Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson

When I prepared to start this blog, I researched how to get Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs) of books so that I could review them prior to their release. I have gotten several ARC ebooks, but this is the first printed book I have received. This book was originally published in the U.K. in 2013. This first U.S. edition is set for release on November 18.

Imogen Robertson is not a new author for me. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed her Crowther and Westerman series. That series is historical mystery/thriller, so that is what I expected with The Paris Winter. I was not disappointed.

The Paris Winter is a stand-alone novel, the story of young Maud Heighton. Miss Heighton is an English art student living in Paris in 1909. The story follows her developing friendship with another student, Tanya Koltsova, and model Yvette. Through the assistance of her friends, Maud begins working as a companion to a young Frenchwoman, Sylvie Morel. Slowly, Maud is lured into the sordid underbelly of Paris, becoming a victim of violence and deceit.

The characterization in this novel is superb. Maud is a sympathetic and naive character and through the first half of the novel, she is the focus of the narrative. Mid-novel, the perspective shifts slightly, and the reader is given more insight into the lives of the other characters -- Tanya, Yvette, and the Morels. As the young women work to solve the mystery surrounding what happened to Maud and why, an intricate web of lies and violence is revealed.

The plot lines are interesting and beautifully interconnected throughout the novel. The story reaches its climax during the massive flooding in Paris in January 1910, and as the water rises, so does the intensity.

This novel is artfully written and I heartily recommend it to all who enjoy historical fiction.

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