By: Anita Hughes
Publisher: St. Martin's Press Publication Date: 10/4/2016
My Rating: 3.5 Stars "Isabel Lawson is standing on the balcony of her suite at the Hotel Crillon as she gazes at the twinkling lights of the Champs Elysee and wonders if she's made a terrible mistake. She was supposed to be visiting the Christmas tree in the Place de la Concorde, and eating escargots and macaroons with her new husband on their honeymoon. But a week before the wedding, she called it off. Isabel is an ambitious Philadelphia finance woman, and Neil suddenly decided to take over his grandparents' farm. Isabel wasn't ready to trade her briefcase for a pair of rubber boots and a saddle. When Neil suggested she use their honeymoon tickets for herself, she thought it would give her a chance to clear her head. That is until she locks herself out on the balcony in the middle of winter.
Thankfully her neighbor Alec, a French children's illustrator, comes to her rescue. He too is nursing a broken heart at the Crillon for the holidays. With a new friend by her side, Isabel is determined to use her time in the city of lights wisely. After a chance encounter with a fortune teller, and a close call with a taxi, she starts to question everything she thought was important. Christmas in Paris is a moving and heartwarming story about love, trust, and self-discovery. Set during the most magical week of the year, the glorious foods and fashions
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Anita Hughes' CHRISTMAS IN PARIS is a magical story of two people meeting by chance in one of the romantic places. Unexpected wintry magic from two broken relationships for a bit of indulgence. A Christmas holiday, luxury style, romance, and lots of surprises. Isabel had always dreamed of a winter wedding with great bouquets of white and red, from Vera Wang to a Bentley waiting, with the guests in brightly colored cashmere wraps. A winter wedding for three hundred people while overseeing a multimillion-dollar merger. Recently Neil announced he planned to quit Bell and Logan. He wanted to know if she wanted to take over the farm for his grandparents since they were retired to Jupiter. He was so excited. She did not share his dreams. Even though the farm was nice, she would have to rent an apartment in the city and they would only see each other on the weekends.Plus there were too many things drawing them apart. She tells her mom, Adele, they are canceling the wedding three days before the date. Just not what she thought it would be. She is twenty-eight. It was her idea but Neil went along with it. Neil recommended Isabel, could use the plane ticket and stay in the suite at the Hotel de Crillon. It was too late to cancel and it would be a pity for an eight-hundred-foot suite with a private butler and view of the Champs-Elysees to go to waste. They had tickets to Swan Lake at Opera de Paris, and she could see the Christmas displays at the Galleries Lafayette. He was being generous. Then upon return, it would be the new year and they could put all this behind them. That was the plan. After more thought, her boss didn’t expect her back until January. She loves Paris and after she was accepted to Wharton business school and then landed a job at Philadelphia’s JP Morgan Chase, she was too busy trying to climb the ladder to be senior analyst by thirty—so she had not taken the time. This may work. She was paid to think ahead, and she is good at her job, but she just can’t seem to get marriage, right. Isabel was also engaged to Rory before Neil. She is hopeless at love. She even had a journal she kept during the engagement and she begins reading her entries. When in Paris she finds herself staying next door to another suite. Alec is supposed to be at the Crillon hotel with his fiancee (as well), whom he should be marrying shortly. However, she decided to take off for Australia with a handsome cricket player. Alec is staying at the Crillon since the room was already paid for as a wedding present as a contribution from the would-be father-in-law, plus it was nicer than his flat. Alec is a children’s book illustrator. He says Paris is like, a fickle woman, she’s either unbearably hot or intolerably cold. His mother is British and married a Frenchman. He lived in Paris most of his life. His publisher thinks he should mingle with mothers who can afford to pay ten thousand euros for a splash of orange. A fortune teller insisted on reading Isabel’s fortune. She said she would receive a sparkling gift that had little real value. Then she said she would receive a brightly colored gift that would come to have great value. She said Isabel was going to fall in love and marry a French aristocrat. Isabel is all about name dropping, status, and material possessions (which is "over the top", the entire book). Alec reiterates the French think Americans are all movie stars or athletes and Americans believe the French are all direct descendants of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI. Things begin happening. Alec and Isabel begin exploring the beautiful twinkling Parisian city, then Isabel wants him to escort her to a ball where she meets some count, Antoine and thinks he may be perfect. Her french aristocrat. She thinks he may be the one. But is it possibly Alec? With a little help from a fortuneteller, the witty guy next door and two honeymoon suites in one of the most romantic and magical cities at Christmas time, Isabel may have her answer to the puzzling question of love. A charming magical romance holiday story. I am not a romance fan and do not read a lot of women’s fiction; however, I focused my blog on 10 books for Christmas. Between the front cover, the snow, and the magic of Paris, this was one of my picks. Of course, I am living variously through the book, sitting here in West Palm Beach, (top 15th floor overlooking the water) with temperatures in the high 90’s (hot and humid) and waiting on the impending news of Hurricane Matthewwhich is predicted to hit Palm Beach tomorrow with devastating results, while waiting for the mandatory evacuation. The festive wintry Hallmark snowy Christmas scene in glamorous Paris definitely took my mind off of the approaching storm. Mixed with luxury, divine food and wine, and extraordinary places. Even though Isabel was quite immature, materialistic, and naïve, she was not one of my favorite characters, but loved Alec and Gus! My first book by the author, and look forward to reading more.
"Christmas. Paris. Star-crossed lovers. Yup, it’s the perfect holiday read!" ―Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dashing Through the Snow
"Gorgeously festive and evocative, this is a compelling story filled with characters you truly care about. I adored it." ―Melissa Hill, USA Today bestselling author of The Charm Bracelet
"I was instantly transported back to France, once again strolling the Champs-Élysées, taking in the scents, the sights, the taste of Paris. It doesn’t get any better than falling in love in La Ville-Lumiére, the City of Light, during the most magical time of year. Delicious, delectable, and delightful!" ―Donna Kauffman, USA Today bestselling author of Starfish Moon
"Hughes bring her signature combination of haute couture and high-society romance to Paris, adding a touch of magic and allowing us to live vicariously through Isabel as she falls in love in the most glamorous city in the world―and buys labels most women can only dream about. A charming modern-day fairy-tale romance."―Kirkus Reviews
"Anita Hughes does it again in her latest novel: a love affair with Paris during the most magical time of year, starring a likable, slightly naive heroine everyone is rooting for." ―Booklist
About the Author
Anita Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia and had a charmed childhood that included petting koala bears, riding the waves on Bondi Beach, and putting an occasional shrimp on the barbie. Her writing career began at the age of eight, when she won a national writing contest in THE AUSTRALIAN newspaper, and was named "One of Australia's Next Best Writers." (She still has the newspaper clipping.)
She received a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Bard College, and attended UC Berkeley's Masters in Creative Writing program.
Her debut novel MONARCH BEACH was released in June 2012, followed by MARKET STREET and LAKE COMO in 2013. FRENCH COAST and ROME IN LOVE were released in 2015.
ISLAND IN THE SEA will be released in April 2016 and SANTORINI SUNSETS will be released in August 2016. Buy the Book
She lives in Dana Point, CA with her family, where she interrupts her writing to watch the glorious sunsets. Read More