary of the book, I was expecting an atmospheric story that would transport me to Paris. When a book is able to do something like that, it is simply magical. This book did not succeed. Instead, I felt like I was reading a guidebook--and not a very good one. If I wanted to know where to eat and stay in Paris, I would have picked up Rick Steves' book.
Finally, the ridiculous. ISABEL. Literally everything about this character is unbelievable. When we first meet her, she is very calmly telling her completely unrealistic mother that she is calling off the wedding over FROSTING and the mother does not think this is a big deal. Then she goes on her honeymoon alone where she meets Alec (obviously) and then a fortune teller who informs Isabel that she is going to marry a French nobleman. And, I kid you not, from that point on the whole book is Isabel, who really has absolutely no personality, flitting around Paris looking for noblemen. Did I mention that Isabel is a high powered financial analyst at one of the top banks in the US? Because you would only know this because it is mentioned incessantly. However, without all those mentions, you would never have a clue because Isabel is just a silly little girl on a silly little quest and I had trouble caring in the least about her.
Oh, poor Alec. As a character, he had such potential. But, in the end, he was trapped in Isabel's silly story that I just couldn't care about.
I won a copy of this book from Goodreads. I was encouraged, but not required, to post a review. I received no other compensation for this post.