15 October 2019

Today's Read: The Art of Regret by Mary Fleming

review of The Art of Regret by Mary FlemingImagine that you have accepted your unexceptional life as a solitary struggling shop owner who lives above his store. How would you react when chance circumstances boost your business? What if you then begin a forbidden love affair? At some point you will have to face the consequences of these life changes. Here is how Trevor McFarquhar's story begins:

For many years, in what might have been the prime of my life, I lived and worked on the rue des Martyrs. This narrow market street, which begins its climb at the northern edge of the banking and insurance district and ends in the skein of streets that wraps around the Sacre Coeur at the heart of Montmartre, is not on the tourist circuit and has no pretensions to Parisian grandeur. Behind and above its modest shop fronts are forgettable lives. Lives like my own, which I had reduced to a box, a one-room apartment on top of a one-room shop. Though the two were once a unit, at some point and for some reason--to make more space, to rent the shop and studio separately--the connecting stairs had been disconnected and my room could only be reached by an enclosed stairway in the courtyard. It's not unusual in  a city with a long history. Buildings change their function and configuration, and one structure is squeezed in front of, behind, or beside another. It's just such quirks that have made Paris Paris, a city of endless layers and perspectives, a city of story upon story.
The Art of Regret by Mary Fleming (She Writes Press, Oct. 22, p. 10 [ARC])

Quick Facts
  • Setting: Paris, mid-1990s
  • Circumstances: Trevor McFarquhar was born in America but grew up in Paris after his newly widowed mother moved with her two young sons to France. Now in his late thirties, Trevor is estranged from his family and lives above his bicycle shop, barely squeaking by. His life changes when a transit strike creates a demand for bikes and a long-smouldering romance is given a chance to bloom. The newfound business success comes at the nick of time, but his relationship could cut the last remaining threads Trevor has with his mother and brother. Trevor is forced to set priorities and decide what kind of man he wants to be.
  • Genre & themes: fiction; second chances, late coming-of-age, healing old wounds, family, family secrets
  • Some random thoughts: Trevor is dealing with many unresolved issues from his past and has conflicted feelings about his family. Thus he finds it difficult to make connections and has been happy with casual hook-ups and uncommitted relationships. His business success has given him a new outlook, but he remains irresponsible when it comes to romantic partners. I'm curious if he has the courage to confront his past and change his present.
  • The author: Fleming, herself an American who has relocated to France, fills her novel with insider details of Paris, including prevailing attitudes about families, social class, and politics.
  • Acknowledgments: Thanks to Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity for the review copy of The Art of Regret.

7 comments:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 10/15/19, 8:03 AM  

I like the sound of that intro and the cover is appealing to me as well; glad you shared it.

bermudaonion 10/15/19, 8:22 AM  

I love a Paris setting and coming of age stories so would gladly pick this book up.

Girl Who Reads 10/15/19, 8:34 AM  

Sounds like it could be interesting. I would probably try it as an audiobook.

Nise' 10/15/19, 10:05 AM  

I am intrigued by this story.

sherry fundin 10/15/19, 11:08 AM  

uh oh. sounds like the good things happening aren't so good. :-)
sherry @ fundinmental

Laurel-Rain Snow 10/15/19, 11:36 AM  

I love the sound of this one. The descriptions pulled me right in.

Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: ”GOOD GIRL, BAD GIRL”

Vicki 10/16/19, 2:39 PM  

I like the sound of this. I haven't read a book based in Paris for a long time.

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