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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Review: A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

Title: A Paris Apartment
Author: Michelle Gable
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publish Date: April 22, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

What's the Story?:

From "When April Vogt's boss tells her about the discoveries in a cramped, decrepit ninth arrondissement apartment, the Sotheby's continental furniture specialist does not hear the words “dust” or “rats” or “shuttered for seventy years.” She hears Paris. She hears escape.

Once in France, April quickly learns the apartment is not merely some rich hoarder's repository. Beneath the dust and cobwebs and stale perfumed air is a goldmine and not because of the actual gold (or painted ostrich eggs or mounted rhinoceros horns or bronze bathtub). First, there's a portrait by one of the masters of the Belle Epoque. And then there are letters and journals written by the woman in the painting, documents showing she was more than a renowned courtesan with enviable decolletage. Suddenly it's no longer about the bureau plats and Louis-­style armchairs that will fetch millions at auction.

It's about a life. Two lives, actually.

With the help of a salty (and annoyingly sexy) Parisian solicitor and the courtesan's private documents, April tries to uncover the secrets buried in the apartment. As she digs into one woman's life, April can't help but take a deeper look into her own. When the two things she left bubbling back in the States begin to boil over, April starts to wonder whether she'll ever find—in the apartment, or in her life—just what she's looking for."

My Two Cents: 

"A Paris Apartment" is a story that takes place in two times. There is the present day that surrounds April, a woman who is going through a lot. Her marriage is dissolving. She goes to Paris to escape and throws herself into the estate of Marthe, a woman whose Paris apartment holds a treasure trove of secrets including a mysterious painting painted by one of the Belle Epoque's great painters. This is a good story that will interest historical fiction fans as well as those that just like stories filled with intrigue and mystery.

As with many stories that are split into two times, I really enjoyed the part that took place during the past rather than the later time. Marthe's story was fascinating and her character was so interesting to read about. It took me awhile to connect with April's character in this book so I was pleased that I connected with Marthe's character and her story right away. Marthe is really what kept me reading! I loved how Gable was able to put Marthe's story together in such away that it kept me wanting to read to just put one more piece in the puzzle.

This book is a debut novel and I think that Gable shows a lot of promise with this book. The setting is fantastic. The book took a little bit of time to get into but once it got going, it really got going! I loved how Gable was able to tie everything together!


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