Title: The Paris Girl
Author: Natalie Meg Evans
Publisher: 31st October 2019 by Bookouture
Pages: 461 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction, romance
My Rating: 2.5 cups
In 1920s Paris, a young woman will lose everything… and finally discover what truly matters most.
Tatiana Vytenis has worked hard to leave her past behind. Once a ruined Russian princess in hiding, she is now a sought-after model and engaged to Gérard de Sainte-Vierge – a handsome, if occasionally overbearing, aristocrat. With the Sainte-Vierge heirloom ruby sparkling on her finger, Tatiana feels as though she should be happy. Not long ago she was penniless and now she’s about to become a marquise.
But fate still has a final hand to play. One night in a bohemian café in Montparnasse, Tatiana discovers she’s been the unknowing plaything of the Sainte-Vierge family. Hidden beneath their genteel exteriors, Gerard and his brother have a secret darker side, and her darling fiancé will gladly ruin Tatiana’s life to save his own reputation.
As Tatiana’s situation becomes ever more desperate, she crosses paths with an unlikely guardian angel. Regan Dortmeyer is an American in Paris – a war photographer running from his own hard knocks in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. He’s no fancy French nobleman, but Regan has seen the lengths to which a wicked man like Gerard will go. As the consequences of her disastrous engagement threaten to swallow Tatiana up, he might be the only one who can save her now…
I was greatly intrigued by the synopsis for this book - a Russian Princess now model, French noblemen (if a somewhat shady Marquis), the classic ‘American (photographer) in Paris .... it looked to have the right ingredients - all set to the backdrop of Paris 1920s - what could go wrong?
There were some interesting aspects to this tale. The definite positives are the rich descriptions of place and time; the modelling scene and accompanying photography is lavish. In fact, I wish there were more of it. I did enjoy the drama, particularly surrounding the remaining two sisters and Katya’s journey. Even photojournalists from WW1 turning to shooting Parisian fashion was a worthy topic. The premise, as stated, is a worthy one, that being, when a person loses everything going from riches to rags and losing your home and family, to what extremes would you go to never feel threatened again? Would you marry a man that absolutely everyone (including me) vehemently state you shouldn’t?
‘Are you sure you want to marry into the family?’
Sadly, however, I did not like the main characters. As stated above, Katya was the exception and a few others having secondary roles. The leading man, Regan, is okay within himself, but with Tatiana being so hard to like, what on earth did he see in her? His back story and why he was in Paris was interesting. Yet this book is all about Tatiana in one sense and she is a difficult character to come to terms with even given her childhood experiences. Spoiled, unappreciative and just plain annoying - it became very difficult to feel sorry for her.
All up this is a real saga of its age, rich in style and detail. With the aftermath of the war and the evolution of a range of characters, The Paris Girl will try to sweep you away along a journey of much drama and heartache.
‘Why do you love him?’ When she gave no answer, Benjy supplied his own. ‘He’s hypnotised you with his own sense of self-worth. The answer, of course, is that you don’t love him. Not truly. You need him.’
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.