Review: Paris is Always a Good Idea by Nicolas Barreau

  

Rosalie had high hopes for her humble  wishing card shop in the middle of Paris. She had little idea a famous author would stumble in and change her world. She had absolutely no notion she’d have another gentleman stroll in … and rock her world. 

This charming book had me aahhing and mmmm’ing and sighing, as well as laughing with tears in my eyes. Barreau’s descriptions of Paris streets and pastries brought me back to my one and only trip abroad when I was in my twenties. 

The famous author’s past offered the reader a cozy mystery and provided opportunities for Barreau to flesh out Rosalie’s character. Though Rosalie was primarily an artist and shopkeeper, we got to know her better through her mystery-solving endeavors and interactions with other characters. 

My favorite part of this book was finding out about a secret love story in addition to the obvious one. Paris once, Paris twice, Paris always. 

-calliope

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Review: Rome in Love by Anita Hughes 

  
I loved Lake Como by Anita Hughes and was so excited for another great summer read set in Italy. 

Rome in Love is the story of Amelia Tate, movie star on location in Rome. She meets a handsome man, and then needs to resolve a couple of challenges: one, she told him she was a maid; two, she has a fiancé; three, she keeps drinking too much champagne and passing out in the handsome man’s presence. 

Hughes includes flashbacks to Audrey Hepburn via letters from Hepburn to a friend, and she also writes a subplot involving a princess who falls in love with someone other than the pre-arranged Prince-to-be. 

I loved the on-location descriptions and “seeing” the sights with Amelia, Philip, Sophie, Theo, Veronique, and Greg. Traveling in Italy was wonderful — and no jet lag for me! 

While I enjoyed all the threads of Rome in Love, it could have used some editing. It seemed every chapter began with a description of someone’s attire, with lots of brand-name-dropping… and most chapters ended with Amelia falling asleep. Too repetitive for me. Also, how many times does a young woman get drunk, pass out, and find herself in the same strange man’s apartment before she decides to stop? She was in a foreign country! I had to suspend my disbelief just a little too much.  

Nonetheless, I was so enamored with the romantic gazes over espresso and the delicious food descriptions that I’ll be reading the next Anita Hughes novel, for sure!

-calliope

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