Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I'll See You in Paris by Michelle Gable

When looking for a new book to read, I always head to a few of my favorite sources: Instagram, the New York Times Best Seller List and Goodreads.  I've also been known to browse my local chain bookstore to snap pictures of interesting new releases.  When I'm done browsing, I add the interesting books to my library queue and wait for them to come.  By the time I actually get the book, I've very often forgotten what its about or where I found it.  This is one of those books.

Summary:  It's fall 2001.  Annie Haley is a recent college grad with no job, few prospects and a loss for what to do next.  Except for marry her new boyfriend, and handsome Marine deploying to Afghanistan.  Since she has nothing but time on her hands, she agrees to a girls trip with her Mother, who has business in a small town outside London.  On the even of their departure, Annie spies her mother holding a mysterious book, lost in thought.  On a whim, Annie smuggles the book away from her mother and begins to read a mystery about a Lost Duchess.  As Annie and her mother settling into a local inn, Annie's interest in the mysterious book grows as she learns that it takes place in the same small town in which she is staying.  Annie soon finds a talkative local who gives her more detail about the Lost Duchess, but also tells her the story behind the story.

My Thoughts:  I didn't expect to like this book, and almost didn't continue reading it after the first 50 pages.  For some reason, I took an instant dislike to Annie.  She came across whiny, unmotivated and self-centered....or basically a general stereotype for millennials.  As a millennial myself, I had no interest in Annie's journey.

And then the story within the story began, and I was hooked.  I was absolutely enthralled by Mrs. Spenser, a bawdy, crazy, completely captivating old woman who drove not only the plot but was the puppet master of everything she encountered for decades.  I could have done without the rest of the story and would have been quite happy with a fake biography of Mrs. Spenser.

The central plot (or at least the one I found most interesting) in "I'll See You in Paris" was the developing story of Pru and Win, two young people who's lives are forever changed by their association with Mrs. Spenser.  Their discovery of self as the story unfolds - both from a viewpoint in the 1970s and via Annie's perceptions in 2001 - was brilliantly done.  The characters were believable, interesting, and flawed in such a way that I wanted them to succeed.

Rating:  It's worth a library visit

Also Read By Author:  Nothing

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