Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan

Paris by the Book

Liam Callanan

At once haunting and charming, Paris by the Book follows one woman's journey as her story is being rewritten, exploring the power of family and the magic that hides within the pages of a book.

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A missing person, a grieving family, a curious clue: a half-finished manuscript set in Paris. Heading off in search of its author, a mother and her daughters find themselves in France, rescuing a failing bookstore and drawing closer to unexpected truths.

Once a week, I chase men who are not my husband. . . .

When eccentric novelist Robert Eady abruptly vanishes, he leaves behind his wife, Leah, their daughters, and, hidden in an unexpected spot, plane tickets to Paris.

Hoping to uncover clues--and her husband--Leah sets off for France with her girls. Upon their arrival, she discovers an unfinished manuscript, one Robert had been writing without her knowledge . . . and that he had set in Paris. The Eady women follow the path of the manuscript to a small, floundering English-language bookstore whose weary proprietor is eager to sell. The whole store? Today? Yes, but Leah's biggest surprise comes when she hears herself accepting the offer on the spot.

As the family settles into their new Parisian life, they can't help but trace the literary paths of some beloved Parisian classics, including Madeline and The Red Balloon, hoping more clues arise. But a series of startling discoveries forces Leah to consider that she may not be ready for what solving this mystery might do to her family--and the Paris she thought she knew.

At once haunting and charming, Paris by the Book follows one woman's journey as her story is being rewritten, exploring the power of family and the magic that hides within the pages of a book.

Advance Galley Reviews

I so loved this book. The Madeleine references, a book my own daughter adored. The Red Balloon references, a book I’ll have to find and reread, a movie Ill have to watch again. It took me back to a Paris, a city that’s enchanting and overwhelming at the same time. I found myself both wanting Robert to be dead and then alive and I rode the emotional roller coaster with Leah. So many book references. An excellent book

Paris by the Book is a combination of mystery and the idea of starting over again, as well as a tribute to the City of Light itself. The city features prominently as Leah and her daughters decide to create a new life there in the wake of their old one, one in which Leah's husband and the girls' father has left them. Robert has disappeared with only few clues as to why, and Leah tries to piece together the reasons for his absence from their existence.

The first half of this book was pretty slow and I found it somewhat difficult to get through, but the pace gradually picked up and I wanted to find out what happened to Robert. While parts of the book were certainly charming (particularly the sites of Paris), it seemed to be a bit lacking in emotional depth. Daphne and Ellie showed little emotion even though their father was missing. Perhaps that was the result of not having a close relationship with him to begin with. Even though Leah was not overly happy in the marriage, she seemed somewhat emotionless about finding him or determining if he was dead or alive. Relocating her family following Robert's disappearance made it appear that she was simply moving on.

The book at a slow start, but what kept me engaged was needing to know what happened to Robert. The book picked up for me at the halfway mark and it felt much quicker to go through than the first half: maybe this is because, in the beginning, I did not really know Leah yet and was still trying to figure her out. To me, its a story about a grief journey and how it is different for everyone. The tone is rather sad, and not one of those books you pick up to brighten your mood. But, its a read that makes you think "what would you do in this position." You are also on the same journey with Leah and her daughters and you find that you silently fight for them. The concept was unique and I was not left disappointed when I finished. The ending suited the story. I would rate this book a 3 out of 5. I liked it, but its one that you have to be in a certain mood to read.

This book held promise at the outset: The narrator follows men who look like her husband, who has disappeared. Leah has moved to Paris with her two daughters to simultaneously leave behind their life in Milwaukee and chase after her husband. I should have given up on this book 50 pages in, but I hung in till 250 purely because I wanted to know what happened to her husband, but I found myself skimming and ultimately decided I didn't care enough to finish.

Could not get into this. More my problem than the book, it was quite intense.

Paris by the Book Liam Callanan This is a compelling story of loss, grief, suspense and healing. Of a family falling apart and putting itself back together. This is not a cozy feel-good read, it pulls you in and makes you a part of the story; part of the heartbreak and misery; welcoming the companionship and sense of family. I received this from Penguin's First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.

I don't really know what to make of this book. I'm not sure what I expected going into this, but this story was certainly more intense than I thought it would be. This book is beautifully-written, captivating, and mysterious. It sucks you in, and I read it pretty much in one sitting. It's a strange story, but definitely an interesting one as well. You won't want to stop reading until the mystery is solved. If you find the description even a little bit intriguing, I would recommend checking this one out.

Wonderfully absorbing read. Mystery, romance, totally enthralling. Loved this book.


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