It all started with Paris. At the top of the Eiffel Tower, a young man proposes to his girlfriend, cheered on by delighted tourists. In that second, everything changes, not just for the happy couple, but for the family and friends awaiting their return in Bridgeport, Ireland…
Leila’s been nursing a badly broken heart since her love-rat husband just upped and left her one morning, but she’s determined to put on a brave face for the bride.
Vonnie, a widow and exceptional cake-maker, is just daring to let love back into her life, although someone seems determined to stop it.
And Grace, a divorced head teacher, finds the impending wedding of her son means that she’s spending more time with her ex-husband. After all those years apart, is it possible she’s made a mistake?
With her warmth and insight, Cathy Kelly weaves a delightful tale spinning out from a once-in-a-lifetime moment, drawing together a terrific cast of characters who feel like old friends.
(Published by Orion on 9th October 2014.)
It Started With Paris begins with a couple, Michael and Katy getting engaged at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It then looks at how their engagement affects the people around them – focusing on three women in particular; Grace (a head teacher and Michael’s mother.) Grace is still great friends with her ex, Stephen.
Leila is a twenty-nine year old who is divorced and whose mother is in hospital following a car accident and finally Vonnie, who has come to Ireland following the death of her husband.
This was my first introduction to Cathy Kelly so I was intrigued to read this book. I absolutely adore the cover. It’s so beautiful and romantic and it sets the scene well for the prologue.
This book is a slow burner. In my opinion, it’s not the plot that made me want to turn the page; it was the characters (not that the plot is bad. Far from it.)
There are quite a few characters introduced in the first half so it does jump around a little but once everyone is introduced, that settles down and I found that I really wanted to find out what happened next with all of them. The characters are rounded and well developed. I did find myself drawn to Vonnie’s story. There was just something about it that drew me to her and her history and I liked how strong she was as a character despite all the things that had happened to her and I really hoped that she would find love.
The one character I did want to shout at was Jennifer. I did not like her at all and I did feel for Ruby.
There are many themes explored in this book from love, heartbreak, illness and rediscovery as well as the dynamics of families both during marriage and after divorce and so there is a lot to empathize with- particularly around the wedding and the politics involved with planning one (anyone who has planned their own wedding I think can relate in some way.) This made the events in the book feel very realistic (I know the discussion about the table plans well.)
There is warmth, gentleness and humour in this book and with the horrible weather at the moment, it’s perfect to curl up with under a blanket and a hot chocolate and disappear with these characters for a while and it will put you in a lovely happy snuggly mood.
It Started with Paris is available to buy in Hardback and e-book at most major stores or click here to buy from Amazon.
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