Please note: I received an E-book copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced by opinion of this book.
Synopsis (From GoodReads):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.
Review:The historical fiction book, I'll See You In Paris, by Michelle Gable, primarily focuses on the later years of real-life eccentric American Gladys Deacon. Once the Duchess of Marlborough in the 1920's, she seems to turn away from wealth and privilege and become a recluse, living out her life in squalor in the English countryside. The story begins as a young woman, Laurel, is hired by the family to be her companion. Later a writer, fascinated by Gladys, enters their lives and is determined to write her biography.
This is a difficult review for me to write. The enjoyment of this novel is predicated on the assumption that we are enthralled by Gladys' story, but I was not. I lived in Cambridge for 5 months in college and even visited Blenheim Castle. But, even with my intense love for England, I did not find her story to be very exciting. Apparently one is supposed to be impressed that Gladys was great friends with the French writer Marcel Proust. Since I think most people (myself included) are not well-versed in his books, this just comes off as pretentious. The book gives hints that Gladys will spill juicy stories of Proust and Edith Wharton (who she claimed to be best friends with) and then fails to follow through. If her younger years were so interesting, why not make that the focus of the book? Instead, we are treated to the erratic behavior of an older woman who may be mentally ill. What created the change from a socialite to a hermit? The book doesn't really explore that aspect of the story, which is a shame. Now that would have made a great book.
If you do already find the life of Gladys Deacon to be treasure trove of mystery and intrigue, you very well may enjoy this book. But for me, I found it to be a frustrating tease.
Release Date: February 9th, 2016
Source: ARC from NetGalley
Recommendation: If you want to read about Gladys Deacon, find a biography on her instead of this historical fiction.
Would I read other books from this author? No.