Last Chance in Paris by Lynda Marron | Book Reviews | General Fiction
Last Chance in Paris by Lynda Marron

By Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

Last Chance in Paris by Lynda Marron

Last Chance in Paris by Lynda Marron is published with Eriu Books (Bonnier) and is described by Deirdre Nolan (Eriu) in The Bookseller as ‘a moving, uplifting tale that will delight readers’.

If you are on Instagram you probably already follow Lynda Marron under her alter ego @sultanabun and if you don’t, I recommend you do today. Simply put Lynda Marron has a way with words that draws the reader in. In her own book reviews Lynda speaks in an almost poetic language hypnotising everyone with her glorious and visual descriptions. She brings us into her home and her garden with beautiful snippets from the humdrum of the everyday, tempting us all and drawing us into her web. Lynda creates gorgeous scenes, some poignant, some happy, others beguiling but all with one thread in common, Lynda’s magic touch.

Last Chance in Paris is a story of love, grief, redemption and second chances. While it is primarily about a married couple from Cork who take a trip to Paris, it is also so much more. Claire and Ronan are struggling, with their marriage faltering in front of their eyes. After suffering a traumatic event, Ronan suggests a trip to Paris, a chance for them to regroup and perhaps rediscover the love that brought them together in the first place. Claire tentatively agrees but is on edge from the beginning. She is very much aware that she is not the same person that Ronan fell in love with and feels hollow inside. Ronan is trying hard to salvage their marriage but is grappling with even the smallest action. He is aware that Claire is tormented in her thoughts but he is determined that this trip will provide the much needed balm for both their hearts and minds.

Harrison D. Carter is a Hollywood producer with a string of successful movies under his belt but, even with all his successes, Harry is discontented. Fully aware of the trail of devastation he has left in his wake, he now looks back and sees the error of his ways. A trip to Paris, enroute home to The States, awakens something in Harry and a soul-searching journey begins. Harry has bridges to mend but will this trip to the City of Love provide him with a way forward, a path to redemption perhaps?

Dan is a law student working in Paris on a study break. His time in the city is almost up but Dan has fallen in love with more than just Paris and he has life-changing decisions to make.

Mireille Delassus is now in her seventies and has lived in Dijon for all of her married life. Her husband Rémy passed away sometime previously and Mireille is packing her bag to head off on a journey that could potentially reframe her future. Taking the train to Paris, Mireille has an appointment to keep but she is nervous of what lies ahead. She feels old and foolish but yet, she is a determined individual who decides that this really is a now or never chance at a second opportunity in life. Paris awaits Mireille but will she find what she is looking for?

Yeva is a young teenage Ukrainian who has been forced by the war unfolding in her homeland to flee to Paris. With her younger sister to care for, Yeva spends her days foraging for money and food in any way she possibly can. They are hungry, tired and missing their papa but Yeva intends to fulfil the side of the deal she made with her father, who remained in Ukraine. She will keep them safe and will search for him until he comes to collect them.

Lynda weaves the lives of all these characters around the sights, sound and smells of Paris with an authenticity that immerses the reader from the very beginning. Like many of you I’m sure, I have been to Paris but now I have such an urge to go back there and do it differently. I want to drink Armagnac at 3pm in the afternoon and later I want to sit on the steps of Montmartre and watch the lights of the city sparkle in the night sky. I want to follow in the footsteps of Hemingway and dine at La Closerie des Lilas. I want to sit in the Jardin du Luxembourg eating wraps and drinking coffee. I really want to recreate the trip that Lynda portrays (but obviously without all the dramas that unfold!).

In The Bookseller Lynda describes the origin story behind Last Chance in Paris giving the reader a brief insight into her life and how our paths can change from what we initially plan but somehow we get there in the end:

“The story of writing this novel began 20 years ago with a Moleskine notebook inscribed with the words ’For when I take you to Paris’. Somehow, life led me up one unlikely boulevard after another until that notebook was filled and transformed into a novel that felt like it was always meant to be. What a joy it was, then, to meet Deirdre Nolan and discover a publisher who loved my characters from the word go, and understood how to protect the heart of the book. I’m over the moon to see Last Chance in Paris published by Eriu, and I can’t wait to make readers a part of the story.”

Last Chance in Paris is a picturesque, vibrant, atmospheric and poignant debut with wonderful characters, all beautifully depicted. With thought-provoking quotes from famous writers like Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and more, littered throughout, it is clear the passion that Lynda has for her art. Don’t be fooled by the cover in thinking that this is a very light-hearted read as it is so much more than that. There are many themes raised, all handled with an expertise and sensitivity, in particular Ronan and Claire’s story (and if you read the acknowledgements you will see that this book is very personal to Lynda).

Last Chance in Paris by Lynda MarronOverflowing with visual descriptions of Paris, a city that has had a hold on many with an artistic temperament for centuries, Lynda Marron has written a charming and eloquent novel. Last Chance in Paris is quite simply gorgeous, the balm we all need in these days of chaos.

(c) Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

Order your copy online here.

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