I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
What is it about Paris and stories about people with screwed up love lives?
I'm a fan of Juliet Blackwell, who up until this point has focussed solely on cozy mysteries (two of them paranormal). I bought this, her first stand-alone, on faith and I wasn't disappointed.
As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle’s side. But since then, living back in the States, she has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband.
As her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity: return to the magical city of her youth to take over her late uncle’s shop. But she realizes the city also holds secrets about her family that could change her forever, and that locked doors can protect you or imprison you, depending on which side of them you stand.
I feel like I've been to Paris, a city I've yet to see, (France, yes - Paris, no) and the people came to life off the page. The story was absorbing and I felt like it moved along at a brisk pace and in spite of Genevieve's aloofness and disconnectedness, I liked her and her neighbors. Even her soon-to-be-ex is ultimately a sympathetic character: although he isn't likeable, he's neither an ass nor a doormat.
There are three alternating time-lines and 3 different POVs - 4 if you count Genevieve's younger self - and normally I can't stand this. When I realised it was a device in this story I admit to feeling instantly hostile. But Ms. Blackwell not only made it work, she had me hooked by the end of the first flashback. It also helps that it isn't a constant every-other-chapter thing either: it was often enough to keep me absorbed, but not so often that I felt like I was being yanked back-and-forth.
The ending was great; not overly climatic but realistic. Genevieve's moment at Sacre Coeur had tears collecting in the back of my eyes and I'm generally immune to such things.
All in all, it was a great book well written; one I'll read again someday when I need to visit Paris in my mind.
P.S. - no romance in this one.