Everett W. (Mount Pleasant, SC)
This is a very impressive debut novel. The writing is excellent and insightful. Although I suppose it will be classified as a "women's book," as a male reader I found it engaging. It primarily is both an imaginative romance and a paean to Paris both contemporarily and during the belle epoch, all from the viewpoint of two very different women. The author handles these alternative histories especially well and she appears very knowledgeable about the current art auction industry. I already have highly recommended A Paris Apartment to my wife and her book club, who I think will love this book.
Roberta M. (Saratoga, CA)
The Paris Apartment
The Paris Apartment reminds me of several books I have read recently with the theme of Paris. The book shifts from current time, with a Sotheby's appraiser overseeing an apartment filled with antique furniture. What is intriguing is not the furniture itself but the story behind how the woman who lived in the apartment during the late 1800s came to own the treasured pieces.
The book is interesting from a collector's standpoint but the story is light and interesting enough to be a good beach or travel read. It's not weighty enough for a book club read, the characters are not well developed or particularly interesting.
I would still recommend it for a fun read set in The City of Light.
Jean G. (Rockford, IL)
More than just a place
The Paris Apartment has numerous themes running through which make it a book readers might not want to put down. The majority of the story is set in Paris. Readers will be totally immersed in the lifestyles, culture, and habits of the French.
April, the protagonist, has a "not too common" profession as an auction house expert (a name she prefers to a mere auctioneer) that provides an opportunity to get the inside story of that profession.
The apartment defines her major reason for the business trip to Paris but sets off numerous sidetracks.
She delves heavily into French history with flashbacks taken and read from a client's journals about the client family history. This is not confusing.
Family issues threaten and themes of romance and friendship are intertwined with history and culture. The author chooses to plant us all firmly in Paris by her overuse of the French language in many sentences and especially in conversation.. I always felt I was missing something as it happened frequently and that feeling never left me. She is saved by her multi-themed story with well developed interesting characters.
Book clubs may enjoy discussing how other countries differ from ours regarding family values.
Shirley L. (Norco, LA)
An Interesting Tale of Two Women
Michelle Gable does an excellent job of telling the parallel stories of Marthe, a renowned courtesan of Paris' Belle Epoque, and April, a very modern furniture appraiser. Although life has changed greatly in the past one hundred and twenty years, love, the bond between parent and child, the desire to feel important, and the relationship between the sexes remains much the same. The story kept my interest and the final fourth of the book was a page turner. Some further editing in the middle third of the book would move this story from very good to excellent. I would definitely read future works by this author.
Kathryn K. (Oceanside, CA)
A Popcorn Read
If you enjoy "Chic Lit", grab your favorite munchie (mine is popcorn) and your beverage of choice. A Paris Apartment, by MIchelle Gable may be the book for you. Light, somewhat comical and a quick read, the author dishes up April's story. No spoilers in this review however. There is an apartment that been closed for decades filled to the brim with 19th to early 20th century treasures; a mysterious woman and her journals; an artist know for his "swish" portraits; a handsome, sexy French man and unhappily married April. Well, you get the idea - it's Chic Lit! Gable manages to pull it together in this first novel. But it was disappointing to this reader. I had wanted a tome that might at least give me some insight into those antique treasures. It might work for a long flight or a week at the beach. It is definitely a popcorn read.
Debra V. (Kenosha, WI)
A Paris Apartment
Warning: Contains plot spoilers:
A Paris Apartment's first chapter seemed to promise an interesting story. The book moves from the present and back to 1898 describing the life of April -- the American Appraiser, and Marthe' the French Courtesan. Frankly Marthe' was not an appealing character and the language used in describing her life never seemed authentic. The relationship that Marthe' has with the painter Boldini -- which seems to be the basis of the book -- never gets interesting..... April's relationship with her husband is the same way -- and April's night with Luc wasn't sexy or meaningful -- she was drunk and slept with him, basically imitating her husband who had his own drunken one night stand. Connecting all the relationships of the past at the end still left me confused about why the family would leave the apartment full of treasures untouched for so many years.
Cheryl W. (Crosby, MN)
This book is being compared to The Paris Wife and Moulin Rouge. The only thing in common is the book setting in Paris. The story moved right along and was interesting. I read to the end because I did want to know the end of the story. Too much French but it will do well in the mass market.