Robert Eady is a novelist, an unconventional one who takes writing breaks from real life and his responsibilities, leaving his wife, Leah, to pay the bills and take care of the kids. The marriage is faltering, but Leah is used to Robert’s disappearances—he’s an artist, after all—so she doesn’t think much of it when he doesn’t come back from a run one day, even though he didn’t leave a note like he usually does.
Until the disappearance stretches out into weeks without a single word or trace of Robert. The police think he’s dead. Then Leah finds six letters on a scrap of paper hidden inside a cereal box and realizes Robert had bought tickets for all of them to visit Paris—the city he and Leah had talked about since the day they met.
Leah and the girls head to Paris in search of Robert and end up co-owners of an English-language bookstore. The girls claim they see Robert everywhere, but Leah thinks he’s gone…until she finds one of his books in the store window, I’m sorry scrawled inside. Is Robert dead? Are the girls really seeing him? Leah struggles to untangle the truth as she builds a life in Paris.
This book sounded like it would be a great read. The execution, however…this was very slow-paced. Very. I found Robert completely selfish and unlikeable, to the point of active dislike. Leah is in denial about everything for most of the book. (Actually, make that “all” the book.) I finished this, but the disconnect from Leah and my dislike of Robert made this merely a so-so read.
Liam Callanan is a n award-winning novelist, teacher, and journalist. Paris by the Book is his newest novel.
(Galley provided by Penguin/Dutton in exchange for an honest review.)