28 February 2017

Book Review: One Christmas in Paris by Mandy Baggot

"Ava and her best friend Debs arrive in Paris just as the snow starts to fall. The Eiffel Tower glitters gold and the scent of spiced wine is all around, but all Ava can think about is Leo, her no-good, cheating ex. 

Debs is on a mission to make Ava smile again, and as they tour the Christmas markets, watch lamplight glittering on the river Seine, and eat their body weight in pain-au-chocolat, Ava remembers there’s more to life than men ... Until they cross paths with handsome, mysterious photographer Julien with his French accent and hazelnut eyes that seem to see right inside her. 

Ava can’t ignore the intense chemistry between them, but her fingers have been burned before and she can’t forget it, especially when her ex, Leo, starts texting again. Can Ava really trust Julien – and what exactly is his secret? 

Will Ava go home with a broken heart, or will she find true love amongst the cobbled streets of Paris?"

Rating: 4/5

This isn't my first of Mandy Baggot's books, and I have to say I love her festive novels. I loved the cover for this one straight away, it really caught my eye and I liked the sound of the story as well. I enjoy Mandy's books, and this was no exception. I love Paris as a city, but I don't think I have ever read a Christmas book set there before, so this was a first! It's the story of best friends Ava and Debs, who travel to Paris for Debs' job, and Ava trying to get over her cheating ex-boyfriend Leo. The two start to enjoy the sights and tastes of Paris at Christmas, and when they bump into French photographer Julien, they strike a friendship and the foursome (together with Julien's best friend) meet up for meals, with Ava and Julien quickly hitting it off.

I liked all of the characters in this book from the beginning. Ava and Debs were great best friends, with Ava being the quieter of the two, trying get over a broken heart. Debs was quite loud, brash and just trying to get her friend to move on from someone she doesn't think deserves to have tears shed over him! The pair get up to some fun, travelling around to see the sights of Paris, not expecting to meet some handsome French men while they are there!

Julien is hiding a bit of secret himself. I don't want to spoil it by telling you has happened to him, but it was quite a sobering part of the book, and I felt Mandy Baggot did well in tackling an issue like this. She goes into Julien's grief well, putting across his despair without becoming bogged down in it. His passion is photography, something he is talented at, but since his personal tragedy he hasn't taken any pictures. When he meets Ava, he suddenly wants to photograph her, reigniting a flame in him that has been dead for a while. This was touching as it opens something up in the pair of them, and allows the story to progress perfectly.

As I mentioned, I loved the setting of Paris. It worked perfectly for the book, and complemented the story, rather than it being entirely focused on its setting. The main sights are of course mentioned, and it was fun seeing them through Ava's eyes. I enjoyed the progression of the friendship of Ava and Julien as well, and how they seemed to bring out the best in each other. Their friends, too, were encouraging and I felt the chemistry between them all was perfectly written, I cared about them, and wanted good things to happen for them. There were a few touching scenes between Julien, his father and step-mother too that I must mention, I thought these were well written and really added to the story.

This was a charming festive read from Mandy Baggot and I'll definitely be looking to read more from her. It had a nice festive vibe, good characters who had their own stories, and came together to create a new one, and the pace, although not hugely fast and frantic, plodded along nicely, allowing things to develop fully. I wouldn't necessarily say it falls into the romcom category as the laughs weren't there, but it is emotional, full of thought and I enjoyed reading the whole story. Recommended.

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