10 April 2012

Review: Paris in Love by Eloisa James

Just two weeks after her mother died of cancer, Elosia James was herself diagnosed with cancer. Although her cancer was treatable and not life threatening, James took her illness and surgery as a wake-up call to get more out of life. Rather than take a spiritual path, James decided she wanted to live in Paris.

Fortunately, both she and her husband were eligible for a sabbatical year from their university professorships, which made the adventure possible. To make the plan more affordable, they sold their house and cars and got rid of a lot of their possessions. After renting an apartment via the Internet, they set off, with their kids, to France.

Paris in Love is classified as a memoir, but it's really more like a combination of personal journal and travel writing. Despite the word cancer, James did not write an inspirational memoir, although it might inspire you to travel someplace wonderful. Instead James shares small observations about the sights and sounds of Paris interspersed with longer stories of the family's daily life and discoveries.

Although it took the children some time to adjust to so much newness--school, city, country, home--Eloisa and Alessandro seem to have readily soaked up the Parisian life. By the time you finish reading Paris in Love, you too will want to move to the City of Lights. In the embedded video, James shares some quotes from her memoir. Here are some others that caught my eye:

Around seven o'clock, the autumn light turns clear and bluish, the color of skim milk. All the waiters lean on the doors of their restaurants smoking, waiting for customers. (p. 45)

The French walk slowly. They amble down the street, meet friends and spend two minutes kissing, then plant themselves, chatting as if the day were created for this moment. My husband and I walk like New Yorkers: fast, dodging obstacles, glancing at windows, going places. It's taken a few months . . . but I now keep thinking: Where am I going that's so urgent, when all these French people don't agree? (p. 51)

Parisian life is small and quiet. I pack the children off to school and then think greedily about how many hours I have before they come home. I have come to the conclusion that silence and time are the most precious commodities. (pp. 123-124)
Not every day is wonderful, and James freely writes about the negatives. In the end, though, it's her short, yet beautifully expressed, observations of life in Paris that will linger with readers.

Buy Paris in Love at Powell's, at an Indie, at Book Depository, or at a bookstore near you. These links lead to affiliate programs.
Published by Random House 2012
ISBN-13: 9781400069569
Source: Review (see review policy)
Rating: B+
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


bermudaonion 4/10/12, 11:50 AM  

I already want to move to Paris - this book sounds perfect for me!!

Zibilee 4/10/12, 12:05 PM  

I love the way she describes the casual and relaxed atmosphere of life in Paris, and now it's making me want to move there too! I could get used to ambling down the street slowly and taking in the sunset! This was a wonderful review, and it sounds like a book I need to check out. It might satisfy my wanderlust for a little while!

Rikki 4/10/12, 2:02 PM  

I don't know. Paris is a metropolitan area and I always read about the quiet, relaxed atmosphere (and I am sure it exists like it does in every other big city in certain places) but it is not always so. Sometimes I think people take Paris and project their own hopes and dreams and ideas into it and glorify it just a tiny bit.
That being said, after reading your review I want to go there myself again, :).

Julie P. 4/10/12, 5:37 PM  

I think this one sounds worthwhile. Since I've never been to Paris, I'll have to live through books!

Marg 4/10/12, 7:21 PM  

I have read a lot of Eloisa James' romance novels and think that her story was fascinating anyway - Harvard professor, daughter of a famous poet, romance author.

I do really want to read this book because of that, but the Paris setting really helps too!

Daryl 4/11/12, 8:08 AM  

I have two friends who I am betting would love this book . thanks

Karen White 4/11/12, 10:17 AM  

I love the quotes - and so interesting what Rikki said. Perhaps we all need to just inject a little Paris into our everyday lives?

Narineh @ The Novel World 4/11/12, 9:56 PM  

The last thing I need to do is read another book where someone falls in love with Paris...but I checked this book out from the library a couple days ago. I'm glad you liked it, it gives me something to look forward to.

Anonymous,  4/12/12, 12:14 AM  

I read this last week and loved it! I wasn't expecting it to be more like a journal with the short observations, but ended up really liking her style.

Unknown 4/12/12, 2:15 PM  

Sounds very interesting..I've always wanted to move somewhere in Europe for a year or more.

Esme 4/12/12, 11:59 PM  

You know that I always want to read anything to do with Paris.

Louise 4/13/12, 10:39 PM  

I already want to pack up my life and move to Paris. I really hope that I get to do it at some stage, it will be a regret if I don't get to do it before I die. I haven't heard of this book (or the author) before. I envy her her time in Paris, even if the impetus was sad. I'll add this to the Paris TBR. I loved the little video too. How wonderful to make your own chandelier! Perhaps I'll do that on my visit next year? I just love the pears.

Rose Ann P,  4/14/12, 10:36 PM  

I am finishing this up now.
I absolutely love it! Eloisa James is an entertaining writer! I feel like I was looking at snapshots of her time in Paris, not reading about it.
She made me want to visit Paris at Christmas (and Spring...lol)

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