I received this book for free from the Kismet Book Touring in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey
Series: Paris Time Capsule #1
Published by Lake Union Publishing on May 26, 2015
Genres: Adult, Alternate History, Historical Retelling, Mystery, Romance
Source: Kismet Book Touring
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New York–based photographer Cat Jordan is ready to begin a new life with her successful, button-down boyfriend. But when she learns that she’s inherited the estate of a complete stranger—a woman named Isabelle de Florian—her life is turned upside down.
Cat arrives in Paris to find that she is now the owner of a perfectly preserved Belle Époque apartment in the ninth arrondissement, and that the Frenchwoman’s family knew nothing about this secret estate. Amid these strange developments, Cat is left with burning questions: Who was Isabelle de Florian? And why did she leave the inheritance to Cat instead of her own family?
As Cat travels France in search of answers, she feels her grasp on her New York life starting to slip. With long-buried secrets coming to light and an attraction to Isabelle de Florian’s grandson growing too intense to ignore, Cat will have to decide what to let go of, and what to claim as her own.
Who hasn’t seen the news story about the discovery in 2010 of a Paris apartment that was locked away, untouched for seventy years? I was intrigued by the pictures that were released, and author Ella Carey was as well, enough so that this idea sparked a novel, Paris Time Capsule.
New Yorker Cat Jordan receives a mysterious package which contains a key and a letter, instructing her to fly to Paris and meet with an attorney. Once there, she learns that she’s inherited an apartment that was first left to her deceased grandmother by a dear friend that she’d had right before World War II. While the will states that Cat is the heir to the apartment, she doesn’t feel right taking possession of anything if there are living heirs of Isabelle de Florian. Once the grandson Loic shows up when Cat is ready to enter the apartment, he insists that the apartment wasn’t meant for them if his grandmother kept it a secret. But they’re both in for a very big surprise once they push open the door to an apartment that hasn’t been occupied or even opened since it’s tenants fled as the war closed in seventy years earlier.
As Cat and Loic are surprised by the elegance and opulence of the apartment. Loic and his mother Sylvie knew his grandmother as a struggling house cleaner, so why would she own such a place and hide it? And so Cat and Loic’s journey throughout France begins as they try to retrace Isabelle de Florian’s steps as she fled Paris in 1940 for the south of France, pregnant with Loic’s mother Sylvie. If Cat can prove that Sylvie should inherit the apartment and the very expensive Bollini painting that was inside, then they’ll take it–and Cat can return to her high society New York fiancée and her boring portrait photography life. But will a cross-France trip convince Cat that maybe New York isn’t right for her and Europe is where she belongs, especially if she could be by the side of someone like thoughtful and kind Loic?
Cat believes that she is happy and she has a supportive fiancée in Christian, but her love of all things vintage doesn’t exactly fit in with his minimalistic and modern style. She knows that she’s not of the same social status as Christian and his friends, but she’s trying to fit in. When she travels to France, the lifestyle and pace is so different from what she’s used to in suffocating New York–and she really loves the small towns, the slower pace, and the comforting feel of the people in the south of France as she and Loic move from town to town in search of answers.
Loic is the handsome grandson that Cat didn’t know she’d want or really needed as a friend. They grow very close the longer they travel the country together, and Loic never thinks twice about speaking his mind about how Cat is selling herself short with her New York lifestyle, with her photography job that doesn’t let her be creative, or her choice in men. He isn’t lying when he says that he doesn’t want the apartment because after all, he has a flourishing and quite successful vineyard. All he wants to do is find out where his family comes from since his grandmother was always quite tight-lipped about her life.
I give Paris Time Capsule 4.5 out of 5. I loved, loved, loved this book. Ella Carey has taken a few basic facts from the discovery of Marthe de Florian’s apartment in Paris that had sat untouched for 70 years, and expanded it into such an amazingly emotional, educational, and touching story. The setting is really a secondary character in Paris Time Capsule, and I could vividly picture everywhere they traveled. From Paris and the dusty apartment to the country side, every sight and smell were easy to imagine. The only thing that bothered me was Cat’s fiancée Christian’s penchant for calling her honey. He said it so much I almost thought he’d forgotten her name at times. I highly recommend this book to everyone. I’m so happy that there is a second book on the way, What We Leave Behind, coming Spring 2016!
About Ella Carey
Ella Carey is a writer and Francophile who claims Paris as her second home. She has been studying French since the age of five, and she has degrees in music and English. Carey’s work has been published in the Review of Australian Fiction. She lives with her two children and two Italian greyhounds in Australia.
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