“How lucky they were to find each other in this big, mad world.”
I’ll See You in Paris is a charming novel that takes the reader back and forth in time, travelling from the English countryside to the streets of Paris. Young Annie has many questions regarding her family history, one that her mother Laurel has never fully spoken about and prefers to leave in the past. When Annie discovers a mysterious book about the infamous Duchess of Marlborough, she becomes fascinated with the story, which as it turns out is closely tied to her own history. The book takes turns giving us Annie’s perspective and her discoveries, and going back in time to the story of the Duchess herself (who went by Mrs. Spencer) during the period when a young writer was writing her biography. This biography being the book that would find its way into Annie’s possession. We meet the writer Win, and a young woman named Pru who was the caretaker/assistant to the elderly Mrs. Spencer. As their story and experiences with the Duchess unfolds, many of Annie’s questions are answered as well.
A captivating story that kept me engaged from start to finish, I’ll See You in Paris is a beautifully written novel that is full of endearing characters. Inspired by the real life Duchess of Marlborough, author Michelle Gable crafted an intriguing and intricate story that is sweet, funny, and heartwarming. The narrative switches from different time periods and perspectives, and it does so effortlessly. It unfolds as somewhat of a mystery, and while I thought I knew what was coming and how the story would progress, that turned out to not be the case. It kept me guessing and I simply couldn’t put it down. The heart of the story for me were the characters of Win and Pru whose dialogue and interactions were so incredibly amusing. I also really enjoyed the historical aspect of the novel and learning about the character that was the Duchess of Marlborough. I’ll See You in Paris is a charming and well-crafted novel whose characters will stay with you well after the story has reached its conclusion.
ARC provided by NetGalley for review. Publication date: February 9, 2016.
“We all have our time machines, don’t we. Those that take us back are memories… and those that carry us forward, are dreams.” – H.G. Wells