Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Blog Tour: An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham

There's an old adage that is something along the lines of if you want to know the truth ask a drunk. For Sage Segal, a night out is enough to ruin a highly successful social media influencing career. If you want to keep your career then you probably should not reveal to the world that everything is fake, and that all the positive life messages you post don't reflect how you actually feel. Let's call it a career limiting move. In addition, it makes you a target for online trolls.

What Sage doesn't expect amongst all the vitriol is an email from an American man called Sam who claims to have the matching half of the locket that she was given by her late mother. She was left on a church doorstep in Paris at her birth, with only the locket and a scrap of paper saying her name. Given the toxicity at home, Sage takes the opportunity to go and visit Sam in Arkansas.

There Sage begins to learn the story of her grandmother, Dorothy. Originally from Arkansas, Dorothy went to New York and became a dancer. From there her friend Bessie invited her to come to Paris to dance, setting in motion a chain of events that she could never have dreamed of as a young girl on the farm.

On her first day in Paris, Dorothy meets an artist named Otto and they have an instant connection. Unfortunately, Otto is returning to Austria the next day so they only have that one day but they promise to meet again at the same time on the same day next year. But Europe in the late 1930's is not a safe place if you are Jewish, as Otto is.

When they are finally reunited, it as the Germans are invading Paris. As an American in Paris, Dorothy has more freedom than others and so she is asked to write a column that will give information about what is really happening in German occupied Paris, especially as there are Germans who frequent the club where she dances. At the same time, it is challenging to keep Otto out of the hands of the Germans.

I don't know about you but I find the role of influencers in modern social media kind of odd, and so I found it a bit difficult to relate to Sage. I did like that by the end there was clearly personal growth and a realisation about the way to be happy is to be true to yourself, but it took a while for me to relate to her. 

When I read dual timeline books it is normal for me to be more interrested in the historical story, and that was definitely the case here. I found Dorothy's story to be fascinating, although I did wonder if one person could take on all the different roles in the resistance that were portrayed here. Certainly made for a cracking, dramatic story though. I was glad that the author didn't make all of the most obvious story choices in telling Dorothy and Otto's story.

About the book

Paris, 1940: Walking through Montmartre that morning was like the eerie calm right before a storm. The roads were deserted. We carried on, arm in arm, and then finally, we saw them. Columns and columns of soldiers, spreading through the streets like a toxic grey vapour. ‘You must write about this,’ he whispered to me. ‘You must write about the day freedom left Paris.’

As Nazi troops occupy the City of Lights, American journalist Florence is determined to do everything she can to save her adopted home and the man she loves.

Florence had arrived in Paris in 1937 and on a beautiful summer’s day, met and fell in love with Otto, a Jewish artist from Austria, who had fled persecution in his homeland. But as swastikas are draped along the city’s wide boulevards, everything Otto was running from seems to have caught up with him.

Both Florence and Otto begin lending their talents to the Resistance, working to sabotage the Germans right under their noses. Florence’s society columns that, before the war were filled with tales of glamorous Parisian parties, now document life under occupation and hide coded messages for those fighting outside France for freedom. While Otto risks arrest in order to pin up the anti-Nazi posters he designs by candlelight in their tiny apartment.

But with every passing day, things become more dangerous for Otto to remain in Paris. If Florence risks everything by accepting a secret mission, can she ensure his survival so that they can be reunited once the war is over?

A sweeping wartime story that will capture your heart and never let it go. Fans of The Alice Network, The Lost Girls of Paris and My Name is Eva will be absolutely gripped from the very first page.

About the author

Siobhan Curham is an award-winning author, ghost writer, editor and writing coach. She has also written for many newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Guardian, Breathe magazine, Cosmopolitan, Writers’ Forum,, and Spirit & Destiny. Siobhan has been a guest on various radio and TV shows, including Woman’s Hour, BBC News, GMTV and BBC Breakfast. And she has spoken at businesses, schools, universities and literary festivals around the world, including the BBC, Hay Festival, Cheltenham Festival, Bath Festival, Ilkley Festival, London Book Fair and Sharjah Reading Festival.

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  1. I am a bit fuzzy about social media influencers. It's such a modern invention in terms of careers/jobs. I'm really curious about this book--more for the historical aspect. And the Paris setting. Sounds a bit like a mixed bag, but entertaining. Thanks for your great review, Marg.

  2. Social media can be the downfall of a career or relainship. People share way too much! I like the setting in Paris and I also enjoy dual timelines.

    1. I know what you are saying but I wonder about strengths of relationships that they can be destroyed on social media!

  3. This sounds good. I heard Susanna Kearsley speak a few years ago and she believes it is hard for an author of dual time line books to write the historical and contemporary stories so they are equally appealing. In addition to the fact that some readers (and authors!) like the historical parts better than the contemporary parts, the contemporary characters are often going through some kind of crisis or life change that may make them moody or less appealing. It was good food for thought!

    1. She would know, given how good she is at telling interesting stories in both strands of a story.

  4. This reminded me of that old, old movie An American in Paris, with Gene Kelly. Very different stories, and yet both begin with the same premise.

    1. How interesting! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Whenever I read books with dual timelines I also want to hurry up and get back to the historical setting. Sounds like a good story!

    1. That's usually the same for me too Iliana!