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The Paris Winter Paperback – 24 Oct 2013
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A charming, fast-paced thriller (People magazine)
'Matchless storytelling, gripping and moving in equal measure. Addictive' (Nicci French)
'Chillingly memorable...an extraordinary thriller' (Tess Gerritsen)
Engaging and atmospheric, Imogen Robertson's historical thriller transports readers back to the Belle Époque, expertly evoking the artistic and glamorous side of the French capital as well as its murky underbelly. (France Magazine)
A brilliantly atmospheric evocation of fin de siècle Paris and its art world. It's a perfect book to read beside an open fire. Or on the beach. Or on the bus for that matter. A page-turner from a writer to keep an eye out for (The Gloss magazine)
Imogen Robertson's break-out novel - a deep, dark and opulent tale of Belle Époque Paris, and the secrets and dangers hidden beneath its luxurious façade.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
The Paris Winter is set as the city is enjoying La Belle Epoque and the streets are awash with art and culture. Into this dazzlingly beautiful world comes a respectable but impoverished young Englishwoman, Maud Heighton. A talented portraitist, Maud hopes that studying in Paris will bring her the recognition and respect she failed to earn from her fractured and stuffy family back in Darlington. Maud's fellow students are a glamorous and exciting crowd, including a Russian socialite and an artists' model. However, Maud struggles to make ends meet let alone compete with their profligate lifestyles, and so she jumps at the chance to take paid work as a companion to a young Frenchwoman, Sylvie Morel. At first life with Sylvie and her protective older brother Christian seems idyllic, but before long the cracks start to show.
Up to this point I was enjoying the story very much but can't say I was gripped by it, however once the twist is revealed and events take a decidedly seedier turn I was enthralled by a dark tale of opium addiction, stolen jewels, murder and madness. The streets of early 20th century Paris come alive in all their glamorous but debauched glory and the cast of characters surrounding Maud is rich and vibrant, with real life notables such as Gertrude Stein, Susan Valadon and Modigliani making cameo appearances (or at least getting a name check). As a result of her terrible experiences Maud herself develops from quite a mousy girl into a driven and dangerous woman.
Much as I love the Crowther & Westerman series and am eagerly awaiting the next instalment, I'm also really pleased that Imogen Robertson has written such a captivating and promising stand-alone novel.
The book starts with the death of a student but soon becomes a lot more, with many twists and turns being interwoven into a fantastically written novel which will have the reader engrossed for hours on end while they follow the trail and enjoy the story. There poverty, deception and fraud to name but a few subjects involved within this great read
The Paris Winter is a beautifully written novel, with crisp, flowing prose and a sedate pace. There's a wonderful atmosphere of Belle Epoch Paris and the artists' milieu. I really loved Maud as a character - I wanted to know all about her right from the start. Robertson gets the characters of Morel and Sylvie spot on too. There is a subtle feminist angle - making a career of art is one of the few (semi) respectable options available to a woman at this date if she does not care for marriage and children.
The plot is not as imaginative as it could have been, however. There are no real twists or surprises. Some of the other characters like Yvette and Tanya are less interesting and tend to get in the way of what story there is. There are some loose threads in the plot, too. Perhaps, though, this was deliberate as the book is leaning towards literary historical fiction. Worth a read? Absolutely. But not a page turner.
This is a novel which is hard to describe without spoiling the plot and I obviously have no wish to do that. Suffice it to say that this is a novel about Maud Heighton herself and her friends; her fellow student, the wealthy Russian aristocrat Tanya, and the life model Yvette. It is a tale of madness, opium, theft and fraud, deception and the real fear of poverty. If you have never read anything by Imogen Robertson before, I am sure that this book will make you an instant fan. It is full of atmosphere, great characters, a storyline full of intrigue and a plot full of twists and turns. This is a really satisfying read and a book to savour.
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