The Paris Girl - Natalie Meg Evans
Reading Challenge Category: A book set in the 1920s
Paris, 1920s. Tatiana Vytenis has worked hard to leave her past behind. Once a ruined Russian princess in hiding, she is now a sought-after model and engaged to Gérard de Sainte-Vierge – a handsome, if occasionally overbearing, aristocrat. With the Sainte-Vierge heirloom ruby sparkling on her finger, Tatiana feels as though she should be happy. Not long ago she was penniless and now she’s about to become a marquise. But fate still has a final hand to play. One night in a bohemian café in Montparnasse, Tatiana discovers she’s been the unknowing plaything of the Sainte-Vierge family. Hidden beneath their genteel exteriors, Gerard and his brother have a secret darker side, and her darling fiancé will gladly ruin Tatiana’s life to save his own reputation. As Tatiana’s situation becomes ever more desperate, she crosses paths with an unlikely guardian angel. Serious, dark-haired Regan Dortmeyer is an American in Paris – a war photographer running from his own hard knocks in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. He’s no fancy French nobleman, but Regan has seen the lengths to which a wicked man like Gerard will go. As the consequences of her disastrous engagement threaten to swallow Tatiana up, he might be the only one who can save her now…
Well, this certainly made me step outside of my comfort zone. Not only was it a book set in the 1920s, an era which I have never read before. It was also a book set in Paris; again, I don’t think I have ever read a book set in Paris before and certainly not 1920s Paris. It was certainly a culture shock to get used to the ways of life, the terminology and even just the author’s writing style. I somehow naively expected a sort of guide to the genre. So if I came across a term that may be commonplace to the era I was expecting it to be explained. However, maybe people who read these books regularly know what things mean and don’t need them explaining to them like they are a dummy like me! So, to begin with, I did feel as if I were a bit out of my depth, however, once I got into the flow of reading I was able to go with it a little and skip over a few things that I felt I didn’t necessarily need to understand completely. I did enjoy reading about Tatiana’s life, and I did get embroiled up in the world of mannequins and 1920s Paris. There were undoubtedly more exciting parts to the book than others. Some felt longwinded and unnecessary, and others I felt more engrossed in. As the story progressed the parts that I felt absorbed in certainly outweighed the more dull parts. By the end of the book, I was quite sad to be leaving these characters behind as I’d read the book quite slowly and really felt like they’d become part of my life. I was actually quite shocked by the abrupt ending. The book had been so long, and we’d been given so much detail into everything even the minute detail of clothing that the finish left me a little deflated that it didn’t dissect how each Tatiana and Regan felt about what was happening, it just ended. Overall, I enjoyed reading the book in the end. I’m not sure I would read any more of this type of genre. I think I will leave it as a one-off. It was fascinating to see how much things have changed over the last 100 years and this is precisely why I chose this as a category for the reading challenge as we have now entered an entirely new 20s!