From a Paris Balcony by Ella Carey
The small green chest was concealed at the back of her father’s wardrobe. Its hinges were made of brass that must once have shone, but now the surface was roughened and dull. As she opened the lock, there was only one thing inside: a letter, postmarked 1895, Paris.
England, 1895. Louisa West, a young beauty from Boston, looks like she has it all: a handsome husband, she is lady of Ashworth Manor and one day she’ll be a duchess. But in truth, her life is falling apart. Louisa’s honeymoon is barely over when her husband deserts her, leaving her devastated and alone. She flees to Paris, longing to escape her grief, but finds only tragedy…
Boston, 2015. Life hasn’t been kind to Sarah West. In one year, she has lost both her parents and her marriage. After her father’s death, Sarah is sorting through his belongings when she finds a letter about her mysterious ancestor, Louisa. There have always been whispers in the family about Louisa’s suicide—from a high balcony in Paris—but as Sarah reads, she starts to question everything she was told. Desperate to leave her broken heart behind, she books a trip to Paris to find out more…
When Sarah arrives in the city of lights, the cobbled streets of Montmartre and the river Seine at twilight make her heart sing. Then, on the bookshelf of a beautiful Paris apartment, hidden inside the yellowing pages of an old novel, she finds a note about Louisa which shatters Sarah’s understanding of her family’s past. Did Louisa really throw herself from a Paris balcony? And when Sarah uncovers the truth, will it change everything about her future?
An utterly captivating and emotional historical novel from bestselling author Ella Carey that will transport you to Paris at its most glamorous. From a Paris Balcony will have fans of Rhys Bowen, Fiona Valpy and My Name is Eva totally gripped!
|From a Paris Balcony Ella Carey blog tour|
This is the third novel in the Secrets of Paris series, and we are reunited with courtesan Marthe de Florian, this time during her heyday in Belle Epoque Paris. Henry Duval, eldest son of a duke and duchess and heir to the Ashworth estate, is reluctant to meet his obligations. He has no interest in working on the estate and the life he is born into means he is unable to fulfil his dream to be an actor, so he creates his own fantasy life in Paris. By choosing American bride, Louisa West, who is different to the other debutantes, he rebels in his own way. Respectfully married in the eyes of his parents, Henry wastes no time heading back to Paris and his friendship with Marthe, believing he has the power and money to have it all.
Louisa is different. Sent from Boston to England by her mother, to find a husband and settle down respectfully, all she really wants is a life with a purpose, where she can make a difference. She corresponds with Emmeline Pankhurst, tentatively setting up her own branch of the league in Ashworth and is appalled by life in Montmartre and all that fascinates her husband. Her marriage is a lonely one and she must keep what is in her heart a secret, throwing her energies into making the lives of women better, until tragedy strikes.
These troubles of the past are played out alongside the journey of Sarah West, ancestor of Louisa, who arrives in Paris with a letter, hoping to uncover the family mystery surrounding Louisa’s death. In a year when she has lost so much, Sarah finds comfort in researching the past and staying in the very apartment owned by Marthe de Florian helps in more ways than one. The more she learns about Louisa, the more the story passed down the generations seems wrong, and the more determined she is to uncover the truth. Paris may not hold all the answers, but the people she meets change her outlook on life and slowly the grief of the past year begins to recede. Her journey into the past just might affect her future.
This book has strong characters who drew me into their lives and struggles, and the more that was revealed about the past, the more I needed to know, meaning I regularly had to read ‘just one more’ chapter before closing my kindle. The descriptions and settings meant it was easy to visualise the genteel social scene of England and the contrast of the seedy Paris nightlife of the late 1800’s, whilst Sarah’s journey in modern Paris is highly charged with emotions and a feast for the senses. If you enjoy fiction that delves into the past, with intrigue, mystery and romance, I’m sure you will love this one.
All three books in the series can be read as standalone novels, but I thoroughly recommend reading them all.
You can read my reviews of the previous two books here:
Ella Carey is the international bestselling author of The Things We Don’t Say, Secret Shores, From a Paris Balcony, The House by the Lake, and Paris Time Capsule. Her books have been published in over fourteen languages, in twelve countries, and have been shortlisted for ARRA awards. A Francophile who has long been fascinated by secret histories set in Europe’s entrancing past, Ella has degrees in music, nineteenth-century women’s fiction, and modern European history. She lives in Melbourne with her two children and two Italian greyhounds who are constantly mistaken for whippets.
Ella loves to connect with her readers regularly through her facebook page and on her website.