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Irritating at times
The story of Marthe de Florian is fascinating and certainly made me run to do some research about the apartment and Boldini, Marthe's lover. The author has clearly done her research about the history of the period and portrays the sumptuous elegance and extravaganza of Marthe's world convincingly. I was also introduced to the wonderful paintings of Boldini, with the lavish swish of the fabulous fabrics and the stylish people of his portraits.
Michelle C. (Atlanta, GA)
Paris Chick Lit
It was also interesting to read about the world of top end auctions through the story of April Voigt. However, I found her an irritating, rather superficial person and it was difficult to care much about her dilemma with her failing marriage, especially as Troy was such a one dimensional character.
I wish the author had done as much research about modern day France and spoken French. I found the errors in the snippets of French distracting. For example, the solicitor, Luc, who is French would surely not use a masculine adjective when asking April if she is ready. Similarly, the term for having a drink was wrongly translated by April who was supposed to be fluent in French. Surely a good proofreader would pick up these mistakes.
I wanted to read this book, as I love Paris and all things French. I also thought the art/furniture appraiser/auction house piece would be interesting to read and learn about. I read the book and found it to be entertaining, although as a whole, it was a little light and frankly predictable to me. I knew the first time Luc was presented to us in the book that April would have an affair of some sort with him, and I doubt I was the only one. Also, I found the character Marthe to be a little over the top and therefore contrived. I enjoyed how the book took me to some of my favorite places in Paris. For a light summer read, it works, but I think comparisons with The Paris Wife are incorrect the two books are in different leagues.
Kay D. (Strongsville, OH)
Blending Real Life and Fiction
i was fascinated by the premise of this book - a Paris apartment found that had been abandoned over 40 years previously. I recalled a recent news story about the same and discovered that this book was, indeed, based on fact.
Wendy R. (Woodinville, WA)
A Paris Apartment
Michelle Gable does a wonderful job of taking those facts and weaving them into two fictional stories - one focusing on April Vogt and taking place in present day and the other spinning the tale of Marthe, the original owner of the apartment. She creatively moves back and forth between the stories and time periods while linking the two women in many ways.
This is an engaging read and keeps the reading turning the pages. The time spent in the past - the Belle Époque - was some of the most fascinating time spent. One can hear the sounds and smell the smells of the Paris of the time. Recommend this for a brief escape into two other fascinating lives.
Michelle Gable's, A Paris Apartment, is an excellent read for anyone who loves art, history and romance. The novel takes you into the life of April Vogt, a furniture specialist. She is sent to Paris to appraise the furniture and belongings discovered in an apartment in Paris. The apartments contents are like discovering jewels of a treasure chest. The main character is very dynamic with many personal and professional issues that keeps the readers interested and waiting to see what happens next. A major find at the apartment are a collection of journal entries by the apartments last occupant that take the reader into the world of 19th century Paris. The novel explores the life of a French woman and her struggles to survive in Paris in a world controlled by men.
Sue Z. (Cornelius, NC)
The Paris Apartment
The novel is original and unlike anything I have previously read. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who has an interest in historical fiction and art history.
This book is the ideal book to read curled up before a fire in winter or lying in the sun at the beach in summer. Like Paris itself, it's funny and sad, demure and sexy and altogether delightful. The two main characters, one of which we meet through her diaries, written a hundred years before, and the other a modern woman, consumed by her career. Despite the many years between them, it becomes apparent that they are beset by the same romantic problems involving forgiveness and fidelity. How this is worked out during the appraisal of the apartment's contents forms.
Mary H. (Phoenix, AZ)
Madame de Florian Collection
One small annoyance is the use of the word "smirk" used too frequently through the book. Maybe the editor could fix this
The characters are connected by interests, history, love and a certain amount of 'je ne sais quoi'. The author presents April Vogt or 'Avril' living in the present day but reading a diary from a prior century in hopes of adding some provenance to each piece from the Paris apartment that eventually will be auctioned. She eventually becomes more involved in the personal journals than in the actual furniture. The reader will be introduced to French culture, art, food, verse, landmarks and romance. The story is enjoyable, a good read that will hold your interest while allowing your imagination to travel.
Rosemary C. (Austin, TX)
A Pleasant Read
The premise of the book is a good one, mirroring an actual situation where a Paris apartment had been sealed up for many years with valuable treasures inside, is a good one. This was an enjoyable read, although at times the writing seemed a bit amateurish, and I certainly enjoyed the latter part of the book more than the first part. The author does a good job with the journal entries in transporting the reader to another time period.
Susan B. New Holland, PA (art lover and teacher)
A Paris Apartment
Even if you've never been to Paris you will be instantly transported there while reading The Paris Apartment. You may even learn a bit of French as there are several French phrases sprinkled throughout the story-It can be fun trying to decipher them via context which is fairly easy to do.
You will meet a cast of interesting characters, both American and French, male and female. I felt the characters were very well-drawn by the author and blessed with clever dialogue as they interact with one another.
The two main female characters are born a century apart so that the personality of the one living in the 19th century is revealed through her detailed diary recounting her numerous trysts which might either scandalize you or delight you-probably both as the humor sometimes made me laugh out loud.
This reader enjoyed The Paris Apartment and highly recommends it as entertaining and also educational pertaining to art, antiques and the city of Paris itself.