by Anstey Harris
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 288 Pages
Release date: August 7, 2018
Blurb via GoodReads:
Jojo Moyes meets Eleanor Oliphant in Goodbye, Paris, an utterly charming novel that proves that sometimes you have to break your heart to make it whole.
Grace once had the beginnings of a promising musical career, but she hasn’t been able to play her cello publicly since a traumatic event at music college years ago. Since then, she’s built a quiet life for herself in her small English village, repairing instruments and nurturing her long- distance affair with David, the man who has helped her rebuild her life even as she puts her dreams of a family on hold until his children are old enough for him to leave his loveless marriage.
But when David saves the life of a woman in the Paris Metro, his resulting fame shines a light onto the real state of the relationship(s) in his life. Shattered, Grace hits rock bottom and abandons everything that has been important to her, including her dream of entering and winning the world’s most important violin-making competition. Her closest friends–a charming elderly violinist with a secret love affair of his own, and her store clerk, a gifted but angst-ridden teenage girl–step in to help, but will their friendship be enough to help her pick up the pieces?
Filled with lovable, quirky characters, this poignant novel explores the realities of relationships and heartbreak and shows that when it comes to love, there’s more than one way to find happiness.
Goodbye, Paris was a great feel-good read for the summer. Despite Grace’s precarious position as the mistress of a man who is obviously (to everyone but Grace, that is) fundamentally selfish and childish, the tone for the story is quite optimistic. Grace begins the story as a somewhat unlikable narrator; while this may be a bit of a turn-off for some readers, it leaves so much room for growth and character development, which is what this novel is all about.
The blurb makes reference to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and this feels appropriate; Grace will feel familiar for fans of Gail Honeyman’s novel. Part of the reason she has scales over her eyes when it comes to David, her married boyfriend, is because she is otherwise so fundamentally isolated. While she has a few friends, people she has bonded with in the course of her work, there is a definite sense of a barrier there, and one can see it slowly dissolving throughout the course of the novel.
Grace is passionate about music, and Harris has woven this into every aspect of her story. Music is connected to the trauma of her youth which took away her sense of self worth, and it is intricately connected to her healing as an adult as she slowly regains her confidence. Her closest friendships come through a shared love of music. Her faith in her abilities helps her to see herself as a person of value outside of her relationship to David.
Goodbye, Paris is a tad predictable and not terribly deep, but it was immensely satisfying to read. If you’re looking for a warm and fuzzy tale of a woman coming into her own, however belatedly it may be, pick up a copy today.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher.
Thank you for reading! What’s your favorite feel-good novel? Please share in the comments!