Monday, 15 February 2016

Book Review - It Started With Paris by Cathy Kelly - Paris Weekend

Amazon UK
Title: It Started With Paris
Author: Cathy Kelly
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: 2nd July 2015 
Rating: 4 Stars

At the top of the Eiffel Tower, a young man proposes to his girlfriend - and in that second, everything changes - for the couple, but also for their families back in Ireland . . .

Leila's been nursing a badly broken heart since her husband upped and left, but she's determined to put on a brave face for the bride. Vonnie, a widow and exceptional cake-maker, is just daring to let love back into her life, although someone seems determined to stop it. And head teacher Grace finds the impending wedding of her son means that she's spending more time with her ex-husband. After all those years apart, is it possible she's made a mistake?

Was slightly disappointed that although Paris was mentioned in the title of the book, the whole Parisian section was the prologue and that's it. However putting that aside, and you have a really enjoyable book, written by one of my favourite Irish fiction writers. 

As you may expect (if you have read a Cathy Kelly book before), there is a huge cast of interwoven characters, and part of the initial fun is making all the connections to see where they all fit in. Some are made more obvious than others. 

All the characters though, that the story focuses in, have in some way been affected by the upcoming wedding, the proposal of which was on the Eiffel Tower in the beginning.  It is so cleverly written that you don't discover the names of the newly engaged couple until a few chapters in, and before that you meet a mix of friends and family. 

In fact the majority of the book, is about the friends and family of this couple, and you really don't get to know the soon to be married people that well. 

Some of the standout stories within It Started With Paris include Ruby, whose mother is using her as a pawn in her marriage breakup, and Ruby is determined to make some of the affected grown ups stand up and take notice of how its affecting her. There is also Dolores, Leila and Susie's mother, who has a fall, and her daughters need to learn to start communicating better as a a result. 

In addition I loved Vonnie, who is just trying to find happiness after being widowed, and  has set up a fabulous cake-shop. I loved reading all about the various options for wedding cakes that she could create and any section set in her shop, was guaranteed to leave me feeling hungry. 

It Started With Paris is another fine book by Cathy Kelly, as it does what she writes about best, the relationships between friends and family over a couple of generations. It shows the wider effects of one glorious decision, and have far reaching consequences for everyone you know. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but do beware it may take a while to get all the characters straight in your head. 

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