30 October 2016
Book Review: We'll Always Have Paris by Sue Watson
When she was almost seventeen, Rosie Draper locked eyes with a charismatic student called Peter during their first week at art college, changing the course of her life forever. Now, on the cusp of sixty-five and recently widowed, Rosie is slowly coming to terms with a new future. And after a chance encounter with Peter, forty-seven years later, they both begin to wonder 'what if' . . ."
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I'm a huge fan of Sue Watson, and look forward to her new books, particularly her Christmas ones, every year. When I saw she had a new book deal with publishers Sphere and that the book would be quite different to the other fiction she has released, I was really eager to try it. Of course, it didn't disappoint and I found it to be a very enjoyable read. It's the story of lonely widow Rosie, who is still getting over the death of her beloved husband, and trying to keep the rest of her life, including the florist business she runs with her daughters, together. When she delivers flowers to a fancy wedding, she bumps into her first love Peter by chance... is she open to letting her heart love again?
I loved Sue's writing throughout this book. She writes the delicate themes so well, touching on Rosie's grief, guilt, hope and sorrow so well throughout the book, and weaving it together to create a wonderfully uplifting and hopeful book. Rosie was a lovely character, someone who has found herself unexpectedly alone and unsure of how to deal with the loss of her husband. You could see she was quite lost, and when she bumps into Peter again, the guilt eats away at her, with her feeling like she might be betraying her husband, and her daughters too by the thought of her moving on.
As you can imagine, this isn't always easy reading, with Rosie wanting to take control of her own life, but being held by back by many factors, some of them being her daughters, one of whom is really struggling with the thought of her mother being with someone other than her father. I found the realism in this story was excellent, you can believe all of these characters and how they acted, I expect that is how I would react if I were to ever find myself in that situation. The relationship with her daughters was very close though, and I enjoyed reading about it. I also enjoyed how the book flashed back to the past, when Rosie and Peter were together when they were much younger, and their love story then, and why it all came crashing down for them. Again this was very emotive, but it certainly helps us understand Rosie and her reticence to possibly getting back with Peter after so many years.
This book, while very different to Sue's other more light-hearted and funny novels, was a great read from start to finish. I found it very touching and emotional, and I found myself wanting Rosie and Peter to end up with a happy ending, they both deserved it. It was also nice to read about love later in life - we read so many books about twenty-somethings finding love and settling down, but I loved reading about someone like Rosie, who was sure she was done with relationships and men after her husband's death, opening herself up to the possibility of loving and being loved once more. Watson's writing is wonderful to read, gentle yet not afraid to delve to the heart of the subject. A truly lovely read.