For a woman who might seem to have it all, there were a couple of blows that made her and her family decide that it was time for a change. Her mother died from cancer and then James herself was diagnosed with the dreaded C word. After treatment, the decision was made. The family sold up and moved to Paris for a year. For me, that sounds like an impossible dream!
In some ways, this book is almost a reflection of our modern times. The various chapters start with an essay that is a few pages long, and then the rest of the individual chapters are made up of various small snippets of daily life in Paris, many of them starting out as Facebook and Twitter updates. It does mean that whilst there is a definite beginning and end to the novel, there isn't really a narrative that links. It is rather that the same people appear in the pages - James herself, her Italian husband Alessandro and her children, 15 year old Luca and 10 year old Anna, as well as the in-laws and a revolving circle of friends.
Whilst living in Paris might be one of my dreams, as it was for Eloisa and Alessandro, not everyone was thrilled. Luca and Anna had to leave behind their schools and friends and start afresh at an Italian language school in Paris. To say that there were ups and downs during the year is an understatement. There were difficulties with language, with school and with friends. It might also be a bit confronting for the kids now to realise that some of the things that they said and experienced are now filling the pages of this book!
This book is primarily about the experience of giving yourself up to living in a new place, but it is also a picture of so much more. It is an inspection on family and marriage (not quite warts and all, but with some disagreements and affection clearly on show), on illness and death, food and fashion (especially lingerie), on love, on bad hair and on the difficulties of putting an overweight chihuahua on a diet.
The writing is delicious in many ways. There are lots of snippets about sensational (and not so sensational) food, observations about the different pace of French life and family, all of which are filled with humour and just the right note of poignancy.
Once you get used to the style of the writing, the book flies by, and I most certainly found myself smiling happily to myself as I shared the family's journey, even on a long and crowded train trip home that lasted a lot longer than normal. While everyone around me was getting grumpy, I was happily ensconced in Eloisa James' Paris.
After years of living vicariously for years through her romantic heroines, bestselling novelist Eloisa James takes a leap that most of us can only daydream about. She sells her house, leaves her job as a Shakespeare professor behind, and packs her husband and two protesting children off to the city of her dreams.
Grand plans are abandoned as she falls under the spell of daily life as a Parisienne -- exquisite food, long walks by the Seine, reading in bed, displays of effortless chic around every corner and being reminded of what really matters in a place where people seem to kiss all the time.An irresistable love letter to a city that will make you want to run away, PARIS IN LOVE is also a joyful testament to the pleasures of savouring life. ′I never did learn to live in the moment, but I did learn how to waste them. It was a glorious lesson.′