Book Review: I'll See You In Paris by Michelle Gable
This novel is delightful! It is warm and engaging, and follows a multi-generational story. In 2001, newly engaged Annie tags along with my mother to Banbury in Oxfordshire, England. Unfortunately, her mother spends most of her time in meetings, and Annie is left to her own devices. After finding a book in her mother’s home, The Missing Duchess: A Biography, and learning that it was written in Banbury, she goes on a quest to find out more about the mysterious Duchess. She is also on a quest to learn about her father. Who was he and what happened to him? Her mother has always been closed-lipped on the subject.
Back in 1972, Pru takes a job as a companion to the Duchess in a decaying Banbury estate after losing her fiance in the Vietnam War. The Duchess is now in her 90s. Pru hopes the distance from her hometown in the US will help mend her shattered heart. But she has no idea she will fall under the spell of Win, the rascal who is trying to pen the biography of the Duchess. The reader also learns more about the beautiful, glamorous Duchess of her youth – a woman who had many lovers and mixed with the rich and famous. In her old age she runs around the house half-naked, brandishing guns.
The characters in this layered novel are ones to care for. I especially enjoyed the unique head-strong character of the Duchess. But Win, Pru, and Annie are all equally warm and engaging. Eventually, all the three elements of the story come together, in surprising but highly satisfying ways. And the action doesn’t move to Paris until nearly the end of the book, but it all makes sense when it does.