Sunday, 25 September 2016

Book Review - The Paris Secret by Karen Swan

Amazon UK
Title: The Paris Secret
Author: Karen Swan 
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Pan McMillan
Publication Date: 14th July 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

Not every door should be opened . . .

With stunning locations and page-turning tension, The Paris Secret is an intense and gripping tale from bestselling author Karen Swan.

Somewhere along the cobbled streets of Paris, an apartment lies thick with dust and secrets: full of priceless artworks hidden away for decades.

High-flying fine art agent Flora from London, more comfortable with the tension of a million-pound auction than a cosy candlelit dinner for two, is called in to assess these suddenly discovered treasures. As an expert in her field, she must trace the history of each painting and discover who has concealed them for so long.

Thrown in amongst the glamorous Vermeil family as they move between Paris and Antibes, Flora begins to discover that things aren't all that they seem, while back at home her own family is recoiling from a seismic shock. The terse and brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on forcing Flora out of his family's affairs - but just what is he hiding?

It took the whole of the first couple of chapters for me to realise that Karen Swan had yet another truly fantastic book on her hands (well, so  long as it continued for the whole book, which it did). There are early on the mentions of what are clearly a couple of big and intriguing mysteries, one related to Flora's work and the other with her family. 

Many pages into The Paris Secret you only start to get a glimpse as to how big the secrets are, and even then I couldn't foresee how they would turn out. Around half way through, I actually had to stop to gasp out loud at a revelation. 

Yet despite being a huge fan of Karen Swan's books, I had let The Paris Secret sit on my kindle for months because I fell into the age old trap of judging a book by its cover. Due to this cover not really being the same style as any of her previous books, I was worried about the content of the book, and whether I would really like it. The moral of this is I really do need to with authors that I love, to just sit and read them regardless of cover and potentially blurb. 

The backdrop to this mega story is Paris, and more specifically the art world. A known family in Paris suddenly discover they own an apartment that they didn't know existed. They call in the art experts, Flora, and she makes a whole range of startling discoveries, starting initially with just the sheer volume of treasures there are in this apartment. 

As she is tracing the provenance of some of the works of art, she is drawn back in time to the Second World War, and hits some big question marks, which make her even more determined to come up with the goods. Normally I try to avoid history, but in this case, it was a huge part of the story, but without being set in the past, so I was able to cope with it. 

The writing drew me in, and I was hooked on the whole book, especially the last quarter or so, where I lost all track of time, or where I was, as I knew I had to find out what happened next. It is a thoroughly enjoyable story, and I'm just sorry I didn't start it the second I got hold of a copy. 

Thank you so much to Pan and Netgalley for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

1 comment:

  1. I do judge books by covers, always!!! Yes, Karen Swan books have the best Christmas themed covers. So, I was also a bit disappointed wish this one. BUT after reading your review, I'm hoping to pick this one up... :D


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