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Published by Hachette on 20th November
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Love & Romance, New Adult, Realistic Fiction, Romance
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Twenty-five-year-old Claire Shorten had looked forward to spending a romantic weekend in Paris for as long as she could remember, and now it was here - three blissful days of strolling through cobbled streets arm-in-arm with her beloved, eating copious amounts of baked goods and soaking up the culture through each and every pore of her body. Well, at least, that was how she'd pictured it . . .
Even after her boyfriend dumps her rather unceremoniously in the most romantic place on earth, Claire is determined not to give up on her dream altogether - with or without a boyfriend. She finds herself a job in the kitchen of a small hotel; Michelin-starred it most certainly is not, but somehow Claire makes a place for herself amidst the dirty dishes and the foreign misfits who run the place.
When the restaurant attracts the attention of the enigmatic - if not slightly terrifying - tycoon Louis Delarue, and Claire manages to survive his high-powered business luncheon from hell, she knows that she can survive anything, surely. But all bets are off when Louis makes a game-changing decision: he's coming back for a second course . . .
Claire Shorten has always dreamed about Paris. When her longtime boyfriend takes her to the Eiffel Tower on a mini-break, Claire is sure that this is is – a dream proposal in a gorgeous, picturesque location. But in one of the most romantic places in the world he asks a very different question. Heartbroken that her boyfriend wants to see other people, Claire isn’t going to let her ex ruin Paris for her. She gets the opportunity to live like a local and help save a failing hotel. The only catch is the surly celebrity chef and restaurateur extraordinary who has methods of his own to turn around the hotel.
Paris Lights is the perfect summer read. Beautiful location with fun characters, this book is a delightful mix of Parisian culture and Australian attitude. Claire may be heartbroken when the romance in her favourite city is damaged a little but she doesn’t let anything get her down for too long. She comes face to face with a younger, handsomer Gordon Ramsay type and (despite his reputation) she doesn’t let him intimidate her.
There is a bit of a Kitchen Nightmares vibe to Louis Delarue and I loved seeing Claire put him in his place when he deserved it. Claire finds she can really help the merry mix of quirky hotel workers using her event planning skills to use. And Louis may be scary and successful but he has met his match in Claire.
The romance in this book flowed at a nice pace considering how the novel started. I was worried Claire would be on the rebound but everything was dealt with neatly without allowing anything to get too complicated. Interactions between Claire and Louis were amusing with them mixing flirty banter and sensual intimate scenes. It was also nice to see the man behind the terrifying reputation as his relationship with Claire developed.
Paris Lights is the kind of book you can devour in a few hours. It’s lighthearted and fun, chock full of romance. It’s very main character focused with the minor characters only seemingly existing to help further Claire’s story but that wasn’t a problem. This is a romantic comedy which delivers on the romance and the comedy.
It was fun to follow Claire as Paris mended her broken heart and showed her just how romantic Paris can be. I’m excited to see the next two standalones in the Heart of the City series and can’t wait to see what CJ Duggan delights us with next!
Many thanks to Hachette Australia for the review copy.