My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

ARC Review: All The Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio

Please Note: I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

When Caroline Williams wakes up in Paris with no memory of her past, she finds that returning to the life she has forgotten is harder than she thought. Even her cavernous apartment on rue Cler seems to hold no clues...
As she searches, Caroline discovers a hidden stack of letters written by a young mother, Céline, during the Second World War. Captivated by Céline's desperate love for both her daughter and her missing lover, and the haunting glimpses of Paris under Nazi occupation, Caroline begins to realise she may have more in common with Céline that she could ever imagine.
What dark secrets are harboured within the walls of her picture-perfect Parisian home?
And could uncovering the truth about Céline unlock Caroline's own...?  

I have long been a fan of historical fiction.  I love learning the details about a time and place I can never actually visit.  Plus, reading stories where where the characters are swept up in larger historical events are always fascinating.  I have mixed feelings about All The Flowers in Paris, by Sarah Jio.  Alternating between the 1940's and present day, the novel successfully presents the personal drama of a young mother in Paris trying to survive the Nazi occupation of WWII.  However, what did not work, in my opinion, was the part of the story that took place in present day.  I still found this story quite enjoyable and gave it a three out of five stars.

What I Liked:
Historical Details:
The author did a wonderful job of showing the reader what life was like in Paris during WWII.  From what people wore to the standards of living various classes of people had, one could really get a feel for how Parisians lived.  I particularly liked reading about the small pleasures Céline's daughter, Cosi, took in finding little treats to share with her stuffed teddy bear, and the joy she had in writing in a journal. 

The story, set in 1940's Paris, is really riveting.  As the story begins we see Céline, a young widowed mother, doing her best to ignore the signs that hard times are on their way.  She and her father run a flower shop.  If people are still ordering flowers for dinner parties, things can't be that bad, right?  But when Céline's beauty is noticed by a brutal Nazi officer, she learns just how much the world has changed.

The novel shows the changes that occur slowly among her neighbors.  It starts with people looking the other way as Germans harass minorities, and continues when people keep silent as their Jewish neighbors are arrested.  What was once unthinkable is now accepted.

What I Didn't Like:
Modern-day Story:
I felt the story set in modern times was unnecessarily melodramatic.  We learn early on that Caroline, the main character, has a bike accident leaving her mostly unscathed... except for a very large, and convenient, case of amnesia!  Really?  


This was just ridiculous.  The author seemed to think that Caroline needed a huge reason to want to know more about the box of old letters she finds in her apartment.  But if I found such a stash, I wouldn't need a blow to the head to want to learn more.

This was also an absurd premise for the romance in the story and again, totally unnecessary.  There would have been plenty of emotional tension without this crutch.

Trigger Warning for Sexual Violence


Release Date:  August 13th, 2019

Author:  Sarah Jio

Publisher:  Ballantine Books

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Page Length:  320 Pages

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  Although the modern day story was silly, the tale of a young mother in Nazi-occupied Paris was very compelling.  I recommend getting this at the library.

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2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
MsArdychan has read 2 books toward her goal of 120 books.


80% 80% 100 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge
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