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April 12, 2024

The Paris Novel by Ruth Reichl ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts 

A food, art, and fashion-filled adventure through 1980s Paris.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of women's fiction novel The Paris Novel by Ruth Reichl
April 2024; Random House; 978-0812996302
audio, ebook, print (288 pages); women's fiction

If you read my reviews, you've probably noticed that I pick up any book that has PARIS in the title -- sometimes it's a good choice and sometimes not but this new novel by Ruth Reichl was definitely a good pick.  Not only was there a good storyline and a couple of great characters but parts of it were like a travel log around the best sites in Paris in 1980!

Stella is a copy editor who lives a very lonely and secluded life.  She was raised by a mother who was always looking for a good time and Stella wished to be nothing like her mother.  When her mother died, she left Stella some money and a note that said that she should go to Paris to spend the money.  Reluctantly she decides to go to Paris despite the fact that she doesn't really want to leave her current life.  Alone in a foreign city, she falls into her old habits by living frugally and not doing anything new and exciting.  One day she goes into a vintage dress shop and the shopkeeper acts as if she's been waiting for Stella.  She has the perfect vintage Dior and when Stella tries it on, she feels and even looks like a new person.  She takes a chance and buys the dress and her adventure begins.  She goes to Les Deux Magots where she tries oysters for the first time.  While she's there she meets an older gentleman who is an art collector and he tells her wants to show her the real Paris. He takes her to all of the fabulous restaurants in Paris at the time and the author makes sure that the reader learns all about the food that they try.  She also starts living and working at Shakespeare and Company, the iconic Paris bookstore where she uncovers a mystery about a Manet painting.  So we have a mystery, a bit of romance, and lots of food as Stella changes her life from shy and lonely to adventuresome!

I was intrigued by all of the wonderful descriptions of food until I read an article about the author and found out that she has several nonfiction books about food in France. I think it's time that I read one of them.

So open this book and take a tour of the Paris that existed in 1980.  It will be eye-opening and fun.  If you've already been to Paris, this book will help bring back wonderful memories of your trip.  This book is a definite delight for not only foodies but also for people who either love to travel or yearn to travel.

Buy The Paris Novel at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.

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