Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Guest Review: A Postcard from Paris by Alex Brown

Annie Lovell is keen to put the spark back into her life and when her elderly neighbour inherits an abandoned Parisian apartment she goes to Paris to discover more. Her curiosity takes an unexpected turn on discovering a bundle of secret diaries hidden within the walls, detailing the life of a young English woman, Beatrice Crawford, who volunteered in 1916 to nurse the soldiers in the fields of France.
 
Captivated by the romantic City of Light, Annie realises first appearances are not always as they seem. Following Beatrice’s journey from the Great War, through the Roaring Twenties and to a very different life in Nazi-occupied Paris, Annie must piece together the events from the past, if she is to fulfil the legacy that Beatrice left for her to find…


Review: I have read and enjoyed quite a number of books written by Alex Brown. I found her last one, A Postcard from Italy, particularly riveting, and was interested to see if this one could have me equally engrossed. I was not disappointed, as this story had me spellbound from page 1 and I literally did not want to put it down. Although the books are listed as part of the Postcard Series, they are completely standalone. I must mention that this book has a beautiful cover that promises the prospect of a romantic visit to Paris within its pages. Other fans of Alex Brown’s books will be delighted to know that, although the story focuses on Paris as the title suggests, there is a connection with the familiar location of Tindledale village. 


This story finds forty-nine year old Annie Lovell, divorced and with 2 grown-up children, pondering her future. When her dear friend and neighbour, Joanie Smith, unexpectedly inherits a property in Paris and asks Annie to go there to check it out, she jumps at the chance of a bit of excitement. Much to the disapproval of her daughter, Annie sets off on her own for fortnight’s holiday in the capital. There she finds a lot more than just an abandoned building. Firstly, she makes new friends in Maggie, her French guest house host, and Kristen, an American tourist, then a love interest in the shape of handsome builder √Čtienne, but most of all she uncovers a fascinating story of the former owner of the house, Beatrice Crawford, known to her friends as Trixie. With the help of some diaries and papers Annie finds hidden in the house and garden and a few people who knew her, Trixie’s life from the time of the first world war to the end of the second is gradually revealed. At the same time as Annie is making these discoveries, she is also learning some things about herself and her family.


I found this a really compelling story and would recommend A Postcard from Paris to other readers. If you are unfamiliar with Alex Brown’s work, then this would be a marvellous introduction. The characters in the book, from Annie herself to her friends and family and her new acquaintances, are all well developed and have interesting back stories. The main storyline is full of intriguing twists and turns as Annie tries to work out exactly who Trixie is, her connection with Joanie and, in particular, what role she was playing in Paris during the Nazi occupation in the second world war. I was fascinated as each new discovery was made about Trixie’s past. All of this with the backdrop of the sights, sounds and smells of Paris make this a book that I shall certainly revisit. I don’t know if there are more books to come in this series, but I shall be on the lookout. 


To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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