Paris for one by JoJo Moyes is a short, romantic novella about a weekend trip to Paris.
The story follows Nell, an English girl who is about as unadventurous as you can get. She has booked a weekend away to Paris with her boyfriend but, when she’s waiting by the Eurostar, he texts her to say he’s running late and that she should go on without him. She worries a little but she believes him when he says he will meet her at the hotel later. Only, later arrives and her boyfriend doesn’t. He isn’t going to turn up at all. Nell is left stranded in a strange city where she doesn’t know the language, sharing a room with a rude, American stranger. She considers going home but there are no trains until the next morning and they are ridiculously expensive, so she goes out for an awkward meal for one. It’s during this meal that she spills a glass of wine over a mysterious French waiter who ends up turning her weekend around. (Read the Goodreads description)
I feel like I’ve just relayed the whole book to you but I’ve actually left so much out. I’m amazed that Moyes managed to fit so much into so few pages…
Although Paris for One is not the best book I’ve ever read it was far from being the worst. As it is such a short book, consisting of around 100 pages, Paris for One can easily be read in one sitting.
The book was full of romantic clichés; the struggling Parisian writer who works as a waiter, the girl who doesn’t like adventure at the start but ends up becoming impulsive and reckless, the Paris setting and the jerk of a boyfriend. That being said, who doesn’t like a cliché every now and then? It’s a good filler when you need a little light relief in between psychological thrillers and books about murderers. And, as it’s so short, you don’t seem to notice the clichés as much because you don’t have to endure them for about 500 pages…
The writing is simple yet effective. Paris for One lacks a lot of description- presumably because the book is short so description is foregone to allow the story to progress at a suitable pace- but it’s still easy to feel as though you have been transported to the city of love. After reading only the first couple of chapters I was on the Eurostar website looking up prices of trains to Paris!
Although I knew this before I even began to read it, the book was very predictable. It was obvious that Nell was going to be left stranded, and it was obvious that she would meet a handsome, mysterious French guy who would sweep her off her feet. But, as long as you’re under no illusions that the book is not predictable then it’s not really something you can complain about.
Another thing I wasn’t too keen on was how the story kept flicking between Nell’s point of view and the waiter’s, but they would do so in the same chapter. It made it confusing to work out who was speaking at the start of a paragraph when the point of view had just changed without warning. I think that books which keep changing point of view need to be written in the first person, whereas this was written in the third person.
Despite its flaws Paris for One is nice, romantic quick read which I think travellers and chick lit lovers alike will enjoy. It might not exactly be Wuthering Heights but there’s no shame in enjoying a cliched romance novella every once in a while, is there?
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Has anyone read Paris for One? What did you think? Is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!
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