By now you would realise I was powerless to resist this cover when I saw it in my local bookshop. Definitely a Book You've Never Heard of But Just Have to Read. Despite the slightly cheesy looking cover there was an Eiffel Tower. An Eiffel Tower. Guaranteed buy and guaranteed read for me.
I'm having a bit of a busy reading month but I did want to slip in a quick Paris read so I can keep up with Paris in July. And I figured My Secret Guide to Paris would be a quick confection of a book. Something like a macaron, snaffled up in just a few bites. And indeed it was.
Twelve year old Nora lives in Brooklyn with her family. She has a very cool grandmother, an assistant fashion designer who travels to Paris twice a year. Grandma Sylvia rather predictably loves Paris, and has passed her love on to Nora, who has grown up hearing her wondrous tales of Paris, and reading Madeline. There is only one problem- Nora hasn't been to Paris, yet. Nora is obviously very keen to go, and she and her grandmother start to plan a trip to Paris. However, Grandma Sylvia dies unexpectedly before their trip. Nora despairs of ever getting to Paris.
It may not be too much of a spoiler to say that Nora does indeed still get to Paris. There are many delights to await Nora of course. Somewhat surprising for me but My Secret Guide to Paris gives us essential advice on Paris from the very first sentence.
"When you go to Paris," Grandma Syliva told me, "you must ask for a baguette de tradition."
I always do ask of une baguette de tradition, but it did take me several visits to realise this. At times I found Nora's voice a little annoying. Worldly wise beyond her years.
I was beginning to see that grief was like a rainy day. Sometimes the sadness was like a light mist round me, while other times it poured, mean and fierce.
And yet her mother is behaving like a child. Collecting dolls and having a ridiculous feud with her mother. But these are minor concerns really, because Paris is the star here.
It seemed to me, though, that in Paris, everything was simply better. The colors, brighter. The people, happier. The food, tastier.
Yep. Although I'm not sure that the people are always happier.
Naturally it's always exciting when a book is set somewhere you've been. There are many specific Parisian locations in My Secret Guide to Paris, and I had been to most of them. Of course they went to the Louvre. I was surprised by Nora's favourite painting. Le Jeune Mendiant. Not one that I remember seeing. Nora didn't mention that he was delousing himself...
My Secret Guide to Paris was exactly the perfect Paris book for me to read this weekend. Lisa Schroeder was a new author for me.
|French Bingo 2015
|Paris in July