Rating:

Reviewed by Rachel Mann

Overall, I enjoyed reading Paris Adieu by Rozsa Gaston. In this book, the main character, Ava, ends up returning to Paris again and again, as though she can’t get enough of the place (totally understandable). As time passes, Paris shapes not only who she is but who she wants to become. The way the book is structured is really interesting–I like how we drop in on Ava at three different points in her life and trace her evolution from music school dropout to artist in search of herself. Ava seems to have the most fun in the middle of the book, when she meets a young man named Pascal.

The best part of Paris Adieu may be the descriptions of Paris. Whether Gaston has lived there or not, she does a credible job of making it sound like Ava has. The descriptions of streets and areas are enjoyable and captivating. After all, isn’t the desire to mentally visit the City of Light part of why we read books set in Paris?

Some small errors, typographical and otherwise, threatened to interfere with my enjoyment of the book, though (misspellings of celebrity names and incorrect apostrophes in plural possessives, for example). I was also off put by the way Ava’s grandmother seemed to change by the end of the book, as did the relationship between the two: at the beginning, it’s terribly acrimonious, and by the end it’s grudgingly admirable. I couldn’t tell whether this was a sign of Ava’s growing maturity or a shift in presentation of the character.

Ultimately, though, what Gaston tells us about Paris, about the French, and about finding oneself in a foreign country is valuable food for thought.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Rachel, who has a Ph.D. in English, is a freelance writer/editor and a voracious reader. You can talk to her about books at http://twitter.com/writehandmann.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by the Rozsa Gaston. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.