Paris by the Book

In Paris by the Book, Liam Callanan (All Saints, The Cloud Atlas) offers an enchanting survey of Paris and a nuanced portrait of a family struggling to understand one another. After her author husband, Robert, disappears--leaving the words I'm sorry scrawled in an old book--Leah moves from Wisconsin to Paris with her two teenage daughters to live out the plot of Robert's latest work in progress. Together, she and her daughters buy a quaint bookstore and begin to settle down in their magical new city. Still, none of them can let go of the belief that Robert is still out there--maybe even in Paris--and will someday return to them. As Leah considers moving on, she and her daughters grapple with the memories of the man they knew and the meaning of artistic love and obsession.

Like Paris, Callanan's novel provides both delightful entertainment and deep emotional appeal. He delicately balances the Parisian setting, with its resonance in immortal children's literature and its romantic expectations, and the intricate, sometimes heart-rending mysteries of marriage and parenthood. Callanan probes artistic impulse and mental health--exploring depression, obsession and loyalty--in the most gentle, deft manner possible. Through it all, Leah's wry and insightful first-person voice shines. Led by such a charming and persuasive guide, this novel ensures that Leah's world, like the beguiling streets of Paris, is one readers will want to revisit and rediscover. --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor

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