It’s such a pleasure today to be joining the blog tour and sharing my review of A Perfect Paris Christmas by Mandy Baggot: published as an ebook by Aria Fiction on 3rd September, it’s now available for kindle, for Kobo, via Google Play and from iBooks. From 1st October, the paperback will be available too – but you can preorder now. My thanks to Vicky at Aria for the invitation and support, and for my advance reading e-copy (provided via netgalley).
Can you believe it’s five years since I read a Christmas book from Mandy? That was One Wish in Manhattan – you’ll find my review here, and I can still remember how very much I enjoyed it. I’ve only recently rediscovered the absolute joy of reading her books – I read and reviewed My Greek Island Summer back in April (you’ll find my review here) and entirely loved it. And if Mandy has a rather special touch with her Greek books for summer reading, I know she also writes rather wonderful Christmas books. And is there anyone who wouldn’t want a trip to Paris at that special time of the year? I was really looking forward to this one…
United in grief. Pushed apart by tragedy.
Keeley Andrews knows more than anyone that you only live once. So when she receives an invitation to spend two weeks in Paris, all expenses paid, she jumps at the chance.
Ethan Bouchard has had the worst eighteen months of his life. He’s ready to give up on everything, including his hotel chain. So when he meets Keeley, it simply isn’t the right time.
As Keeley and Ethan continue to bump into each other on the romantic Parisian streets, they can’t help but wonder whether this is fate telling them to let go of the past and leap into the future…
Head to Paris this Christmas and fall in love under the lights of the Eiffel Tower with best-selling author, Mandy Baggot.
Is it possible, do you think, for a book to be too Christmassy? No, of course it isn’t – well, maybe just a little, when you’re reading it in September. But this book was just wonderful, overflowing with love and everything that makes Christmas the most special time of the year, all set against a beautifully drawn Paris backdrop that’s so well done that you could easily use it as a guidebook for your next visit. It also has one of the best blurbs ever, that tells you very little about the story other than the promise of a rather special romance between two damaged people. And that’s something that always makes a book rather difficult to review, but I’ll do my best!
It all starts with a penguin. Well, it doesn’t really, it starts a year earlier with an event and its aftermath that has a massive impact on the lives of both Ethan, managing a chain of hotels in Paris, and Keeley who must just be the most loveable heroine the author’s ever created. We see first how dramatically her life has changed, protected and cosseted by her mother (and in a book filled with superb characters, her parents will linger long in the memory, the relationship both very touching and extremely funny). An expenses-paid Paris break is really just what Keeley needs – although I think I might have thought twice about taking along best friend Rach. The author’s books often feature a character who sets my teeth on edge a little (my age, I think), but who helps bring such a lot of the humour.
So, Paris, Pepe the penguin – and the beginnings of a romance that helps both characters move on from the sadness that defines them. And what a perfect romance it is, one of those that fills your heart and makes you hurt inside, just willing everything to turn out as it should and give them both a happy ending. But before that hoped-for happy ending they both need to go through the mill a bit, resolve a few massive issues and reveal more than a few life-changing secrets. The story is excellent – the emotion and the humour just so perfectly balanced, a real roller-coaster with two characters who you love more with every page that turns.
The supporting characters are fantastic too – from the bit players like Ethan’s harried assistant Noel and standoffish concierge Antoine to the ones who play a considerably larger part in the story. I’ll mention Jeanne and Bo-Bo – but I’ll leave it there so you can discover for yourself the lovely extra layer they add to the story. Even Rach managed to win me over – every over-the-top thing she does is because she cares, and she really touched my heart with her wish to find a man who could love her in her pyjamas.
This book is extremely funny, exceptionally touching, heartbreaking and filled with joy – and I loved every single moment of its glorious Christmassiness. And who doesn’t love spending time in Paris – especially in the snow, with Christmas just round the corner? It’s a story of fresh starts and new beginnings, that made me think about life a little and feel such a lot. And the story’s ending – I thought it was just absolute perfection. I just loved this book in every way – add it to your Christmas reading list now, you won’t regret it for an instant.
About the author
Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian.
Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.
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