Title: Christmas in Paris by Anita Hughes
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary, Roamnce
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Anita Hughes’s Christmas in Paris is a moving and heartwarming story about love, trust, and self-discovery. Set during the most magical week of the year, the glorious foods and fashions of the most romantic city in the world are sure to take your breath away.
Isabel Lawson is standing on the balcony of her suite at the Hotel de Crillon as she gazes at the twinkling lights of the Champs-Élysées and wonders if she’s made a terrible mistake. She was supposed to be visiting the Christmas tree in the Place de la Concorde, and eating escargots and macaroons with her new husband on their honeymoon. But a week before the wedding, she called it off. Isabel is an ambitious Philadelphia finance woman, and Neil suddenly decided to take over his grandparents’ farm. Isabel wasn’t ready to trade her briefcase for a pair of rubber boots and a saddle.
When Neil suggested she use their honeymoon tickets for herself, she thought it would give her a chance to clear her head. That is until she locks herself out on the balcony in the middle of winter. Thankfully her neighbor Alec, a French children’s illustrator, comes to her rescue. He too is nursing a broken heart at the Crillon for the holidays. With a new friend by her side, Isabel is determined to use her time in the “city of lights” wisely. After a chance encounter with a fortune teller, and a close call with a taxi, she starts to question everything she thought was important.
Set against the glimmering holiday lights of Paris, Christmas in Paris by Anita Hughes is a whimsical romance.
Realizing she and her fiancé Neil Harmon want completely different things in life, Isabel Lawson cancels her wedding just a few days before the ceremony. Now, instead of enjoying her honeymoon with her new husband, she is reflecting on her failed engagements and exploring Paris with Alec Braxton, the jilted groom in the room next door to hers. A chance encounter with a fortune teller convinces Isabel that her future husband is a French aristocrat so, with a little help from Alec, she sets out to find the man of her dreams. Believing her future lies with a dreamy comte she meets at a ball, Isabel is nonplussed by her sudden awareness of Alec. However she ignores her growing feelings for him as she awaits a marriage proposal from the man Isabel believes she is destined to share her life with.
Isabel might be a successful career woman but she also wants a husband and children. Now with two failed engagements behind her, she begins to doubt her judgment since she was absolutely certain that Neil was the right man for her. So, it makes perfect sense to her to believe the fortune teller’s prediction about an imminent proposal from a titled Frenchman. This somewhat fanciful belief is a little at odds with her somewhat analytical mind but Isabel is soon busy dreaming up some very elaborate plans starring her future fiancé, the comte. Needless to say, reality sometimes falls a bit short of her fairytale dreams yet she has an intractable belief the fortune teller’s prediction will come true. When not mooning over her would be suitor or reminiscing about her past, Isabel enjoys quite a few very down to earth, fun-filled adventures with Alec.
Jilted by his beautiful fiancée, Alec is nursing a broken heart while working on the illustrations for his next children’s book starring an adventuresome dog named Gus when he meets Isabel. He is quite sweet but he definitely feels sorry for himself for much of the story. He has a bit of convoluted issue with his family but he quite devoted to widowed mother. Alec’s frustrations with his family and his ex manifest themselves in some hilarious (and sometimes dire) situations for Gus but once he meets Isabel, his fictional character begins starring in some very familiar fairy tales. Dismayed to realize he is beginning to fall for Isabel, he initially resists his feelings but after getting a little helpful advice from his best friend, Alec decides to woo her. But with Isabel pinning all her hopes for her future on the comte, will she give Alec a chance?
With Paris serving as a glamorous backdrop for this magical holiday story, Christmas in Paris is an enchanting romance that provides readers with a decadent escape from everyday life. A hallmark of a novel by Anita Hughes is a lush, extravagant setting which springs vibrantly to life and in this latest release, readers will have no trouble visualizing famous Parisian landmarks during Isabel’s explorations of the city. Although the storyline is somewhat unrealistic, this charming tale is a fanciful adventure that will delight readers who enjoy light-hearted love stories.