Title: One Evening in Paris
Author: Nicolas Barreau
Genre/Themes: Romantic Drama, Old Hollywood, Picture Houses, Paris
Blurb from Goodreads
Alain Bonnard, the owner of a small art cinema in Paris, is a dyed-in-the-wool nostalgic. In his Cinéma Paradis there are no buckets of popcorn, no XXL coca-colas, no Hollywood blockbusters. Not a good business plan if you want to survive, but Alain holds firm to his principles of quality. He wants to show films that create dreams, and he likes most of the people that come to his cinema. Particularly the enchanting, shy woman in the red coat who turns up every Wednesday in row 17. What could her story be?
One evening, Alain plucks up courage and invites the unknown beauty to dinner.
The most tender of love stories is just getting under way when something incredible happens: The Cinéma Paradis is going to be the location of Allan Woods’ new film Tender Memories of Paris. Solène Avril, the famous American director’s favourite actress, has known the cinema since childhood and has got it into her head that she wants the film to be shot there. Alain is totally overwhelmed when he meets her in person. Suddenly, the little cinema and its owner are the focus of public attention, and the red-plush seats are sold out every evening.
But the mystery woman Alain has just fallen in love with seems suddenly to have vanished. Is this just coincidence? Alain sets off in search of her and becomes part of a story more delightful than anything the cinema has to offer.
Have I become a cold-hearted cynic??
I used to love romantic stories. Just something as light and airy as a warm soufflé that would whip you away to place where sunsets were more vivid, the moon shone brighter and love would always triumph no matter the cost.
And this book is all that.
It’s got the romance of old Hollywood; it’s set in the Paris that non-Parisians dream about (apparently the author is Parisian born, and both studied and worked there so I’m assuming there is some genuine French feel to this).
And it’s got a likeable leading man and a mysterious girl in a red coat with whom he spends the most enchanting evening before she disappears from his life. So it’s got all those ingredients that make for a relaxing read to transport someone away from the dreariness of a cold Winter’s night…
But it just didn’t click with me.
It was too cliched in the stereotypical sense…
Alain Bonnard as the leading man was okay I guess.
But his best friend Robert was in right need of a punching. Good gosh could he have been more of a misogynistic tool. Okay maybe misogynistic is harsh but I didn’t appreciate his lothario-type attitude towards women which was irritating AF.
Also there was this one paragraph that ticked me right off when Alain was out with some friends. The area he visited was described as follows:
“Hordes of Gypsy girls descend, like the pigeons in the Piazza San Marco, on everything that moves, trying to read your palm, or steal your wallet, or get you to sign a petition, perhaps all three at once.”
Like great… Let’s just go reinforce some negative stereotypes such as thievery about a minority group….*exasperated sighing*
And the plot was much too preposterous with how it twisted rather than feeling magical or mysterious. Honestly my eyes rolled… A LOT!!!
The characters felt much too one dimensional but on a plus point the atmosphere created by the book was well written…
Yet I still found my eyes glazing over with boredom quite frequently…
This just wasn’t to my taste. Avoid.