SHORT & SWEET REVIEW: IT STARTED WITH PARIS BY CATHY KELLY

Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet). 

Cathy Kelly’s novels always seem to hit the spot for me – the warm, fuzzy spot that sometimes needs a little attention after some darker reads. I was saving this one for just that time. Here’s the blurb:

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.

From the “awww” moment at the start to the equally warm and fuzzy ending, It Started With Paris is full of charm and romance. Rather than focus on the story of the couple, the novel brings together characters who are affected by a couple’s impending wedding, focusing on their dreams, regrets, relationships past and present, and ongoing dramas. As the wedding nears, each one reassesses where they’re at and makes decisions that will change the course of their future. Minor character Ruby’s situation struck a chord with me – I did something similar to her back when I was her age – and I wanted to reach in and give her a hug.

Like peeling the wrapping off a chocolate and slowly nibbling to savour the taste (and delay finishing it), It Started With Paris slowly builds a warm relationship with the characters that you don’t want to end. It’s a lovely book that chick-lit lovers will adore.

Available from good bookstores (RRP $29.99). My copy was courtesy of Hachette.