Title- The Paris Key
Author- Juliet Blackwell
Genre- Adult contemporary
POV- third person past tense for most of it and third person present tense for Angela’s portion in 1983
Trope- life transitions, healing
Steam level- 0/5
Cover– I thought it would be more upbeat because of the cover
Comps– Much Ado About You and The Book of Lost Names and The Cottingley Secret
As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle’s side. But since then, living back in the States, she has become more private, more subdued. She has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband.
Paris never really left Genevieve, and, as her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity: return to the magical city of her youth to take over her late uncle’s shop. But as she absorbs all that Parisian culture has to offer, she realizes the city also holds secrets about her family that could change her forever, and that locked doors can protect you or imprison you, depending on which side of them you stand.
ooh I’m hooked “You hold the key.” In the first chapter we learn that Genevieve is divorcing her annoyingly optimist husband and flying to Paris to take over her deceased uncle’s locksmith shop. She’s a copy editor, which I love … because books inside books … am I right? She needs a new path in life and I’m so hoping she finds what makes her happy in France.
Character Development- this is more of a character novel than plot driven
Best part- catacombs
What I would change- make the big revelation less predictable
“There are things worse than locked doors. It is the secrets they keep that threaten to destroy us.”
“Perhaps not all the doors need to be opened. But … I will leave that to you.”
Setting- Paris- and I could definitely feel it with the shops and cafes and food
Character goals/motivations- she didn’t have a strong goal other than figuring out how to keep her uncle’s shop open. Her actions weren’t super related to the goal. The rest of the story just kind of fell into her lap.
Theme- Self discovery
Vivid sensory descriptions-
Ethics/morals- terrorists bombing
Conflict/tension/obstacles- eh … not too many
Thoughts while reading-
Chapter 2- were taken back in time to when Genevieve is 14ish right after her mothers death. She visits FrancE for the first time and meets her then-alive Uncle for the first time as well. I guess I’m wondering why her own father and brother didn’t take care of her during this traumatic time in her life but shipped her away across the world.
Chapter 4- This chapter is from Genevieve’s mother, Angela’s, point of view before Genevieve was born. I’m guessing now that Genevieve will find out her true father is a Parisian she never knew about.
Chapter 6 shows a lot of her memories and backstories and the theme seems to be established as “crossroads in life” and making chocked of what step to take now.
Chapter 7- it seems as though when we switch to Angela’s story it changes to present tense to help the reader
Chapter 8- I love the sidewalk artists, they remind me of my semester living in Italy. I wish I knew Angela’s age during this time. She has a 7 year old back in the States, so can I guess 30ish?
Chapter 15- Pasquale also has a point of view now. Usually 3 is my limit so I wasn’t wanting or expecting this 4th but it was done very well with the confusion of Alzheimer’s.
Page 140- few aimless chapters
Page 175- slow burn with Killian. Is this friends to lovers? I’m wanting a step up in the romance.
Halfway- I love these mysterious, dark catacombs under Paris.
Page 228- this seems to be a novel based on a slow path of healing from a depressing point in her life of splitting from her husband. So far she’s doing this healing away in Paris and going back and forth between trying and purposefully avoiding to find the answers she seeks through her family
Page 252- frustrated that being strung along without any little answers left sprinkled or peppered as we go along.
Page 253- bored that half the chapters start the same way.
Ending- page 358- well, it ended a bit predictable and at times it felt a little preachy, but satisfying overall. There wasn’t really an antagonist and the big moment was a bit anti-climatic emotionally, but it was a pleasant story overall.