The past couple of weeks I have had my head buried in a historical fiction book, a murder mystery theme that was a good read but took up so much of my time to finish it. But finally, I did & straight away dived into a romantic fiction, yes complete polar opposites but honestly, I’m pretty hooked on Karen Swan after loving her work in ‘Christmas In The Snow’ which you can read about here on Book Club 9.0. Feeling I needed to be swept off my feet & having only just visited Paris in December I was keen to get started on ‘The Paris Secret.’
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?
If you have read any of Karen Swan’s books before then you will be familiar with how fantastic she is at creating & developing sophisticated females in high-flying careers & you can’t help but love Flora oh how I want to be her! Surrounded by a loving family that have their own dramatic sub storyline running through the book revolved around her loving older brother Freddy. Whilst Flora leads a fast-paced whirlwind of a life dictated by her career but a career that she loves you can genuinely feel the emotion she has towards her brother & the current situation he is in. Raised in the art world with her Dad a famous auctioneer at Christie’s, it’s where she’s most comfortable, as well as socialising with friends in beautiful locations, dressed in chic outfits that made me wish I was her.
Set against a Parisian backdrop Flora immerses herself in the discovery of an art collection that has been in hiding since WWII, as she works her way through the collection she meets the high society Vermeil family it has been traced back to, specifically their rebellious daughter & handsome son both of whom she doesn’t get off to the best of starts with. The discovery of the collection is used as the basis for the story & the whole way through you are swept up in the mystery & intrigue. Flora with her fast-paced lifestyle runs on adrenaline, flying from city to city, intense work hours, visiting her family to get a break from her job. You are swept up in the secrets surrounding this families’ history & their association to the art collection but don’t worry as there is no shortage of glamour & scandal that I have come to love in her books, it’s realistic not unimaginable.
I did think at the start is this going to be two separate stories the historical art story V’s the glamorous Parisian lifestyle & I could not see how they were going to come together but I wasn’t left disappointed, as the mystery & secrets are revealed you are hooked & clinging to know more. But it’s not just the main story line of the secret collection that is gripping but also Flora’s relationship with the Vermeil’s son Xavier. Along with his sister Natascha they both come across as rich, spoilt with no consideration for others & I could not see how they were going to develop in the story line or how I was going to take a liking to them but I was proven wrong & was definitely too quick to judge their characters. The book comes together fantastic, with results for all of the storylines that flow through the pages, you are hooked from the first few pages, with the charming descriptions of Paris, the depths of the characters & the ravelling mystery surrounding it all, it ticked all the boxes. AA x