A Parisian Categorie

I had two books set in Paris languishing on my shelves so I decided to cross the English Channel for this category. I thought I had planned my transition quite cleverly by moving from "Lost in Good Book" to "A Parisian Categorie" with a novel entitled The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. That turned into a bit of a misstep as Ms. George wrote that rarest of books, a book that I put down, stopped reading, and moved on. Something I hardly ever do. 

My mistake, not hers, I thought it was going to be a completely different book, Nina George is a good writer and judging by the number of positive reviews on Amazon--a lot of fans, but this book wasn't the prescription I needed. The main character, the owner, has a floating bookstore set on a barge in the River Seine, he is styled as a literary apothecary dispensing the very "books" that would counteract the hardships of life for his clients, he was said to have an intuitive feel for the exact book that a readers needs.

Forgive me, I expected the book to be about the bookstore, his clients, and the books he recommended as cures. Instead, I left the main character reminiscing about an ancient love affair with a married woman-- the memory involved riding naked and bareback on horses--there was also a mention of sand-- in the South of France. I didn't find it romantic I found it chafing. Her main character left Paris behind in the space of a few chapters and I sold my book back to Half Priced Books. 

I will use Lunch in Paris and The Paris Wife to spring off into two separate categories. Lunch in Paris will serve as a springboard for a category about chefs and the restaurant world starting with a most famous transplanted- Parisian wife, Julia Child. The Paris Wife will serve as a springboard for a category of books that feature "wife" as part of the title.  

I have decided to read these categories in tandem because I think I will need to give the restaurant/chef category a break so that I can keep it fresh.

Murder in the Sentier by Cara Black (Aimee Leduc #3)

2023 has turned out to be a lot. In times of stress I read a lot BUT I don't retain a lot...it has been that kind of a year to put it mildly.

I had been enjoying this series but I didn't really care for this book. The character is going cold on me, not sure why. I will give this series one more shot, but perhaps it is time to say adieu to Aimee Leduc.

Murder In Belleville by Cara Black (Aimee Leduc #2)

The second in this series that takes the reader around the neighborhoods of Paris. There are a lot of competing plot lines and this reads more like a thriller than a mystery but I'm liking Aimee Leduc thus far--no matter the opinion of various GoodReads reviewers. I will continue on... although for a girl who claims to be a cyber crime investigator there is no evidence of this to date--these have all involved murder and violence.

Murder In The Marais by Cara Black (Aimee Leduc #1)

The first book in the Aimee LeDuc private investigation series. This series involves the investigative team of Aimee and her partner Rene. I started this series because each novel features a different Parisian section. It starts with The Marais or the old "Jewish Quarter". A mix of WWII history and present day (1990's anyway) Parisian mystery, murder, and other adventures. This series gets a beating on GoodReads but so far I like it.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

This book had been on my shelf for a long time. It is about Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley Richardson, a lot of people are fans of Hemingway--I am not one of them--neither as a man or as an author. As I started reading I kept having the feeling that I had read this before, but as it is a good read, in spite of the Hemingway element I read it again, maybe? Hadley and Ernest had a whirlwind romance and marriage, they left the States and set sail for Paris, where they become a part of the "Lost Generation". He cheats, they divorce, they both remarry...but the love remained. This is a very good well written book. 

My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme

I got this book as a Christmas present back in 2006. I'm not quite sure why I never read it, it languished on my shelf for close to twelve years. As many aspiring female chefs do I consider Julia Child to be an inspiration and a role model in so many ways--not just as a chef. Julia was a tall, large-boned, "handsome" woman who could have easily slid into the role of an American housewife in Paris when her husband Paul was stationed there in 1948 after WWII. I admire her because it just never seemed to occur to her that she couldn't conquer Paris, master French Cooking, get accepted at the Cordon Bleu, teach classes, write books, or become a TV personality. An ordinary woman with the spirit to become quite extraordinary. 

I'll See You in Paris by Michelle Gable

A fitting title to begin this category. In the two books I have now read by this author--she has taken fictionalized spins surrounding some real life mysteries. This book imagines an alternate storyline surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the Duchess of Marlborough, Gladys Spencer-Churchill, a complex mysterious woman whose real life story could fill numerous books.

Lunch in Paris, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard

In Paris for a weekend visit, Elizabeth Bard sat down to lunch with a handsome Frenchman--and never went home again. This memoir swirls around two passionate love affairs-- her new beau and French cuisine. WITH RECIPES Who wouldn't want to read this book. At some point I will get around to trying her recipes and I will post my results in Gourmappetit. 

A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

This is the second book I've read by Ms. Gable, it makes me wonder, in a universe filled with books set in Paris why did I pick two by the same author? Who knows--I expect I was intrigued by the storylines. This novel imagines a tale around the fascinating true story of a treasure stocked Parisian apartment, left abandoned, and only opened for the first time in 70 years. The treasures included a portrait of Marthe de Florian, a famous courtesan, by the Belle Epoch master, Giovanni Boldini, along with love letters, taxidermy, furniture, and a stuffed original Mickey Mouse. You can find pictures of the apartment on line. The real-life story is fascinating enough. 

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

One of the two books already on my shelf and yes it had been there for awhile. Given its subject matter and the author I knew it was going to be sad and hard to read. The novel is set on the eve of the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940 and it tells the stories of men and women thrown together as they flee Paris ahead of the Nazi forces. The impact of the Occupation is told in interweaving storylines. It is a compelling, harrowing, sad read.

Hi! I'm Debbie. Here at Categorically Well-Read I give an extra layer to the reading life. Learn more about me, check out my current category of books, submit your own suggestion, or check out my latest post.