Book Review: French Windows by Antoine Laurain

Nathalia, a young photographer, has been seeing a therapist. Having accidentally photographed a murder, she finds that she can no longer do her job.

Instead, Doctor Faber suggests that she write about the neighbours she idly observes in the building across the street. But as these written snapshots become increasingly detailed, he starts to wonder how she can possibly know so much about them.

With each session, Doctor Faber and his mysterious patient will get closer and closer to the truth. But are the stories Nathalia submits each week as she claims…

Bestselling author Antoine Laurain serves up a dose of suspense and intrigue in Rear Window with a Parisian heart.



Nathalia is a photographer who no longer takes photos, not since her last photo had her witness a murder. Instead, she observes her neighbours. She seeks the help of theorist, Dr. Faber who suggests she write about those she watches. Will the truth be reviewed?

I have such a love of Antoine Laurain. Having loved The President’s Hat and The Red Notebook, I was exceedingly excited to get my hands on an advanced reading copy of his latest novel, French Windows. Due to this, there was a lot of pressure on it to be good. I need not have worried.

It’s going to be hard talking about this book without giving too much away but I am going to give it a go.

Antoine Laurain has a gift of pulling you completely into the lives of the people he writes about. Sure, there’s conflict and issues but these are glazed with a slight whimsical feel.

The two main characters intrigued me. It’s obvious when you first meet her that Nathalia seems lost. She’s mysterious and it was interesting to see how her story developed over the course of the story. It didn’t go in the direction I was expecting and I loved that.

Dr Faber seems quite straightforward. How he and Nathalia interacted bought a lot to the narrative.

As far as the plot itself goes, how it was done was, in my opinion quite unique and compelling. It goes between the sessions with doctor and patient and the stories Nathalia presents as part of her treatment. The additional characters presented are a great mixture of people, all interesting in their own right. This idea of making up stories about people you come across in every day life is something I do a lot – if I am sat people watching, I’ll wonder who they are, where they are going. I wanted to keep reading about this people as much as I did with the two main characters.

This book isn’t particularly long at around 176 pages. For me, it wasn’t long enough simply because I wanted more of the stories. I didn’t want the book to end and as I eluded to earlier, I didn’t see the end coming.

To conclude, this is a brilliant tale full of intriguing people, a narrative full of twists and a satisfying ending – what I’ve come to expect from this author. If you like mystery and are looking for a book for that holiday or chilled out afternoon in the garden, I recommend this one.

Thank you to Gallic Books for the advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.



About Antoine Laurain – 

Gallic Books, 2024

(Photo credit: Jean-Luc Bertini © Flammarion)

Antoine Laurain is a novelist, screenwriter, journalist, director and collector of antique keys. He is the author of the best-selling novels The President’s Hat and The Red Notebook.

A truly born and bread Parisian, after studying film, he began his career directing short films and writing screenplays. His passion for art led him to take a job assisting an antiques dealer in Paris. The experience provided the inspiration for his first novel, The Portrait,winner of the Prix Drouot.

Published on the eve of the French presidential elections of 2012, Antoine’s, fairytale-like novel The President’s Hat was acclaimed by critics, readers and booksellers, who awarded it the Prix Landerneau Découvertes. In the UK, it was a Waterstones Book Club and ABA Indies Introduce pick. Unsurprisingly, the novel quickly climbed into a Kindle Top 5 bestseller. This novel, full of Parisian charm, was the winner of the Prix Relay des Voyageurs, a prize which celebrates the enjoyment of reading. Since then, The President’s Hat has been adapted for television in France.

Antoine’s novels have been translated into 14 languages, including Arabic and Korean. Sales of his books across all formats in English have surpassed 155,000 copies. And The Red Notebook (2015) has become one of Gallic Books’ bestsellers both in the UK and the USA.

Also published: French Rhapsody (2016) The Portrait (2017) and Smoking Kills (2018).

French Windows was released by Gallic Books in June 2024. Click here to buy at Amazon UK, Amazon US, Waterstones and Amazon France

Click here to sign up to Antoine Laurain’s newsletter. 

French Windows was translated by Louise Rogers LaLaurie. 


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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