Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer Robson

Helena had heard, or perhaps she had rad somewhere, that people on the point of death were insensible to pain. ~ Opening of Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer Robson



Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer Robson
William Morrow, 2016
Fiction (Historical); 352 pgs
Source: Edelweiss

From Goodreads: 
It’s the spring of 1924, and Lady Helena Montagu-Douglas-Parr has just arrived in France. On the mend after a near-fatal illness, she is ready to embrace the restless, heady allure of the City of Lights. Her parents have given her one year to live with her eccentric aunt in Paris and Helena means to make the most of her time. She’s quickly drawn into the world of the Lost Generation and its circle of American expatriates, and with their encouragement, she finds the courage to pursue her dream of becoming an artist.

Moonlight Over Paris was just what I needed after reading two rather dark books one right after the other. Author Jennifer Robson's novel is the kind of book I want to escape into, losing myself in another time and place for a short while. One I know will leave me with a cozy and happy feeling in the end. Lady Helena Montagu-Douglas-Parr is recovering from a near fatal illness. She has a new appreciation for life and wants to live as fully as she can. Despite her family's reservations, she travels to Paris to stay with her widowed aunt where Helena is to study art. Her parents give her a year, and she plans to make the most of it.

Set in 1924, after the Great War, this novel is a quiet one. You won't find much in the way of suspense or unexpected twists and turns. It's like indulging in a delicious piece of chocolate cake. Helena is a thoughtful and caring person. She is intelligent and proper, and also forward thinking. She isn't stuck to convention they way others of her station might be. Helena is down to earth and easily makes friends at her school. Afraid her title might influence those around her, she prefers to keep it to herself.

Among Helena's friends is Chicago Tribune writer, Sam Howard, a veteran of the war. The two strike up an instant friendship, the attraction between the two obvious. Only, neither is quite ready to admit to it.  Sam was probably my favorite character in the book behind Helena's aunt. I found him to be the most interesting, both his job and his past.

I quite liked Helena and her friends, each of whom the reader gets to know over the course of the book. I would not have minded getting to know any of them a bit more. In fact, I think my only complaint about the book was that I wish there had been more time spent on several of secondary characters as I would like to have known more about each of them. I think that is more my greediness than the author's fault. She does provide them with interesting backstories; so much so I wanted more. I loved the brief appearances of familiar people--like the Hemingways and Fitzgeralds.

I enjoyed Moonlight Over Paris most for its atmosphere, the setting, including the time period, and the interesting cast of characters. I would not have minded a bit more tension and conflict, but, overall, I do not think the story suffered for it.

To learn more about Jennifer Robson and her books, please visit the author's Facebook Page

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© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

26 comments:

  1. I love it when an author creates secondary characters who come to life! I often find I'm more intrigued by the secondary characters than by the protagonist.

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    1. Jenclair - I find that too sometimes. Who knows; we may get lucky and the author may write a spin off featuring one or more.

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  2. I don't always like historical fiction but I do like that time period so will have to pick this one up.

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    1. Kathy - I don't think this particular book is heavy in the history, although it is clearly set in the 1920's. You might like this one, Kathy!

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  3. I've read several good reviews on her books, Wendy. I might want to check them out. :-)

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    1. Melody - Sometimes I prefer more meatier historical fiction, but when I'm in the mood for something lighter, but still well grounded in a historical setting, Robson is a good author to turn to.

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  4. I have been meaning to read her books for ages. One day!

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    1. Kelley - That's what I seem to say about a lot of books. One day. :-)

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  5. I like historical fiction but it's a genre I tend to overlook. This looks really wonderful. I love when you want more of the characters because they're so interesting.

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    1. Katherine - I find that I overlook it too--unless it's a mystery. I hope you will give Jennifer Robson a try!

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  6. I like this period in history and the setting. Sounds an interesting read.

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    1. Mystica - I do too. There's just something appealing about the time period. And it's always nice to visit Paris (even if only in books).

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  7. I love the cover! Any book you can compare to a piece of chocolate cake must be a good one (unless you're allergic to chocolate and calories- then it'd be a nightmare). I read another one that sounds somewhat similar that was set in Paris, but to be honest, it's hard for me to get tired of reading about Paris- especially with a vintage-y timeline.
    ~Litha Nelle

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    1. Litha Nelle - This one makes for a good comfort read. And it doesn't come with calories, which is a definite plus. ;-)

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  8. Like Kathy I don't read a lot of historical fiction yet, something about this one appeals to me. I love the cover as well.

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    1. Diane - Isn't the cover great? I like it too. I love historical fiction, but don't read it as often as I wish I did. Too many other books to read too! If you do read this one, I hope you like it!

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  9. I really enjoy books set in this time period. It's so fascinating to see how women's roles are changing. Enjoyed reading your review and of course another one for my book list!

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    1. Iliana - Yes, it really is interesting to see the changes in women's roles over time. I think I preferred her first book more, but I enjoyed this one as well.

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  10. It sounds like you needed a book with less tension after two dark ones! Glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. Shaina - Yes, the timing for this one was perfect!

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  11. I've read so many books set in London or England during the interwar period, and so few set in the US or Europe. It sounds like this book gave you a good sense of the time and place, something I look for in a historical novel, along with compelling characters.

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    1. Lark - Most of the books set in that time period do seem to be set in England, don't they? I don't mind so much given I love to read about England, but it's nice to step away from that. This one had a very English feel, of course, being the main character being English herself.

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  12. I like more story, but you've made me think I'd like this one and, Paris? Who can complain about Paris?

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    1. Stacy - I think her first book was stronger, but I did enjoy this one. It definitely isn't big on story. Maybe if you're in the mood for something quiet--and Paris. :-)

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  13. This sounds like an interesting read I'd enjoy, if for no other reason than Paris.

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