Told over the course of a single day in 1927, The Paris Hours takes four ordinary people whose stories, told together, are as extraordinary as the glorious city they inhabit.
And it was absolutely wonderful! I enjoyed every moment with it. I really feel this is where Alex George shines – when he writes historical fiction. I adored A Good American! I really liked Setting Free the Kites as well, but this return to historical fiction was where I fell in love with his writing and the story all over again.
In The Paris Hours, we have four very different, unknown to each other, but they are joined together in small ways because they are all searching for something – something they’ve lost, something they wish to hide, something they wish to find again, all while living in Paris.
The story structure may not appeal to some, as for much of the book the four separate stories read almost like short stories. There is no known connection between the four so you may question why the story is being told in the way it is. But I thought each individual story and the characters were just divine. I was completely involved in every one of their stories. I only ever wanted to be reading this book.
They all start out on the same day in 1927, which is the only connection between them for now. Each move into the past explaining how they came to the events they experience on this day. Each have their own heartbreaking story to share.
The book is littered with famous and literary characters – we meet Hemingway, Marcel Proust plays a significant role here as one of the stories is from his maid, Camille and the secret she is desperate to keep hidden. Josephine Baker and Gertrude Stein also make appearances. Yet it’s all seamless and makes complete sense in how they are incorporated.
At the very end, they all come together somehow, some quite fleetingly, but the day unfolds and ends with everyone coming into some sort of contact with the others and it’s simply remarkable. Absolutely bravo with a standing ovation from me!
That ending just haunts me! It almost becomes edge-of-your-seat and Alex George recently mentioned on Twitter he’s thinking of a sequel. That would be something else to read! Or would that haunting ending be fine to remain as is, taking up space in my head. Either way, I will read everything he produces. I just loved The Paris Hours. It’s clever, heartbreaking and beautiful to read!