Mandy Baggot is one of those authors who delivers time after time – and her latest book, One Christmas In Paris, is no exception.
It has all the ingredients of the perfect chick-lit novel – it is warm and laugh-out-loud funny, while the characters feel real, loveable and engaging – but this story also has something a bit extra.
Here’s the blurb:
How many croissants does it take to mend a broken heart?
Ava and her best friend Debs arrive in Paris just as the snow starts to fall. The Eiffel Tower glitters gold, but all Ava can think about is Leo, her no-good, cheating ex.
Debs is on a mission to make Ava smile again, and as they tour the Christmas markets, and eat their body weight in pain-au-chocolat, Ava remembers there’s more to life than men… Until they cross paths with sizzling hot, oh-so-mysterious photographer Julien, with his French accent and hazelnut eyes that seem to see right inside her.
Ava can’t ignore the intense chemistry between them, but she can’t help but feel he’s hiding something. Her fingers have been burned before and she can’t forget it, especially when her ex, Leo, starts texting again. Can Ava really trust Julien – and what exactly is his secret?
Will Ava go home with a broken heart, or will she find true love in Paris?
Join Ava and Julien in the most romantic city in the world this Christmas, as they discover the importance of being true to themselves, and learn how to follow their hearts.
While this genre often touches on popular culture – with a nod to topical bands, ratings-winning tele-programmes, social media etc – they rarely, in my experience anyway, veer too much into real-life events.
Mandy Baggot changes that with this book; alluding to the devastating attacks in Paris alongside the more personal tragedy of our hero. While her writing about grief and grieving is incredibly poignant, it is not a depressing read – far from it. I found the book really uplifting.
She voices, much more eloquently than me, what I think many people felt in the weeks after the attacks; that you never know what’s going to happen in life and, as a result, you should seize the day and live it as best you can – as Ava and Julien find out.
I knew I would enjoy this book because I’ve loved her previous novels but One Christmas In Paris went beyond my expectations. If I wasn’t before, I think this officially makes me a “Bagg Lady”, as her fans her called.
Format: Kindle (out now).
My rating: 4.5.
Thank you to Bookouture for the copy (via NetGalley) in return for an honest opinion.