The Paris Winter: A Novel

The Paris Winter: A Novel

3.8 10
by Imogen Robertson

See All Formats & Editions

Maud Heighton came to Lafond's famous Academie to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris, she quickly realizes, is no place for a light purse. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling decadence of the Belle Epoque, Maud slips into poverty. Quietly starving, and dreading another cold


Maud Heighton came to Lafond's famous Academie to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris, she quickly realizes, is no place for a light purse. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling decadence of the Belle Epoque, Maud slips into poverty. Quietly starving, and dreading another cold Paris winter, she stumbles upon an opportunity when Christian Morel engages her as a live-in companion to his beautiful young sister, Sylvie. Maud is overjoyed by her good fortune. With a clean room, hot meals, and an umbrella to keep her dry, she is able to hold her head high as she strolls the streets of Montmartre. No longer hostage to poverty and hunger, Maud can at last devote herself to her art.

But all is not as it seems. Christian and Sylvie, Maud soon discovers, are not quite the darlings they pretend to be. Sylvie has a secret addiction to opium and Christian has an ominous air of intrigue. As this dark and powerful tale progresses, Maud is drawn further into the Morels' world of elegant deception. Their secrets become hers, and soon she is caught in a scheme of betrayal and revenge.

Revealing a side of the city that few see, Imogen Robertson's The Paris Winter plunges into the darkness that lies beneath this glittering city of light.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Once the seeds of intrigue are planted, the scope of the book is expanded to encompass murderous plots, shady Parisian undersides, upper-class dealings, gems of history and gems – as in jewels. The women are heartwarming as friends and delightfully effective as crime fighters. With a twisty, well-crafted plot, this novel is rich in historical detail and robust with personality.” —Kirkus, starred review

“I must have breathed while reading THE PARIS WINTER, but I could not say when. Robertson's dark tale in the City of Light will haunt the reader long after closing its pages.” —Erika Robuck, Bestselling Author of Hemingway's Girl

“Rich as a ripened red wine, The Paris Winter intoxicates and satisfies the reader's darkest desires to be mysteriously entranced. With dazzling Belle Époque detail and nail-biting plot, Robertson stylishly paints a historical thriller of intrigue and treachery that will have you staying up late to the very last page drop. A compulsive read. I couldn't put it down.” —Erika Robuck, Bestselling Author of Hemingway's Girl

“Imogen Robertson has written an enthralling novel. With its beguiling characters, deliciously twisted storyline, and setting in a city that is sometimes seductively glamorous, sometimes shivery with menace, The Paris Winter is an absolute treat for lovers of historical fiction.” —Margaret Leroy, author of The Soldier’s Wife

“Deliciously chilling and dangerous. The plot and characters are absolutely mesmerizing, drawing you in to their world like the opium itself.” —Karen Maitland, author of Company of Liars

“The Paris Winter is a wonderful novel, an utterly transportive and richly detailed amalgam of historical fiction and spellbinding thriller. Imogen Robertson brings Belle Époque Paris vividly to life in all its light and shadow, beauty and squalor, glory and treachery.” —Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker

“Dramatic and teeming with intrigue, The Paris Winter is a richly detailed historical novel that both thrills and satisfies.” —Shelf Awareness

“A charming, fast-paced thriller” —People, Book of the Week

“Both a romantic novel and a thriller, in the best possible ways.” —Spencer Daily Reporter

“Paints a dark, evocative portrait of the turbulent era, highlighting the limits placed on women . . . instead of centering on a conventional love story like similar historical works, the dramatic, intriguing, richly detailed historical novel is held together by the tensile strength of the women's friendship.” —Shelf Awareness for Readers, starred review

“Robertson is skillful at conjuring up not only a twisty, gripping plot, but also compelling characters . . . these multidimensional characters and Robertson's descriptions of Belle Epoque Paris – even of rats in ancient, flooding cellars – make the reader want to visit, even for a day.” —BookPage

Library Journal
★ 10/01/2014
In Paris, as the end of 1909 approaches, Miss Maud Heighton is a dedicated student at the Academie des Beaux Arts. Struggling to uphold the standards of her English upbringing on ever-dwindling funds, Maud accepts the offer of respectable employment as a lady's companion to Monsieur Morel's sister. But not all is as it appears and Morel family secrets threaten Maud's safety more than poverty ever could. Robertson's ("Westerman and Crowther Mysteries") stand-alone historical is the complete package; her characters continue to grow and develop as they make decisions befitting past experiences; her vivid descriptions create a strong impression of a particular time and place; and her plot line is full of top-notch surprises. Various strata of Parisian society, from the elite to the criminal, are presented with the kind of details that make it easy to understand how characters shift their way into and out of trouble. The art world is equally on display, providing a colorful backdrop for all the action. VERDICT For readers of historical fiction looking for a complex story, this is a sure bet and most likely the next big hit of any book discussion group.—Stacey Hayman, Rocky River P.L., OH

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

IMOGEN ROBERTSON directed for TV, film, and radio before becoming a full-time author. She is the author several novels, including the Crowther and Westerman series. Imogen was shortlisted for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award 2011 and for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award 2012. The Paris Winter was partially inspired by Imogen's paternal grandmother, a free-spirited traveler who set off through Europe with money sewn into her skirts.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

The Paris Winter 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
anovelreview_blogspot_com More than 1 year ago
In this breathtaking tale, Robertson takes you to Paris 1909. I could see, feel and touch the poverty surrounding Maud Heighton. Her English background keeps her from letting anyone around her know of her dire circumstances. She is so close to completing her time at Lafond, she just needs to get through one more Paris Winter. I'm not sure I've met a protagonist I could relate more closely with than Maude. Her integrity meant so much to her. When a job for the Morel family falls into her lap, it seems an answer to prayer. The perfect job. She quickly becomes friends with Sylvie and wants nothing more than to help her, carelessly forgetting to be wary of something being too good to be true. Suddenly with almost no warning the tides change. Maude is no longer the quiet English girl. The first part of the novel, I simply loved reading the beautifully written detail, getting to know the characters, being carried away by the romance and beauty of the time and yet at the same time seeing poverty and darkness the rest of Paris had to offer. Then I kept waiting for something bad, something big...when things for Maud begin to unravel I was taken aback. I wasn't ready nor could I figure out what was going on (I love that!). I had to know. I had to understand. The twist and turns of The Paris Winter had me reading into the late hours. Not only was the story itself keeping me fully engaged, but the characters themselves. I wanted to watch how everything would come together or fall apart. I don't want to say too much about the end because I'm not a fan of spoilers and if I say too much I take away from the reader experiencing everything. I will say the closer to the end of the book the harder and harder it became to walk away from the story. Light a fire, cuddle up with a blanket and a copy of THE PARIS WINTER! Highly recommending!
camilledimaio More than 1 year ago
When a book is hyped as much as this one is, the expectation can be hard to live up to. “The Paris Winter” by Imogen Robertson was on many “Best of 2014″ lists, and had an enviable jacket cover of endorsements. The first few chapters were interesting, but slow, and then the book turn that kept me up all night finishing it. Maud Heighton is an English art student who leaves the comforts of home to be a nearly penniless painter in the City of Light. A job caring for a young and wealthy opium addict promises good pay, a warm bed, and hearty food. Maud cannot believe her reversal of fortune – until she discovers that the girl and her older brother are not who they claim to be. The author manages to deftly take us on a tour of the Belle Epoque from the lows of the underbelly of Montmartre to the mesmerizing tombs of Pere La Chaise Cemetery to the marbled homes of an American Countess and a Russian aristocrat who is running from her own demons. The book brought back many wonderful memories I have of Paris, and revealed new layers that make me want to go back soon.
chanelBS More than 1 year ago
I very much liked this novel. The characters come alive in a descriptive view of Paris. You can almost feel you are a part of this "ghost" story.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Told over the course of one season, a winter in Paris, Maud is struggling to make ends meet while pursuing her love of painting.  Through a fantastic chance, she is paired with a "couple" who are in need of a companion and life looks like it may be on the up and up - so she thinks!  Divided into two parts, the first part centering around her time with this interesting couple and the second part is after a major event occurs.   First, let me say that the first few times I picked up this book to read I only had a moment or two to read and once Part Two came around, I had some really good chunks of time and was able to really get in and read it.  On that note, the first part read a little slow to me and I flew through the second, there was also quite a bit more action in the second part which I loved.  Without the second part picking up, I am not sure I would have liked this book as much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great descriptions of Paris and well-written prose, but very tedious and painstaking to read. NOT the book to read if you're looking for a quick mystery/thriller with some history intertwined.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story and plot were good but didn't hold my interest for the entire book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Started out good but failed from the middle on. Some interesting facts about Paris.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago