Award-winning USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan delights again with this this uplifting, emotional new novel about family, love and the life-changing power of female friendship
When Grace’s husband announces he wants a divorce, she packs up her tattered heart and travels to Paris alone, determined to have the holiday of a lifetime. When she meets her rebellious teenage neighbor, Audrey, they forge an unlikely friendship. Grace can’t believe how audacious Audrey is. Audrey can’t believe how cautious newly single Grace is! They’re both in Paris to find themselves, but finding each other might be the best thing that’s ever happened to them…
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About the Author
Romantic Times has described her as 'a magician with words' and nominated her books for their Reviewer's Choice Awards and their 'Top Pick' slot. In 2012 Sarah received the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America. She lives near London with her family. Find out more at www.sararahmorgan.co
Read an Excerpt
Grace Porter woke on Valentine's Day, happily married and blissfully unaware that was about to change.
Downstairs in the kitchen she added slices of cheese to the bread she'd baked fresh the day before, put fruit and raw vegetables into lunch boxes and then checked her list.
Number 4 on today's list: Remind Sophie about dinner.
She glanced up. "Don't forget Dad and I are out tonight. Your dinner is in the fridge." Her daughter Sophie was messaging a friend. "Mmm ..."
"I know! No phones at the table — but this is urgent. Amy and I are writing a letter to the paper about that development they're going to build on the edge of town. Dad promised he'd publish it. Can you believe they want to close the dog shelter? Those dogs are going to die if someone doesn't do something, and that someone is me. There. Done." Sophie finally looked up. "Mom, I can make my own lunch."
"Would you include fresh fruit and veg?"
"No. Which is why I'd rather make my own.' Sophie gave a smile that didn't just light her up, it lit Grace up too. 'And you're starting to sound like Monica, which is a little scary."
Her daughter was like sunshine. She made the world a brighter place. For years Grace had been braced for her to rebel, take drugs, or roll in drunk after an illicit party with friends, but it hadn't happened. It seemed that Sophie's genetic make-up favored David's side of the family, which was a relief. If Sophie had an addiction it was causes. She hated injustice, inequality, and anything she deemed unfair — particularly when it related to animals. She was the champion of all dogs, especially the underdog.
Grace was quick to defend her friend. "Monica is a wonderful mother."
'Maybe, but I can tell you that the first thing Chrissie is going to do when we get to Europe this summer is feast on a ton of fries to make up for all the years her mom wouldn't let her touch them." Sophie finished her oatmeal. "Did you say something about dinner?"
"Have you forgotten what day it is?" Grace closed the lunch boxes and put one next to Sophie. The other she slid into her own bag.
"Valentine's Day." Sophie slid off her chair and picked up her empty bowl. "The day it becomes public knowledge that nobody loves me."
"Dad and I love you."
"No offense, but you're not young, cool and athletic."
Grace took a mouthful of coffee. How much should she say? "It's still Sam?"
Sophie's smile faded as if someone had hit the dimmer switch. "He's seeing Callie. They walk round together holding hands. She keeps giving me these smug smiles. I've known Callie since I was three, so I don't understand why she's doing this. I mean date him, sure. That sucks, but it's life. But it's like she's trying to hurt me."
Grace felt a burning in her chest. Not heartburn, but parenthood. As a mother, her role was to support from the sidelines. It was like being forced to watch a really bad play without the consolation of knowing you could leave in the interval.
"I'm sorry, honey."
"Don't be." Sophie put her bowl in the dishwasher and then added the one her father had left on the side. "It would never have worked out. Sophie and Sam sounds pretty lame, don't you think?"
Her hurt slid into Grace and settled deep in her gut.
"You're going to college in a few months. After a month in California you won't even remember Sam exists. You have your whole life ahead of you, and all the time in the world to meet someone special."
"I'm going to study, graduate top of my class and go to law school where I can learn how to sue people who are assho —'
"Er ... not very nice people." Sophie grinned, slung her backpack over one shoulder and stroked her long ponytail over the other. "Don't worry, Mom. Boys drive me insane. I don't want a relationship."
That will change, Grace thought.
"Have a great day, Mom, and Happy Anniversary. Twenty-five years of not yelling at Dad when he leaves his socks on the floor and his dirty plate on top of the dishwasher. Major achievement."
"There are worse sins than leaving dirty plates around."
"Yeah, well, you two are a shining example of a perfect marriage. You give everyone hope. Are you seeing Mimi today?"
"This afternoon." Grace slid her laptop into her bag. "I made macarons, like the ones she used to buy in Paris. You know what a sweet tooth your great-grandmother has."
"Because she lived in Paris during the war and she had no food. She often talks about how she was sometimes too weak to dance. It's hard to imagine."
"That's probably why she talks to you about it. She doesn't want you to take things for granted." She opened the box she'd carefully packed that morning, revealing pastel macarons lined up in neat rows of rainbow perfection.
Sophie made a sound that was almost a purr. "Wow. I don't suppose I could ...?"
"No." Grace closed the box. "But I might have packed a couple for your lunch." She tried not to think about the sugar, or how Monica would react to the inclusion of empty calories in a lunchbox.
"You're the best, Mom." Sophie kissed her cheek and Grace felt warmth flood through her.
"Do you need a favor or something?"
"Don't be cynical." Sophie grabbed her coat. "Not many people would teach French at an Assisted Living Center, that's all. I think you're amazing."
Grace felt like a fraud. She didn't do it out of any sense of charity, but because she liked the people. They were always so pleased to see her. They made her feel valued.
It was embarrassing to think she could still be needy at her age.
"Their French Club is the best part of my week. Today being Valentine's Day, I've allowed myself to be creative." She picked up the stack of menus she'd designed. "The staff are laying the tables in the restaurant with red and white tablecloths. We're eating French food, I'm playing music ... Knowing your great-grandmother, there will be dancing. What do you think?"
"Ooh la-la, I think it sounds great." Sophie grinned. "Just remember that the average age of Mimi's friends is ninety. Don't give them all heart attacks."
"I'm pretty sure Robert has his eye on Mimi."
"Mimi is a minx. I hope I'm like her when I'm ninety. She has this wicked twinkle in her eye ... It must have been fun having her living with you when you were growing up."
It had been lifesaving. And that, of course, was why Mimi had moved in.
It was a time she'd never discussed with her daughter. "She's one in a million. You'll be okay tonight?" She checked the kitchen was tidy. "There's casserole in the fridge. Or fresh soup. Whichever you don't eat we'll have tomorrow."
"I'm eighteen, Mom. You don't have to worry about me." Sophie glanced out the window as a car pulled up outside. "Karen is here. I need to run. Bye."
Telling Grace not to worry was like asking a fish not to swim.
Two minutes after Sophie had left, she slid on her coat, picked up her keys and walked to the car.
Turning the heating up, she focused on the drive.
Four mornings a week, Grace taught French and Spanish at the local middle school. She also tutored children who were struggling and occasionally gave lessons to adults keen to improve their language skills.
She took the same route she always took, seeing the same houses, the same trees, the same stores. Her view only changed when the seasons changed. Grace didn't mind. She savored routine and predictability. She found comfort and security in knowing what was going to happen next.
Today the snow lay deep on the ground, coating roofs and gardens in thick slabs of white.
In this little corner of Connecticut the snow was likely to linger for many weeks. Some people embraced it. Grace wasn't one of them. By March, winter felt like a guest who had outstayed her welcome. She longed for sunshine and summer dresses, bare legs and iced drinks.
She was still dreaming of summer when the phone rang. It was David.
"Hi, Gracie." That voice of his still made her insides melt, even after so many years. Deep and gravelly, but smooth enough to soothe life's hurts.
"Hi, handsome. You had an early start today." And you left your breakfast plate on top of the dishwasher.
"Things are hotting up in the office."
David was editor of the local newspaper, the Woodbrook Post, and had been kept busy lately thanks to the astonishing success of the girls' tennis team, the formation of a county children's choir, and a robbery at the local gas station during which the only things stolen were a box of doughnuts and a bottle of rum. By the time the local police had located the man responsible, the evidence had been consumed.
Whenever Grace read the paper it reminded her of all the reasons she lived in this small, quaint town with a population of only 2,498.
The headlines made good reading.
Black Labrador found roaming on Main Street!
Package stolen from mailbox!
The proposal to install a water slide in the local camp ground for the summer had attracted four letters of outrage to the editor. For David, that was a major controversy.
Unlike other journalists, whose sights might have been set on bigger targets, David had never shown a desire to work anywhere but this small town they'd both fallen in love with.
The way he saw it, he was the voice of the community. He was obsessed with the news, but he also believed that it was what happened right here in their home town that mattered to people. He often joked that all he needed to fill the entire newspaper was to spend an afternoon at a backyard barbecue listening to the gossip. He was friends with the police chief and the fire chief, which ensured that he was given all the major scoops.
Of course in Woodbrook, a place most people had never heard of, there were more scoops in the ice cream parlor than there were in the local community, and that suited Grace.
"Happy Valentine's and Happy Anniversary." She slowed as she approached an intersection. "I'm already looking forward to dinner tonight."
"Shall I book somewhere?"
Only a man would think it possible to get a table on Valentine's Day without forward-planning. "Already done, honey."
"Right. I should be home early. I'll fix something for Sophie to eat so you don't have to bother."
"I've handled that. The fridge is full of food. You can relax."
There was a pause. "You're Superwoman, Grace."
She glowed. "I love you."
Her family was the most important thing in the world to her.
"I'll drop by the store and pick out something for Stephen's birthday on my way home. He says he doesn't want a fuss, but I feel we should buy him something, don't you?"
"I do — which is why I bought him a gift when I was shopping last week." Grace waited for a gap in the traffic and turned in to the school. "You'll find it under the bed in the spare room."
"You've already bought something?"
"I didn't want you having to think about it. Remember that great photo of Stephen with Beth and the kids?"
"The one I took at the Summer Fair?"
She pulled in to a space and undid her seat belt. "I had a print made and bought a frame. It looks great."
"That's ... thoughtful.."
"I've wrapped it. All you have to do is sign your name." She reached across and gathered her coat and bag. "I'm at school, so I'll call you later. You sound tired. Are you tired?"
She paused, one leg out of the car. "You've been working long hours lately. You need to slow down. There's nothing for you to do at home, so maybe you should lie down and rest before we go out."
"I'm not geriatric, Grace."
There was a sharpness to his tone that was unusual.
"I was trying to spoil you, that's all."
The sharpness vanished. "Sorry. Didn't mean to snap. There's been a lot going on lately. I'll call a cab for tonight, so we can have a drink without worrying about driving."
"Cab is already booked for seven."
"Do you ever forget anything?"
"It's all down to lists — you know that. If I lose my lists, my life is over."
It occurred to her that if she died someone would be able to pick up her "To Do" lists and carry on with her life as if she'd never inhabited it.
What did that say about her? A life should be individual, surely? Would someone looking at the lists be able to learn anything about her? Would they know that she loved the smell of roses and indulged her love of French movies when no one was home? Would they know she listened to Mozart piano concertos while she cooked?
"Is there anything you need me for?"
Grace gave a smile that her daughter would have said was very like Mimi's minxy look. "I can think of a few things ... I plan on showing you later."
David ended the call and she walked into school, waving at a couple of parents who were delivering their precious cargo.
Twenty-five years. She'd been married for twenty-five years. She felt a glow of pride.
Take that, universe.
She and David were a perfect team. They'd had their ups and downs, like any couple, but they'd handled everything together. Grace had become the person she wanted to be, and if a tiny voice occasionally reminded her that underneath she was someone quite different, she ignored it. She had the marriage she wanted. The life she wanted.
The day deserved a special celebration, and she'd made a reservation for dinner at Bistro Claude, the upmarket French restaurant in the next town. Claude himself was from Texas, but he'd seen a gap in the market, cultivated an accent and modeled his restaurant on something he'd once seen in a French movie.
Even Grace, a purist and Francophile, had to admit the place was charming. She would have loved to take Mimi there, but her grandmother no longer enjoyed eating out.
Bistro Claude was the perfect setting for tonight, because Grace had planned a big surprise. Organizing it had been a major undertaking, but she'd been careful to leave no clues or hints.
Fortunately David had worked long hours over the past couple of months, or it would have been impossible to keep her research a secret.
She pushed open the doors and headed into school.
The children in her class were at that age where anything to do with sex or romance was treated as either hilarious or awkward, so she was fairly sure Valentine's Day would evoke plenty of giggles.
She wasn't wrong.
"We've written you a poem, Miss, to celebrate your anniversary."
"A poem? Lucky me." Grace hoped they'd give her the PG version. "Who's going to read it?"
Darren clambered onto his chair and cleared his throat.
"Twenty-five years, that's a very long time. More than you get for a life of crime."
Grace wasn't sure whether to laugh or put her head in her hands.
By the time she headed back to the car park at lunchtime she felt exhausted, and relieved she only worked mornings. Fortunately the drive to the Assisted Living Center where her grandmother lived would give her time to decompress.
It was a scenic route that wound through woodland and sleepy villages. In the fall the road was busy, packed with tourists admiring the sunset colors of the foliage, but now the trees and the rolling hills were coated in snow. The road followed the curve of the river, which had a tendency to flood as the snow melted.
Grace drove past the Wildlife Sanctuary, turned right into the road that led to Rushing River Senior Living and parked the car.
When Mimi had first announced her decision to move here Grace had been horrified.
As well as having a love of dance and all things hedonistic, her grandmother was a celebrated photographer. She'd traveled the world with her camera at a time when it had been rare for a single woman to do such a thing. She was famous for her photographs of post-war Paris, and Grace had always marveled at how her grandmother could capture people's personal struggles in a single frame. Mimi's vivid, exuberant personality was at odds with her dark, atmospheric photos of streets drenched by rain, or couples clinging together in a desperate embrace. The photographs told a story that her grandmother rarely shared in words. Of hunger and deprivation. Of fear and loss.
The last thing Grace had anticipated was that her well-travelled, worldly grandmother would choose to move somewhere like Rushing River. She'd tried to persuade her otherwise. If Mimi had reached the age when she could no longer manage alone, then she should live with Grace and David.
Mimi had insisted that she enjoyed her independence far too much to live with other people — even her beloved granddaughter. She'd gone ahead and paid the money without giving Grace any say in it.
That had been five years ago, but it had only taken a couple of visits for Grace to understand why her grandmother had chosen the place.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "One Summer In Paris"
Copyright © 2018 Sarah Morgan.
Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Grace is a planner and with it being Valentine’s Day she has a wonderful plan: dinner with her husband of twenty-five years, a fabulous long trip to Paris in the summer and all the romance afterward. What she didn’t plan for was David’s announcement of his affair and a subsequent heart attack to round off the drama of her night. At nearly the same time Audrey is struggling through her school exams, planning on never studying again, heading off to Paris and leaving behind her mother’s erratic behavior all hinging on what she’s been drinking that day. Unfortunately, her mother had ‘reformed’ her attitude, a regular repeat occurrence, and cleared out Audrey’s room in her reactionary mood – tossing away much of the clutter but also Audrey’s carefully concealed and saved cash for her trip. Now, while Paris is still an option with a bookshop job that provides a small apartment in return for half-days worked, her funds are more limited than her non-existent French. Two women in Paris in ways unexpected: Grace reeling from her husband’s betrayals, Audrey trying to keep her head above water and find a second job so she can afford to eat – one that doesn’t require she speak French. A wander to a bookshop on an errand for her grandmother Mimi, Grace is suddenly thrown to the ground – her purse snatched, only to be rescued by a redheaded young girl with tons of attitude and street smarts. Here starts the beginning of a wonderful friendship between the two: Grace understanding Audrey’s learning disability and her background, having lived with an alcoholic mother herself. Audrey is great for Grace in giving her a place to dump her ‘need’ to help and smooth paths, as well as updating her confidence and look – with her skills with hair and makeup, her brash and almost bold approach to life and her surprise that someone as ‘together’ as Grace would be interested in her and her issues. These two display a wonderful friendship – where one is lacking or needs a helping hand, the other steps up – and allows them to open up and share – including when everything goes pear shaped and choices need to be made. Full of engaging characters and exploration of issues large and small – including a clear presence of ‘hope’ for the future and all the possibilities it could contain: the story is both hard to put down and perfectly escapist. Morgan has done a lovely job of showing relationship dynamics, dysfunction and particularly the need for flexibility when dealing with learning disabilities, as Grace uses pantomime, jewelry, repetition and simple reassurances to help Audrey learn French and recognize her own potential. With the return of lost loves, a new relationship and plenty of Parisian atmosphere, this story is a perfect escape read for everyone in need of a pick-me-up story. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
This story is as much about Audrey as it is about Grace. Both are running from something and need a push to set them in the right direction. The characters are excellent. The book is well written and describes both the coming of age drama and mid-life crisis that we all experience. It's one of those books that makes you ask yourself, would I be strong enough to get through it and reminds us that above all else, we need a friend that we trust. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this novel.
Really great book! Two sides of life collide to show that friendship and loving support can make all the difference in the world as you travel the roads of life. I really enjoyed the emotional upheaval they each had to go through before settling in to what was meant to be. Highly recommend! Grace Porter thought she'd be setting off on this magical trip to Paris with her husband of twenty-five years, but he decided to spring the news that he wants a divorce on her the night she presented him with the anniversary present. What's a gal to do but go by herself? Alone in Paris sounds ideal at a difficult time like this until she's living the loneliness of seeing the sights she meant to share with David. Audrey Hackett would do anything to get out from under the weight of taking care of her alcoholic mother after graduation. She has been saving for years for this special trip, and though her mother throws up roadblock after roadblock, she needs this time. Even if she's heading somewhere she can't speak the language of with little money to her name. An unlikely friendship strikes up between this woman on the verge of upheaval and this teen just coming into herself as they both live over top of a quaint bookshop. They support each other throughout their growing pains, and realize that life isn't always handing you the thing you need, but you can achieve anything if you have the right support by your side.
I seem to be on a roll with really, really good books lately! This one is not what I expected when I first started as I expected a romance and it was not, it was more a woman's fiction but it was so good and I read it in practically one sitting because I could not put it down. Grace is planning a surprise for her husband on their 25th wedding anniversary, a month-long break in Paris. However, he has his own surprise for her. He wants a divorce and has been having an affair. Audrey is getting ready to graduate and doesn't expect to do well and not planning to go to university and has set up a job in Paris at a bookstore and it comes with a flat so she is moving to Paris. This is where these women meet. You would expect these women who are so far apart in age, actually Audrey could be Grace's daughter, and together they forge a friendship and bond that helps heal the devastation in Grace's life and Audrey finally has the unconditional love she has never had. This story was beautifully written and left me very happy. **Received this for review**
Grace has planned a surprise trip for her husband for their 25th wedding anniversary, a month in Paris. She gives it to him during their anniversary dinner. he in turn surprises her with an announcement that he's been having an affair and would like a divorce. Audrey has been working very hard saving everything she can so when she graduates from high school she can move to France to escape her life she has been living with her alcoholic mother. There in Paris the unlikely duo newly single Grace and Audrey meet and become friends. They have absolutely nothing in common but their differences is what links them and through those differences they better themselves. Grace starts living for herself and Audrey starts to trust those around her. I always found it interesting how each one of them knew when something was wrong with the other one, when one of them wasn't being quite honest with the other. Their age difference didn't seem to hinder that at all. I really enjoyed reading this book and feel these two will end up being life long friends.
Grace plans a trip to Paris to celebrate her Anniversary only to find out her husband of twenty five years has been having an affair . She no longer feels needed as her husband leaves her and her daughter is graduating . She decides to take the trip to Paris on her own. Audrey goes to Paris to try and get away from her responsibility of taking care of her alcoholic mother and have her own adventure . By chance Audrey helps Grace when someone tries to steal her purse. The two become fast friend and it is apparent that they need each other in their lives. Sarah Morgan delights with this heartwarming adventure in Paris .I received an ARC for my honest opinion
Let me just start off by saying that I adored this book! I feel like whenever I have this strong of feelings on a book that I have a tendency to ramble and gush so heads up that's probably what you are getting here. The thing I loved most about this book though is how easily I connected to it and the way it made me feel. Let's start at the beginning here though. This book is told from two different points of view - Grace, who is a middle-aged woman whose husband has recently told her he wants a divorce, and from Audrey, a young girl with a really crappy home life. Now for the record I'm happily married so that's not actually why I connected to Grace so easily (although it was sadly easy to imagine/understand what she was going through). I connected to Grace's character because she had so many similarities to me in other ways. Before her life completely changed, she was comfortable with her life. I say comfortable in a way that isn't necessarily a good thing. It's easy as a woman and mother when you've been with someone for so long to maybe not try like you used to. I fully admit to throwing my hair back into a ponytail almost every single day just because I'm tired of it being in my face. I work from home so there are days where I don't even put on makeup or think about it. And maybe none of these things are exactly like Grace but they add up to the same thing. You forget sometimes to take care of yourself. To do things just for you and not your children or even your husband. Sometimes you lose a piece of yourself without even realizing it....and this all just hit home for me so much. I'm very grateful that I don't have Grace's experiences but this book was a reminder to take care of me too. So much emphasis at times is to take care of your children's needs, your husband's, and everything else in life but who is there to remind you to take care of you? I'm rambling now but ugh - this book just was so spot on with real life! I absolutely could not care more about these two women and the problems that they were facing. I just immersed myself within their lives and within the pages of this book. I loved everything about this book and even the things that I didn't expect to. The author took chances where in other books I might not usually have liked the decisions the characters were making but it worked in this book. And worked perfectly if I do say so myself! Overall, I enjoyed this book so much that I actually wasn't ready for it to end. I'm so curious to see other reader's thoughts and reactions to this one. I understand why I enjoyed this one so much but am eager to see if others feel the same! This is only my second book by Sarah Morgan but it certainly won't be my last. I kind of want to read everything and anything that she has written now after loving this one so much! Gah! It was just so perfect for me and gave me all of the emotions. This is a book that I think I would easily reread a few years down the road. If I connected to this one now, I can only imagine how I would feel in a few years when my kids are getting closer to the age of going to college and moving out. I obviously cannot say enough good things but I highly recommend this book. This isn't just a romance book but I'm sure romance readers would enjoy it. I think that readers who enjoy women's fiction or just fiction in general should give this one a shot. Also, someday I simply must go to Paris to experience it all for myself!
Pensive, uplifting, and delightfully addictive! One Summer in Paris is a heartwarming, compelling tale that takes you on a journey to the magical City of Lights and into the lives of the middle-aged, newly single Grace and the young, unsettled Audrey as they discover together the importance of taking chances, accepting change, embracing the future, and finding contentment. The prose is amusing and polished. The characters are complex, quirky, authentic, and endearing. And the plot is a beguiling story about life, loss, family, determination, kindness, forgiveness, self-discovery, happiness, romance, and the true value of friendship. Overall, I would have to say that One Summer in Paris is thoughtful, emotive, and charming and with its rich characterization and beautiful storyline, it’s another stunning example of why Sarah Morgan is one of my all-time favourite authors.
This book has everything I was looking for in a story. The Paris setting caught my attention first. Then, I was intrigued by Grace and Audrey’s stories and how they would mesh. I was not disappointed. Both, Grace and Audrey’s stories were heartbreaking. Grace planned to surprise her husband, of twenty five years, with a trip to Paris. But, the surprised was on when Grace when David informed her that he was having an affair and wanted a divorce. Grace ends up taking the trip on her own. Audrey was running from her life in London. She wanted to spend the summer in Paris away from her alcoholic mother. But, she had a hard time finding a job because she didn’t speak French. It was fate that Audrey just happened to be on the street when Grace was mugged. Audrey, being the tough girl she was, stopped the man and got the purse back for Grace. They became friends after that and helped each other out in ways only good friends could. This is a story of friendship, starting over, love and family secrets. It was an extremely enjoyable story. I was a little sad when the book was over. I could have read hours more of these characters. Thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“One Summer in Paris” is a deep and charming book about finding yourself and living your best life. Grace is excited to celebrate her 25-year anniversary with her husband David, whom she loves deeply. She is planning to surprise him with a one-month trip to Paris that she has painstakingly planned. However, at the Valentine’s day/anniversary dinner where she gives it to him, he shocks her by revealing that he wants a divorce and is in love with a different woman. Although he ultimately asks to buy the trip from her for his girlfriend and himself, Grace decides to take the trip alone- after all, she was the one to plan it. Although initially depressed, Grace soon begins to discover herself and take new paths to happiness. It is on her journey that she meets Audrey, who is, in many ways, a kindred spirit. Audrey is 18 and has come to Paris to work at a bookshop- despite being unable to speak French and despite hating books due to her dyslexia. The job came with an apartment, which was key for her. Her mother is an alcoholic, and Audrey also has the opportunity to live her own life with her mother being newly married. Luckily, Audrey has met Grace who helps her with the job and finding her own passions. In a smaller and more sporadic story, we also follow Mimi, Grace’s ninety-year-old grandmother, who is still the free spirit she has always been. Mimi has never revealed who Grace’s grandfather was, and she had many lovers over the years when she traveled as a ballerina. Paris has always held a special place in her heart, as the place where she was born and found herself. While this story was tertiary, it was really interesting and Mimi was a fantastic character. I would love to read a whole book about her and her life from the tidbits we are given. The book’s primary focus is Grace, and I loved the journey she takes to find herself. I am not sure how much I loved the ending for her, but I understood it due to the way the story evolved. What I really enjoyed was how she analyzes her life and makes changes for herself and no one else. She is a strong and impressive character, and I loved seeing the world through her eyes. The friendship between Grace and Audrey was somewhat mother-daughter but more balanced, and I loved it regardless. They were fantastic characters, and I felt like I knew and loved them through this beautiful story. Overall, this was a powerful book about finding yourself and living your own life, and will definitely make you want to travel to Paris in the process. I completely fell in love with these well-developed and multidimensional characters and would love to read more about them and the secondary/tertiary characters in the future. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
I loved the friendship that developed between Grace and Audrey during their stay in Paris. Living in an apartment above the bookshop was the perfect setting, and I really liked the secondary characters that they encountered along the way. Although I wish Grace's story would have had a different ending, I loved the way that Audrey's story turned out. I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary Advance Reader Copy.
Whenever I pick up a book by this talented author, I know it will be well written, thoughtful and with characters that what makes them perfect, is their imperfections. This is the case of Grace and Audrey. Two women that meet in Paris and end not only being neighbors but also friends. One goes to Paris after what she thought she had, a perfect life and a strong marriage of 25 years , was an illusion. While the other one, a young English woman , with a self-centered mother , leaves London for a summer in Paris. It’s a story about re-discovering oneself. About friendships, family relationships, or lack thereof, and hope for a better future. Add to the mix Paris, the city of lights and love, and you have another enchanting story. I was entrusted a copy of this book. The opinions expressed are solely my own.
An ode to the strong women and the tight bonds of true friendship that encourage them to be the best version of themselves, through tears and laughter, through pain and growth, love and loss, they always stand by us, hold us up when needed, and never say they are 'just fine'. When cheating and third person issues are one of my hard limits on the romance novels I read, the author's name was the only reason I said yes to review this title. And I am immensely glad that I did say yes, and I want to thank HQ for sending me the eARC, cause this story, it shook the foundation. The story made me think, it made me laugh, brought tears to my eyes, it brought back sweet memories of Paris, and it made me reach out to my sister-friends. Rarely there is this deep, sweet, contentment in my whole being when I finish a book, but One Summer In Paris, with its theme of forgiveness and redemption, love and friendship, family and the tribe of people we bring to our lives, it just went directly to my heart and wowed me. Grace, Audrey, and Mimi - three women of different generations, yet tightly bonded together were all effortless to connect with and relate to. Each of them dealt with issues in their lives that were real and plausible, contributing to the tale, giving life and love a new perspective. The fourth 'woman' in the story - Paris itself - was as delightfully seductive as always, the city of lights, passion, and love delivering the delightful images, the ardent backdrop to the passionate story of women loving and living and learning, finding their inner voice, inner strength, and their own wolfpack. One Summer In Paris is an experience that will touch your heart, it is a sensual, triumphant tale of women, life and loss, loving and living fully, tearing down the pretenses, and daring to be honest, open, and true to yourself and others around you. It took my breath away ~ Five Spoons
There's something very special about having a Sarah Morgan book on my list; I just know I'm going to love it and as I work towards it I'm filled with that certainty - and I've never been disappointed! Grace is a planner; she has lists for everything, is very efficient and never forgets an occasion or a gift which needs to be organised. Very happily married to her soulmate, David, she arranges a very special gift for them both for their Silver Wedding Anniversary. What she couldn't have planned was that during their romantic restaurant meal, David announces than he wants a divorce. Stunned and hurt beyond measure, Grace retreats into herself until, encouraged by their daughter, she decide to enjoy the month long trip to Paris on her own. Audrey is a young English girl, ages with Grace's daughter Sophie, but her life is a world away from the safe cocoon Grace has created for her family. With no one to cosset and care for her, Audrey has carefully planned her summer escape to Paris as she is desperate to spread her wings and move away from the heavy responsibilities the finds herself with at home. Separately, these two women aren't making the most of their break from the usual routine, but after they get acquainted the world - or at least the city of Paris - is their oyster. The growing friendship between Grace and Audrey is something to savour; they each contribute a lot, but what they receive is monumental in changing both their lives and their outlook on life. This is a truly beautifully written story, and one which will make every reader yearn to spend a summer in the most romantic city in the world. In addition to Grace and Audrey, we also follow their families' along with the new - and old - friends who pop into their lives. An absolutely wonderful read, and one I have been completely immersed in, letting the descriptions wash over me in chilly Scotland! This isn't the touristy side of Paris, but a more realistic portrayal of a fabulous city and it's residents. I have loved everything about it and, as always, Sarah Morgan's writing flows easily and keeps the reader's interest from first to last. Such a sparkling read deserves no less than a full five, chubby stars and the highest recommendation I can give it. A superb light, happy read - with plenty of ups and downs - one which will put you in a super summery mood.
Absolutely wonderful book about life getting stuck in a rut, having a life-altering change, and finding yourself again, all set over a summer in Paris. It's funny because I've never been interested in visiting Paris, but I've read a few books set in Paris and it always sounds like such a magical place that I may have to change that view! Grace lives in the States, is married to David and they have a daughter, Sophie, just about to go to college and fly the nest. Then David drops a bombshell on their dinner out for their 25th anniversary that he's having an affair with a 20-something friend of theirs. Grace has arranged an anniversary surprise for her and David to spend the summer in Paris and had everything booked, so she decided to take the trip on her own, something she would normally never contemplate. Audrey lives in London and shares her home with her Mother, who is a functioning alcoholic that Audrey always seems to be looking after, instead of the other way around. But her Mother has just married and so Audrey takes the opportunity to escape too and live a little, taking a job in a bookstore in Paris that includes accommodation, even though she can't speak French and had someone else fill in the application for her! Once in Paris Grace and Audrey meet when Grace is nearly robbed in the street and Audrey comes to her rescue, and from then on the completely different personalities and ages (Grace is 47 & Audrey is 18) start a fabulous friendship that helps both of them grow and blossom over their summer in Paris. There are some lovely side characters in Mimi, Grace's 90 year old unconventional grandmother, and Etienne, Audrey's co-worker who turns into a love interest, along with Grace's old love Philippe, who was the only character I wasn't that keen on, and it just all blends into a wonderful, laid back, journey through the summer that I never wanted to end. The ending with Mimi visiting Paris (and a few revelations) was so lovely, I definitely had a tear in my eye! I love Sarah Morgan's books anyway, but I think this is her best to date. Loved it!