My dream one day is to go to Paris, so of course I love to read books set in or about this beautiful city! Although I wasn't crazy about these books, my love for Paris is still going strong.
The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash (2017)
Rachael is invited to the Paris wedding of her ex-boyfriend, Matthew, and while there, she realizes she needs to make some changes in her life.
Although Rachael is sweet, she was frustrating as a character - she's one of those characters that is just *too perfect*. More than one man is in love with her; she makes her own clothes that everyone mistakes for expensive couture; and she is offered jobs by people who don't even know her when she doesn't even have any experience. Plus, she spent 10 years taking care of her mother until she passed away. At 28, she is worried that she is too old to start over - please! I appreciated, though, that Rachael grew somewhat as a character through the story.
Anyway, the premise of a wedding in Paris is so romantic, and I loved the descriptions of the city. But I felt like the story didn't know what it wanted to be. It was sort of a romance, sort of about friendship and family, but it was also trying to incorporate this small-town feel. 3 stars
How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas (2014)
I have this idea in my head that Parisian women are elegant, chic, cultured, and sophisticated, so of course a book that proclaimed to teach me how to be more like that was very appealing. Unfortunately, this one was a huge miss for me.
There were some sections I enjoyed - ironically, if you know me, the parts about clothing and taking care of oneself resonated the most. Parisian women are simple with their clothes, preferring one stand-out piece, and nothing too revealing. They choose a signature perfume and don't rely greatly on plastic surgery. Natural beauty is most important.
However, that's really where my enjoyment ended. I wasn't crazy about the writing in this book. Sometimes it seemed there were more pictures than words. The chapters were very short, sometimes only a couple paragraphs, and the writing was trying to be... I don't know, elevated or high-class but came across as pretentious. My biggest problem is that I didn't really feel like the authors were describing specifically Parisian women in the book. The descriptions sounded like they could be any woman, anywhere. Having a bad day at work, not feeling like going to the gym - that's me, and I'm not from Paris. Perhaps I just didn't "get" this almost totally forgettable book. 2 stars