Title: I’ll See You in Paris
Author: Michelle Gable
Expected Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pre-order: Amazon | Indigo | Barnes & Noble
Summary: After losing her fiancé in the Vietnam War, nineteen-year-old Laurel Haley takes a job in England, hoping the distance will mend her shattered heart. Laurel expects the pain might lessen but does not foresee the beguiling man she meets or that they’ll go to Paris, where the city’s magic will take over and alter everything Laurel believes about love.
Thirty years later, Laurel’s daughter Annie is newly engaged and an old question resurfaces: who is Annie’s father and what happened to him? Laurel has always been vague about the details and Annie’s told herself it doesn’t matter. But with her impending marriage, Annie has to know everything. Why won’t Laurel tell her the truth?
The key to unlocking Laurel’s secrets starts with a mysterious book about an infamous woman known as the Duchess of Marlborough. Annie’s quest to understand the Duchess, and therefore her own history, takes her from a charming hamlet in the English countryside, to a decaying estate kept behind barbed wire, and ultimately to Paris where answers will be found at last.
A huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy for reviewing.
I’ll admit, it took me forever to get past the first quarter of this book. It’s hefty, as historical fiction tends to be. I guess I just haven’t read one in so long that I forgot how vast books of this genre can get. Personal, time-restricting reasons aside, I wanted to make sure I had time to actually sit down and immerse myself into it, because right from the beginning, I could tell this was going to be something.
I’ll See You in Paris tells the tale of the real-life Duchess of Marlborough, Gladys Spencer-Churchill, who according to history, became recluse after being evicted from Blenheim Palace following her and the Duke’s separation around 1933. I went into this book expecting a recount of her life; what I got was so much more. Weaving into the Duchess’ story is the life of Laurel and Annie Haley, a fictional polar-opposite mother-daughter pair from Virginia who go through their own journey, testing and breaking down their relationship when they travel to England in order for Laurel to settle some business. Annie sneaks a book she found in her mother’s possession written about the Duchess. While overseas, Annie befriends an older man named Gus who helps her piece together the mystery of the missing Duchess.
The women’s stories parallel throughout the novel and Gable executes both of them in a way where there’s no disconnect. At first, I really didn’t understand the correlation between them, but you can just sense right from the beginning that these stories were told together for a reason. I was eager to know how and why, but I didn’t expect the result. It’s filled with twists and turns, and the more I progressed with the text, the more I found myself unable to set it down because I needed to know every single detail.
There’s quite a handful of characters from both timelines, but not one of them unlikable. Even the ones that aren’t featured very prominently play some kind of part in completing the story. Aside from these vivacious and often times troubled, intriguing characters, the settings and locations are described so fluidly and beautifully. You’ll definitely want to see Paris (and England!) after this one.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michelle Gable is the NY Times bestselling author of A PARIS APARTMENT and I’LL SEE YOU IN PARIS. A College of William & Mary graduate, Gable currently resides in Cardiff by the Sea, California with her husband, two daughters, and one lazy cat. (via Goodreads)