I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
An American in Paris navigates her family’s secret past and unlocks her own future, in this emotionally evocative novel by New York Times bestselling author Juliet Blackwell.
As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle’s side. But since then, living back in the States, she has become more private, more subdued. She has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband.
Paris never really left Genevieve, and, as her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity: return to the magical city of her youth to take over her late uncle’s shop. But as she absorbs all that Parisian culture has to offer, she realizes the city also holds secrets about her family that could change her forever, and that locked doors can protect you or imprison you, depending on which side of them you stand.
Juliet Blackwell delivers a poignant novel rich in family secrets, friendships both new and old, and a lot of French history. She takes us to a small town in France called “Village Saint-Paul”, which is a small heartwarming town at the center of this novel. Both Genevieve Martin and her mother, Angela escape to this small town at different times in their lives, to visit Angela’s older brother, Dave. Both visits were a time of growth for each character.
I have to say that Angela’s story was so very interesting, that I looked forward to the time in the book dedicated to her. She was an intriguing character.
The story begins with the breaking up of Genevieve’s marriage to her husband, Jason. He had an affair; yet, wanted to work on their marriage. But, Genevieve saw this as a way out of a marriage that she felt “cramped” in. She was not even bothered by the affair, which I found hard to swallow. She needed a fresh start, and his affair was kind of like her “get out of jail free card”. And, she was going to take it! All she needed was a ticket to France!
Genevieve has lost both of her parents, and she has quite a lot of things to grieve, besides their death. I could not wait to hear about the key that she found in her mother’s drawer after her passing, that she now kept around her neck. I wish there was a picture of this key on the cover!
Upon hearing of her Uncle Dave’s death, she has her sights set on heading back to France to take over his Locksmith business, called “Under Lock and Key”. His daughter, Catharine wants nothing to do with this business, and is in favor of Genevieve taking over her father’s business.
When Genevieve was 14 she visited her Uncle Dave, his wife, Pasquale and daughter, Catharine. While she was there her Uncle had taught her all about locks and keys. This book truly romanticized this as an art form. She was truly enamored with the entire idea of the locksmith business. So, it was almost like this was truly meant for her. It was in her blood.
This story is full of wonderful characters that all come knocking on her door…which I was glad to read about, because I did not quite fall in love with Genevieve. The peripheral characters were more to my liking. The array of cast was wonderful, and inviting.
This story was so rich in the history of France, that I felt I had learned quite a bit. That was a wonderful aspect to this book. I was recalling my French classes and wishing I had visited on that class trip offered my senior year of high school.