Carolyn Davenport-Moncel was born in Chicago and received her bachelor's degree in Communications from Loyola University. A former public relations executive, she is president of MotionTemps, LLC. She has placed stories in such publications as the Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Wired News, Int'l Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, and Working Mother. She has lived in Paris and currently lives in Lausanne, Switzerland with her husband and two daughters. Encounters in Paris is her first work of fiction. Discover her other works at www.carolynmoncel.com.
Encounters In Parisby Carolyn Moncel
Life is filled with random encounters and Ellery Roulet, a 35-year-old American PR executive living and working in Paris, has experienced enough of them to last five lifetimes. When betrayal, loss, mistakes, regrets and even acceptance enter Ellery's life at different times, she learns it is not what one experiences, but how one chooses to deal with those experiences… See more details below
Life is filled with random encounters and Ellery Roulet, a 35-year-old American PR executive living and working in Paris, has experienced enough of them to last five lifetimes. When betrayal, loss, mistakes, regrets and even acceptance enter Ellery's life at different times, she learns it is not what one experiences, but how one chooses to deal with those experiences that shapes the soul within. This bittersweet collection of tales shows just how messy and complicated life can be, and that sometimes there just aren't any neat and easy solutions at all.
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In the story, A Haunting in Courbevoie, Ellery visits a Catholic church because her mother, who lived in Chicago, had died that morning. "What Ellery needed most was absolution from the guilt of living her own life." She has so many regrets-her daughters had not known her mother and she herself had not kept her own promise to care for her mother. A chance encounter with a stranger and prayer leads to a defining moment in her life. In the story, A Brief Indiscretion, the author eloquently writes about matters of the heart. She provides incredible insight into what human relationships can be. After 15 years Ellery agrees to meet with an old love. An indiscretion does occur but this story is greater than the actual act. Ellery comes to terms with her husband's infidelities with surprising results. Until It's Gone is the story of Ellery and Julien's meeting and Some Birds of a Feather finds her divorced but paying tribute to her parents. Each story stands on it own. However, I found that after reading the first story I had to continue reading so that I could learn more about Ellery. The more I read the more I came to admire and respect her. I can only hope that there will be more stories about Ellery in the future. Ms. Moncel has crafted a special collection of stories. I highly recommend reading this book. I received this book free of charge from Review The Book and I give this review of my own free will
Encounters in Paris explores a few key moments in the life of Ellery Roulet. Set in Paris, the woman's life is turned topsy-turvy as a result of two letters. The rest of the stories cover the ripples caused by those initial two events, exploring Ellery's emotional state and focusing on the decisions that she makes. Described as a book of short stories, Encounters is more like a series of vignettes. What makes these scenes works is the author's ability to evoke emotion and create an ambiance with these short interludes; despite the limited amount of information given, I felt like I knew exactly what was going on, and I was connected to Ellery in those moments. There is something easily accessible about the experiences that are relayed; the setting of Paris is more incidental than anything else. With a few particulars altered, these stories may just as well have taken place elsewhere. Perhaps what is most remarkable about this work is its ability to pull you into each story. In a matter of two or three paragraphs, one is drawn into Ellery's life just as surely as one would tumble into the world of a much longer tale. What is implied is as important, if not more so, as that which is stated outright. It's an effective reflection of a world in which most of our communication is nonverbal, and a single action can convey a mountain of words. Ellery's actions certainly speak volumes about her development as a character. The book itself is only about twenty-seven pages long. I would have liked to have seen more scenes, as the everyday does as much to establish a character as do major life events. Additionally, the style took some getting used to. The sentences were a little overdone in terms of their content—that is, too much information was crammed in, and not necessarily in a logical manner. The attempts at lyricism felt forced, and the story flowed best when the author wasn't trying quite so hard. Given the length of this work, there is only so much that I can say. It is a quick read, and the snapshots are easy to fit into a short wait at the doctor's office or the spin cycle on your washing machine. I managed to complete it in the course of a single lunch break. For those who want something that is easy to put down and to pick back up, this just may be the right fit for you. Hide and Read (Review copy provided by the author)
This first publication by Carolyn Moncel consists of five short stories, which relate excerpts from the life of Ellery Roulet, an American living in Paris and working in public relations. She is married to a Frenchman and they have twin daughters. The first story begins with the delivery of three letters and the consequences that they have on the life of our heroine. She is preparing to take her twins to school and she is running late. Her day goes from bad to worse and her cosy existence is about to be turned upside down. In the second story we learn of the death of Ellery's mother in America and discover that a fear of flying is holding her back from going to the funeral, but a chance meeting with a lady in a church changes her mind. In the third story, an opportunity arises for a spot of revenge with an ex-boyfriend, and yet another life changing decision has to be made. The penultimate story sees Ellery preparing for her journey to the US, and the memories of how she and her husband met are brought to the surface. In the final story, Ellery has moved to Geneva for a month to take stock of her life and, with the help of a pair of fighting pigeons, she begins the healing process. The book concludes with a Q & A session with the author in which she explains her reasons for writing the collection, and explains the many similarities between herself and the main character in the book. A brief but nonetheless delightfully entertaining read.
Ellery Roulet is an American that decided to live in Paris after she graduated college and met a man that helped her decision to stay. Not too thrilled about moving back to Chicago where she grew up, she settled in and got married and had a set of twin girls. Successful and ambitious is a way to describe the Chicago native, but things began to crash when she loses her job, finds out her husband is having an affair and to add more pain to her life her mom dies. Encounters In Paris was a quick read because it is a novel with short stories based on the same character Ellery Roulet. It was a smooth and entertaining read for me and I enjoyed the flow of the book. I have to say the only disappointment was it ends so quickly and in order to know what happens next you have to get another book. It is overall well written and satisfied my thirst of a good read. Nicely done Carolyn.I'm looking forward to reading more. Anna Black AAMBC Book Reviewer
"The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live." - Flora Whittemore When you think of Paris, one of things that might cross your mind is romance, but the last thing Ellery Roulet is feeling is romantic. Ellery never imagined reading her mail would send her life in a downward spiral, but soon she realizes it was already headed that way. "Encounters in Paris" is described as a collection of short stories, but I would describe it as chapters in Ellery Roulet's life. Every short story involves Ellery coming to the realization of a situation in her life, and also understanding that life's solutions aren't so black and white. The author does an excellent job of engrossing readers in the language, atmosphere, and culture of Paris, also addressing topics such as infidelity, trust, and regret. Hopefully the author will continue Ellery's story, because I believe there is so much more waiting in the wings for the main character. Reviewed by: Orsayor