"Marius Gabriel plots and writes beautifully... His novels involve strong women and he has a gift for making us care and making the characters real."
The Parisians is that rarity - a WW II novel that is original and gripping with three female protagonists.
Olivia is a struggling artist until chance takes her to work as a maid at The Ritz Hotel in 1940s Paris and all the world looks good. Coco Chanel has a suite at The Ritz and welcomes war as a way to get back assets shared with her Jewish partners. And the famous actress Arletty has clawed her way to be adored by France only to fall in love and place her own world in jeopardy. When the Germans invade and the High Command take suites at the Ritz, each woman faces a choice between love, revenge and doing the most selfish rights and wrongs - who will survive? And how?
Gripping. Yet charming despite the subject. The sort of book we readers want, but publishers and editors seldom give us - an old-fashioned story with a plot, with just enough show as well as tell, with women at the heart. Chanel and Arletty are real figures - little did we know how badly Chanel behaved and yet got away with it; and yet Arletty, who had an affair for love and love alone, was treated very differently. Olivia engages you from the start and without yet another rags-to-riches saga but as the artist down on her luck.
Marius Gabriel plots and writes beautifully - even tenderly. His novels involve strong women and those women are not necessarily sweet and sympathetic - he has a gift for making us care and making the characters real.
You won't put it down. Light a fire. Get a bottle. Read on.
© Jeffrey Manton
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