15 October 2015

Reading on Topic: 8 Books That Transport You to Paris

Writers and readers around the world have always had a fascination with Paris--city of lights, love, food, fashion, and history. This year has been no exception, and there are dozens of ways for you to visit Paris from the comfort of your own favorite reading spot. This list of recommended titles published this year includes something for everyone: From fiction to history and thrillers to memoirs, the following books will let you see Paris through a variety of lenses.

A Fiction Trio

8 Books about ParisNina George's The Little Paris Bookshop (Crown, June) is part adventure, part self-discovery and a whole lot of charm. Follow Jean Perdu's adventures as he unanchors his Paris barge bookstore and opens himself up to life's possibilities. The Paris Key, by Juliet Blackwell (NAL, September), is the story of how Genevieve Martin uncovers family secrets and finds her true home when she moves to Paris to take over her late uncle's locksmith shop. You never know what you'll find on the other side of a locked door. M. J. Rose's latest paranormal thriller, The Witch of Painted Sorrows (Atria, March) transports readers to the Paris underworld of the 1890s. Sandrine Salome escapes her cruel husband, seeking refuge in the City of Lights, but what she finds is the darkness of the city's occult and a fight for survival.

True Stories

8 Books about ParisBased on extensive research and firsthand accounts, Alex Kershaw's Avenue of Spies (Crown, August) introduces the world to one of the real-life heroes of the Nazi resistance in occupied Paris. American Dr. Sumner Jackson risked his life and that of his family to help Allied soldiers and French Jewish citizens escape the city, barely surviving his own forced exodus. Kate Betts lived the life that many of us can only imagine: hobnobbing with the greats of Paris fashion. In her memoir My Paris Dream (Spiegel & Grau, May), Betts talks about how she became at home in the city during her rocky transformation from a recent Ivy League graduate with no prospects to the associate bureau chief for Women's Wear Daily.

20th-Century Paris in Historical Fiction

8 Books about ParisThe story of Coco Chanel's rise from a poor country girl to one of the world's most recognized Paris fashion icons is documented by C. W. Gortner in Mademoiselle Chanel (William Morrow, March). Told from Chanel's point of view, as she recalls her sacrifices, lovers, and achievements, this novel provides insight into the origins of the little black dress with pearls and the famous No. 5 perfume. Meg Waite Clayton's The Race for Paris (Harper, August) is inspired by the harrowing true experiences of women journalists who covered World War II and the liberation of France. Set in 1944, the story focuses on two American women determined to document the events unfolding in Paris as Allied troops made their way inland after the invasion of Normandy. Dana Gynther's The Woman in the Photograph (Gallery, August) takes place in Paris in the years between the wars. When New York model Lee Miller moves to the city in 1929, she struggles to keep her sense of self as she navigates the avant-garde world of artists, writers, and photographers.

Just can't get enough of Paris? Here a just a few more recently published novels that feature the City of Lights within their pages:
  • 750 Years in Paris by Vincent Mahé (Nobrow, October): an illustrated history as witnessed by one building
  • Wherever There Is Light by Peter Golden (Atria, November): a family saga featuring star-crossed lovers
  • Murder on the Champs de Mars by Cara Black (Soho Crime, March): an exciting mystery/thriller
  • It Started with Paris by Cathy Kelly (Grand Central, August): a Paris marriage proposal and its wide-ranging effects
  • The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie (Atria, September): a luscious tale of the women in Louis XV's court
  • The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster, August): the life of the mother of Impressionist artist Pissarro
  • A Paris Affair by Tatiana de Rosney (St. Martin's, July): short stories about love, marriage, and infidelity
Originally written for a September issue of Readerly magazine.


Vicki 10/15/15, 8:17 AM  

I have the first book, have the second on my library tbr list, and want to read the others. I've always wanted to visit Paris.

bermudaonion 10/15/15, 9:07 AM  

There's just something magical about Paris!

Katherine P 10/15/15, 9:07 AM  

I have a few of these though the only one I've read is Madame Chanel. Now I want to just curl up with a few and visit Paris! Great post!

Molly Totoro 10/15/15, 9:28 AM  

Did you write this post just for me?! :) Thank you for adding to my Paris book list.

(Diane) bookchickdi 10/15/15, 12:10 PM  

What a great roundup for lovers of Paris. I'm looking forward to reading Meg Waite Clayton's book.

Daryl 10/16/15, 2:03 PM  

i just sent the URL for your blog to two friends who are huge Paris lovers

Teddyree 10/17/15, 6:25 PM  

Ooh can never have too many Paris reads, I'm addicted lol. The Paris Key was a favourite this year and I liked The Little Paris Bookshop. I've got Mademoiselle Chanel and The Witch of Painted Sorrows waiting on my kindle but I can't resist topping up my wishlist :)

Claudia 10/20/15, 3:28 PM  

I just ordered Cara Black's first in her series of Parisian mysteries, Murder on the Marais, just to get in at the beginning. Thanks for the recommendation.

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