My dear bookish friends,
Yes, it is only September, and yes, I have started reading Christmassy books. Why, you ask? Well, if you know me a bit you will know that I adore everything about Christmas, and these types of books bring me joy and happiness. I used to wait until at least late November or even December to start reading books set around Christmas, but then always only got to read very few of them. December is, after all, the busiest month of them all! And since this year there are so many amazing books being published and I want to read them all, I thought – why not start now?
Big thanks to Aria Fiction and Netgalley for my e-arc. Receiving a copy for free did not influence my opnion in any way. Let’s get started with my review! But first…
United in grief. Pushed apart by tragedy.
Keeley Andrews knows more than anyone that you only live once. So when she receives an invitation to spend two weeks in Paris, all expenses paid, she jumps at the chance.
Ethan Bouchard has had the worst eighteen months of his life. He’s ready to give up on everything, including his hotel chain. So when he meets Keeley, it simply isn’t the right time.
As Keeley and Ethan continue to bump into each other on the romantic Parisian streets, they can’t help but wonder whether this is fate telling them to let go of the past and leap into the future…
Head to Paris this Christmas and fall in love under the lights of the Eiffel Tower with best-selling author, Mandy Baggot.
Wow. What can I say? A Perfect Paris Christmas had me tear up so much, it was such an emotional romance that had me hooked from page one! Before I start I have to say the synopsis doesn’t give away too much, but for me to write my review at all I have to reveal a bit more. I’m not sure if it’s considered spoilery or not, but just so you know, I do get into the story a bit more than that. My review also includes info on things that some might consider content warning.
In A Perfect Paris Christmas we meet Keeley, a kidney transplanted woman who gets to meet her donor’s family. Wow. What an emotional journey that was!
Keeley is a lovely character, I immediately liked her. After losing her sister (and her kidney) to a terrible car accident, she goes through life on a safer path. She lives at home with her parents and works not far from their family home. Their family life seems to be tainted by the reminiscences of what happened, and especially her mother is still struggling (and how could she not?). So, Keeley is going through life the best way she can.
However, life post organ transplantation is coming with many restrictions and Keeley is still learning how to deal with them – and with her well-meaning but sometimes a bit constricting friends and family. And then comes the email that changes everything. Keeley gets to meet the donor’s family – the family who lost their daughter, sister, friend – the girl who decided that if she can’t live, somebody else should. I’m not lying when I say this book made me tear up at several points.
It was very emotional seeing Keeley, but also the secondary characters, deal with the situation and all the grief and pain. And then on top of everything, Keeley is volunteering in a hospice. Those scenes had my heart hurting and my eyes leaking, but at the same time it was so lovely to see Keeley making other people’s journeys to the end nicer. And she made some wonderful friends there, too.
But the book isn’t all sad, obviously. It wouldn’t be a Mandy Baggot if there wasn’t some romance involved, amd we get that – in the City of Light of all places! There’s some wonderful sightseeing around Paris, and since I’ve always loved visiting Paris in books (I have yet to go in real life!), this was a wonderful thing for me.
In Paris, Ethan had been following Ferne’s dreams, and loved doing so. But with her gone, he has to rediscover who he is as a person, and what he wants from life. As strong as Keeley is after going through so much, she herself is a bit unsure of what she wants from life. I absolutely loved seeing the two together, helping each other find out what else life has to offer, and what they, deep down, might want out of it. Keeley learned to become more than just “kidney girl,” as her loving and caring (and wonderfully fun) best friend Rach so lovingly calls her. This book doesn’t only have a great main character, but also a set of wonderful secondary characters that make the story worthwhile.
A Perfect Paris Christmas is an emotional and festive Christmas story that deals with the loss of a loved one, grief, but also love and the question how to live life to the fullest. It has a wonderful and fulfilling happy ending and when I turned the final page, I was feeling all warm inside. That’s what a Christmassy read should make you feel like!
4.5 stars from me!
Why not the full 5, you might be wondering? Well, it’s almost reached that for me, but the book is being advertised as “the perfect laugh out loud romance to curl up with this Christmas,” and for me it wasn’t really that. It was more emotional, a bit quiet, in a nice, but reserved way. It made me think, and it took me on a nice journey to Paris at Christmastime, but I wouldn’t call it a “laugh out loud romance.” Also, from the blurb I didn’t expect it to be quite as emotional, so it took me a bit by surprise! I’m not saying this is a bad thing, not at all, but it might need a content warning for some people as I did get quite sad at times. But even so, Mandy Baggot knows how to write, and I adored this romance set in the City of Lights, and if you can deal with the emotional things I mentioned and are looking for a captivating and meaningful festive story that will keep you hooked for a weekend, then this is the book for you!
Thank you all so much for reading!