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One day in the City of Lights. One night in search of lost time. Paris between the wars teems with artists, writers, and musicians, a glittering crucible of genius. But amidst the dazzling creativity of the city’s most famous citizens, four regular people are each searching for something they’ve lost. Camille was the maid of Marcel Proust, and she has a secret: when she was One day in the City of Lights. One night in search of lost time. Paris between the wars teems with artists, writers, and musicians, a glittering crucible of genius. But amidst the dazzling creativity of the city’s most famous citizens, four regular people are each searching for something they’ve lost. Camille was the maid of Marcel Proust, and she has a secret: when she was asked to burn her employer’s notebooks, she saved one for herself. Now she is desperate to find it before her betrayal is revealed. Souren, an Armenian refugee, performs puppet shows for children that are nothing like the fairy tales they expect. Lovesick artist Guillaume is down on his luck and running from a debt he cannot repay—but when Gertrude Stein walks into his studio, he wonders if this is the day everything could change. And Jean-Paul is a journalist who tells other people’s stories, because his own is too painful to tell. When the quartet’s paths finally cross in an unforgettable climax, each discovers if they will find what they are looking for. 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.


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One day in the City of Lights. One night in search of lost time. Paris between the wars teems with artists, writers, and musicians, a glittering crucible of genius. But amidst the dazzling creativity of the city’s most famous citizens, four regular people are each searching for something they’ve lost. Camille was the maid of Marcel Proust, and she has a secret: when she was One day in the City of Lights. One night in search of lost time. Paris between the wars teems with artists, writers, and musicians, a glittering crucible of genius. But amidst the dazzling creativity of the city’s most famous citizens, four regular people are each searching for something they’ve lost. Camille was the maid of Marcel Proust, and she has a secret: when she was asked to burn her employer’s notebooks, she saved one for herself. Now she is desperate to find it before her betrayal is revealed. Souren, an Armenian refugee, performs puppet shows for children that are nothing like the fairy tales they expect. Lovesick artist Guillaume is down on his luck and running from a debt he cannot repay—but when Gertrude Stein walks into his studio, he wonders if this is the day everything could change. And Jean-Paul is a journalist who tells other people’s stories, because his own is too painful to tell. When the quartet’s paths finally cross in an unforgettable climax, each discovers if they will find what they are looking for. 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.

30 review for The Paris Hours

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paige

    This is first and foremost a work of literary fiction. I inhaled the pages because of the enhanced prose; every word and sentence was bewitching. The author took one day in the life of four characters and turned it into a beautiful story. Set in post-WWI Paris, four ordinary people begin an ordinary day until their paths cross. Mostly, the first few chapters start out with the characters everyday routines. Some ordinary stuff. But the polished language made these everyday things seem fascinating This is first and foremost a work of literary fiction. I inhaled the pages because of the enhanced prose; every word and sentence was bewitching. The author took one day in the life of four characters and turned it into a beautiful story. Set in post-WWI Paris, four ordinary people begin an ordinary day until their paths cross. Mostly, the first few chapters start out with the characters everyday routines. Some ordinary stuff. But the polished language made these everyday things seem fascinating. As the story progresses, their past is revealed in flashbacks. Secrets, regret, loss, and betrayal loom in the shadows as each character continues throughout their day. Chapters are short and the pacing is good. The cast of characters is colorful and engaging. It took me a few chapters in the beginning to remember which character was which. Chapters are narrated by each of the four different characters. If you do not like prolific writing or if you want mega fast-paced, then this probably isn't for you. Thank you to Flatiron books for sending me an advance copy. Opinions are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Update...’great book’! .....It was fitting that I read this wonderful novel in one day....as the entire novel takes place in a single day. It’s truly transporting and immensely satisfying....exactly my favorite type of fiction: great old fashion page turning storytelling. Having been a fan of two other books by Alex George .... “A Good American”, and “Setting Free The Kites”....I didn’t hesitate for a second to read another book by Alex George. He’s a top-notched skillful storyteller! In the Autho Update...’great book’! .....It was fitting that I read this wonderful novel in one day....as the entire novel takes place in a single day. It’s truly transporting and immensely satisfying....exactly my favorite type of fiction: great old fashion page turning storytelling. Having been a fan of two other books by Alex George .... “A Good American”, and “Setting Free The Kites”....I didn’t hesitate for a second to read another book by Alex George. He’s a top-notched skillful storyteller! In the Author’s notes we learn that Alex went to boarding school in Paris at age 13. (Alex lives in Missouri today) Ten years after boarding school he returned to Paris, working as an attorney for an international law firm. He said....”When I sat down to write this book, it was a joy to revisit some of my old haunts”. “But writing about Paris is not without its challenges. After all, there are already more books and movies set in the French capital than there are croissants in the city’s boulangeries.: The symbol of Paris is the most recognizable architectural structure on the planet. So how to tell a story that offered a fresh perspective?” One of the ways Alex accomplished freshness was that he set the novel on the streets and parks where ‘real-every-day-Parisians’ lived and worked — away from the famous tourist attractions. He are so set the story in 1927, back when the city was in a post war explosion of creative brilliance—“populated by an army of geniuses whose artistic legacies survive to this day”. “Some of those characters appear in the book, but by design they exist on the periphery of the novel, not at heart”. Paris was between wars. Regular people were all searching for something they loss. Alex unfolds this story with grace - gorgeous lyrical prose — with interesting, complex characters - each who have a story to tell. He explores the brutality of war, love, longing, betrayal, and history....so exquisitely that I never wanted to set this book down - and didn’t - from start to finish....[one day in Paris - one day read here at home]. When I got to the ending pages — I almost forgot to breathe....as it was one of the most jaw-dropping powerful endings that I’ve read in years. You’ll meet Camille Clermont and her 10 year old daughter, Marie. who had worked for Marcel Proust: [The famous French novelist, critic, and essayist] > 1871-1922 A little sample dialogue: “Since 1922, five years, Camille Clermont had been coming to visit Proust’s grave. He had been her employer. Marie watches her mother crying uncontrollably and asks, “was he a nice man?” “Oh yes. He was very nice. Very kind. I wish you could’ve known him better. she smiles down at her daughter. But he thought children were best enjoyed at a distance”. “He didn’t have children himself?” “Goodness no, Camille laughs and shakes her head. He had the characters in his books, though. They were his children, I suppose”. “Did you love him?, asks Marie” “Very much”. “More than papa?” “Oh no. Never more than papa. And in a very different way”. “Different how?” “It’s more like you and Irene”. “In some ways. We shared secrets, just like you and Irene. That’s why I come and put flowers on his grave. I come to say hello, and to tell him that I miss him, and to say thank you for his friendship”. “And, she thinks but does not say, to tell him that I am sorry for my betrayal. And to forgive him for his”. You’ll meet Guillaume Blanc— an artist who can’t afford his rent - can’t afford to eat - achingly love sick and was running from a debt he couldn’t repay. You’ll meet Souren Balakian, an Armenian refugee who performs puppet shows for children ( not your ordinary fairy tale stories).... You’ll meet Emile Brataille - an art dealer who came to Paris to declare his love to Therese, ( a prostitute) Jean-Paul Maillard is a journalist who dreams of America. Josephine Baker, Ernest Hemingway, and the streets of Paris are irresistibly celebrated .... This novel consumed me -as it will ‘every’ reader who loves riveting intimate storytelling! Note: it wasn’t a sacrifice at all to turn off my phone - turn off the world around me for a day....it was reading heaven! I do apologize to friends I owe messages to - I promise to return to our present lives together, soon. Many thanks for an advance copy from Flatiron Books. This book will be released in stores early May. WONDERFUL....HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    Beautifully written and vividly told. Alex George’s debut is dazzling and packed with stunning pros. This is the story of a day in a life of four regular people in post WWI Paris. Camille, Souren, Guillaum, and Jean-Paul are all living seemingly ordinary lives, but they all have a story to tell. Told in short chapters we get to know each of these characters both through their current actions and flashbacks to their past. There was also a sprinkling of well-known historical figures throughout the Beautifully written and vividly told. Alex George’s debut is dazzling and packed with stunning pros. This is the story of a day in a life of four regular people in post WWI Paris. Camille, Souren, Guillaum, and Jean-Paul are all living seemingly ordinary lives, but they all have a story to tell. Told in short chapters we get to know each of these characters both through their current actions and flashbacks to their past. There was also a sprinkling of well-known historical figures throughout the book, such as Hemingway, Proust, Josephine Baker, and Gertrude Stein. The beauty of this book was in the storytelling it was quite magical. Each of these characters spoke to me but I found Jean-Paul and Souren’s stories extra compelling. Jean-Paul’s grief was palpable and Souren’s determination was admirable. This was true literary fiction and while the writing was beautiful it was also quite dense. This is not a light easy breezy read, but it is definitely worth your time. This book will appeal to fans of historical fiction, literary fiction, and stellar storytelling. This book in emojis 📰 📓 🗝 🎨 🎭 *** Big thank you to Flatiron for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    The Paris Hours is set during a single day in 1927. I LOVED THAT. I also loved the storytelling and was completely swept up in this most memorable story. More thoughts to come when I can collect them. I received a gifted copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader The Paris Hours is set during a single day in 1927. I LOVED THAT. I also loved the storytelling and was completely swept up in this most memorable story. More thoughts to come when I can collect them. I received a gifted copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  5. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    3.5 stars The author came up with an original idea for a story which I always appreciate as a reader. It might not have hit me on quite the emotional level I was hoping for, but it was still an enjoyable reading experience. Paris in the 1920s was a wise choice for a setting as it's not a time period that is captured as often in historical fiction as say, the 1940s during World War 2. The story takes place over the course of a day and alternates between four characters. By the time my copy of the 3.5 stars The author came up with an original idea for a story which I always appreciate as a reader. It might not have hit me on quite the emotional level I was hoping for, but it was still an enjoyable reading experience. Paris in the 1920s was a wise choice for a setting as it's not a time period that is captured as often in historical fiction as say, the 1940s during World War 2. The story takes place over the course of a day and alternates between four characters. By the time my copy of the book I arrived at my houese, I had actually forgotten the synopsis and I just decided to dive right in without refreshing my memory. I am glad I did because part of the enjoyment I got from reading this book was learning about each character bit by bit and watching things slowly unfold rather than getting a heads up about their backstories. If you don't mind taking a leap of faith on a book, I recommend going into this one blind rather than reading the publisher's synopsis. This book can be classified as historical fiction although you could place it in the literary fiction genre as well. There are a few famous people from the 1920s era that pop up in the story but for the most part this is a work of the author's imagination rather than relying heavily on historical facts or events. I've been having a kick lately out of reading this type of historical fiction as it's fun to see where a writer's creativity will go. This is a well-written story and I liked seeing how everything came together in the end. Unfortunately I didn't feel much for the characters minus a few moments here and there. I felt invested in them to want to find out what was in store for them, but not much more than that. There was potential here for this to be one of those good emotional type reads but in that area it fell flat, at least in my eyes. But just because I didn't necessarily feel anything while reading that doesn't mean this book wasn't worthy of my time. Might not have been the ultimate reading experience but it was still pretty darn good. I won a free advance copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway by the publisher but was not obligated to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Britany

    Four stories, four perspectives, Paris and celebrities? Four alternating storylines introduce a myriad of characters. We have Souren- an Armenian puppeteer, Jean-Paul a journalist missing his daughter, Guillaume - a painter that owes a debt, and Camille- housekeeper to Marcel Proust. I wanted to fall in love with this story and these characters so much. I really grasped to let them draw me in emotionally. I found the writing compelling and the stories were strong. There were just way too many cha Four stories, four perspectives, Paris and celebrities? Four alternating storylines introduce a myriad of characters. We have Souren- an Armenian puppeteer, Jean-Paul a journalist missing his daughter, Guillaume - a painter that owes a debt, and Camille- housekeeper to Marcel Proust. I wanted to fall in love with this story and these characters so much. I really grasped to let them draw me in emotionally. I found the writing compelling and the stories were strong. There were just way too many characters. I easily got confused and it always took a few sentences of a new section for me to orient myself as to whose story I was in. Then the addition of Hemingway, Stein, Proust and Josephine Baker was just too much. I struggled to connect but the threads of the main voice came through and for that I appreciated this read. Thank you to Netgalley and Flatiron for an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Some things are forgettable, but misfortune is not. It dogs you relentlessly once it gets the scent of defeat. Down-and-out, a day late, the wolf at the door all pull up a chair and take residence within the pages of The Paris Hours. But lest you feel the weight of all that suppressing you about now, remember that a determined and undaunted soul travels through life with mop and bucket in hand. Alex George sets this story in the midst of the streets of Paris in the late 1920's. The world is still Some things are forgettable, but misfortune is not. It dogs you relentlessly once it gets the scent of defeat. Down-and-out, a day late, the wolf at the door all pull up a chair and take residence within the pages of The Paris Hours. But lest you feel the weight of all that suppressing you about now, remember that a determined and undaunted soul travels through life with mop and bucket in hand. Alex George sets this story in the midst of the streets of Paris in the late 1920's. The world is still trying to find balance between recovery after the war and the weight of still aching wounds carried within by its citizens and by those misplaced and wayward souls wandering through those streets. Alex George will introduce us to four individuals who will find themselves stepping into connecting links that will snap back and forth across this incredible storyline. He will cleverly slip in characters like Josephine Baker, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, and Ernest Hemingway in order to get a real feel for life in Paris during this time period. Souren Balakian, an Armenian seeking sanctuary in Paris, has set up a puppet theater on the streets to entertain and to benefit from the coins thrown into his open suitcase. We'll come to find that Souren's escape from Armenia was a dangerous and treacherous one. Guillaume Blanc is an undiscovered artist of questionable talent who needs desperately to pay back a loan that hangs over his head like a guillotine. His art dealer, Emile Brataille, has set up a meeting with Gertrude Stein who dabbles in acquiring up and coming art pieces. Will he catch her eye? Jean Paul Maillard is a newspaper writer sent to interview the famous and lovely Josephine Baker. Be ready for Jean Paul's backstory. It's gonna grab you. Camille Clermont is the wife of Olivier and mother of young Marie. When she and her husband were first married, she worked as a chambermaid and companion for Marcel Proust. Camille's relationship with Proust will have a bearing that will spread in quite a few directions here. The Paris Hours is a remarkable character study by this talented author. Alex George pulls threads through tiny openings unseen by the naked eye. The descriptors are rich and full in presenting life in Paris at such a tumultuous era with people desperate to escape the harsh realities of life. Happiness faded quickly if you didn't keep it front and center. Our characters will be signaling us with just that. Grab this one. It will stay with you for quite some time. I received a copy of The Paris Hours through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Flatiron Books and to Alex George for the opportunity.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    Set in Paris in 1927, the City of Lights, vibrates with artists of all kinds. However, the story gives the center stage to four ordinary people, who rub elbows with famous artists. By meeting another person, they learn something about themselves. And sometimes what one person needs is simply kindness. Armenian refugee, Souren Balakian, escapes brutality of his native country imposed by invading Turks. “Being forced from their homes and driven eastwards, into the Syrian desert, to die.” He makes h Set in Paris in 1927, the City of Lights, vibrates with artists of all kinds. However, the story gives the center stage to four ordinary people, who rub elbows with famous artists. By meeting another person, they learn something about themselves. And sometimes what one person needs is simply kindness. Armenian refugee, Souren Balakian, escapes brutality of his native country imposed by invading Turks. “Being forced from their homes and driven eastwards, into the Syrian desert, to die.” He makes his way to Europe, remembering his mother’s words, “there were more than three hundred types of cheese made in France.” And he intended to eat every one of them. When he understands what makes him safe, being invisible, he takes his life in that direction by creating puppets and performing at the Luxembourg Gardens, beneath the chestnut trees where he waits for children to come. Escaping his brutal past and through an encounter with another person, he realizes what he’s been craving the most - the human kindness. Guillaume Blanc escapes a small French country place and dreams of joining the ranks of the famous Parisian artists. He is struggling for now, but his fate might be changing today with a new patron, American novelist and art collector Gertrude Stein. She is to come and view his collection. Jean-Paul Maillard, a journalist, dreams of America. “The first Americans he met were soldiers.” When he thinks of America, he thinks of hope. He likes to observe the world, rather than be observed. He likes telling other people’s stories, rather than revealing his own, which also explains why he is a journalist. When he interviews Josephine Baker, American-born French entertainer, she reveals how different her life was in America and that’s why she made France her home. He realizes that her celebrity is a mask and now he needs to face his. Camille Clermont, once the maid for Marcel Proust, now she visits his grave with her daughter every week. While working for Proust, she gets surprised when he asks her about her childhood. How a man of such status who spends evenings with duchesses wearing tiaras could be interested in a simple country girl? He tells her why and he also tells her, “The only place where you can regain lost paradise is in yourself.” What he gives her is her independence. Each of the characters tries to escape the past, at least some aspect of it, but by escaping it they can’t free themselves from what haunts them. They need to face it. By encountering another person, it helps them learn something about themselves. Some see the mirror image of their experience; some see how little it takes to make another person happy. Through their life journeys we get a glimpse at their life lessons, which may even mirror some of ours. This is more than just a touching read. It has a deeper meaning. It’s up to you if you want to tap into it and learn a deeper message. The events happen over one day, but the stories of protagonists alternate between the present day and their pasts, revealing deeply touching stories, taking a reader on a very engaging journey and leaving with a lingering effect. Masterfully written and evoking human emotions, this story weaves human natures and touches upon many depths of not only those characters but also ours. Thus, creating a deep connection with the story. Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Zirn Hudson

    I haven’t felt this way about a book since I read WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING. Every time I read Alex George and think he could not possibly write a more beautiful novel, he does. After turning the last page of “The Paris Hours” I instantly considered rereading the entire book just so I could experience the magic all over again. “The Paris Hours” will sweep readers off their feet from the very beginning and whisk them away to early 20th century Paris. It is lush and poignant, it is raw yet sophisticate I haven’t felt this way about a book since I read WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING. Every time I read Alex George and think he could not possibly write a more beautiful novel, he does. After turning the last page of “The Paris Hours” I instantly considered rereading the entire book just so I could experience the magic all over again. “The Paris Hours” will sweep readers off their feet from the very beginning and whisk them away to early 20th century Paris. It is lush and poignant, it is raw yet sophisticated; it is everything readers have ever wanted in their next favorite book. After the last sentence of the very last page, when the journey has ended, readers will realize this beautiful novel was the exact book they were looking for.

  10. 5 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    I love, love, LOVED The Paris Hours by Alex George! This was my first time reading a book by this author, but I am definitely going to have to read his backlist now. The prose was wonderful, and the book was so moving. I listened to the entirety of the book on audio and while at times it could be a little confusing without having a physical copy, overall I really enjoyed it this way. The narrator, Raphael Corkhill, did a remarkable job especially considering how many characters he had to voice. I love, love, LOVED The Paris Hours by Alex George! This was my first time reading a book by this author, but I am definitely going to have to read his backlist now. The prose was wonderful, and the book was so moving. I listened to the entirety of the book on audio and while at times it could be a little confusing without having a physical copy, overall I really enjoyed it this way. The narrator, Raphael Corkhill, did a remarkable job especially considering how many characters he had to voice. There are a ton of different viewpoints in The Paris Hours which is why not having the book was a little hard. If you are going to listen to the audio I would highly recommend having a physical copy you can look at as well. There are a lot of names, and during the last, big, chapter when everything is coming together it was harder for me to follow on audio alone. Although there were a lot of characters, I found myself drawn to each and every one of them along with their stories. There is just something about George's writing that really spoke to my soul and I can't even begin to explain how much I truly loved this novel. The chapters were mostly very short as well which I think made the book speed by even faster, but I never wanted it to end. It broke my heart, but at the same time was inspiring and made me laugh at times. The very end of the book wrecked me even more than the rest of it, and this does not tie everything up in a neat little bow, but it does give you hope. I think it would make a great buddy read or book club book as there is definitely a lot to talk about here. The Paris Hours also had mentions of many famous people I was familiar with, and some that I was not. I did a lot of Googling names and I feel like I learned quite a bit as well. In my eyes this was a masterpiece, and I will definitely be purchasing myself a copy to have on my shelf!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    Four ordinary Parisians on a regular day in 1927 mix with the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Marcel Proust and Josephine Baker and Gertrude Stein, and the result is an unexpected overlap of stories and situations. One is Camille, who ignored the wishes of her employer Marcel Proust and kept one of his journals. Another is painter Guillaume who must find a buyer for his paintings before those to whom he owes money force him to pay up or die. Yet another is Souran, a refugee from Armenia, who puts Four ordinary Parisians on a regular day in 1927 mix with the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Marcel Proust and Josephine Baker and Gertrude Stein, and the result is an unexpected overlap of stories and situations. One is Camille, who ignored the wishes of her employer Marcel Proust and kept one of his journals. Another is painter Guillaume who must find a buyer for his paintings before those to whom he owes money force him to pay up or die. Yet another is Souran, a refugee from Armenia, who puts on puppet shows to assuage his demons. And finally there is journalist Jean-Paul desperately seeking his lost daughter everywhere he goes. I enjoyed seeing how these lives intertwine and play out, on the streets of one of the greatest cities in the world.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Great read... lots of wonderful characters.... great development of the stories surrounding each person. Really enjoyed the fluid images of places, love lost and found. Super ending! Thank you for the giveaway.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jade Melody

    Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ This is a complicated book for me to review. Because while there were things about it that I absolutely loved, there was no crazy wow factor for me. I guessed the plot as soon as we were given the slighest hint, and while this in itself doesn't both me (it actually boosts my self-esteem that I was actually able to guess something correctly) it bothered me in the sense that if the reader did happen to guess this one wow factor detail, then there was nothing else, it just ends Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ This is a complicated book for me to review. Because while there were things about it that I absolutely loved, there was no crazy wow factor for me. I guessed the plot as soon as we were given the slighest hint, and while this in itself doesn't both me (it actually boosts my self-esteem that I was actually able to guess something correctly) it bothered me in the sense that if the reader did happen to guess this one wow factor detail, then there was nothing else, it just ends and you are left wanting more. So part of me wants to give it 5 stars but another part of me is like 4.5 stars is more accurate because there was something that genuinely bothered me about the book. I really hope that there is a sequel to this. I was left wanting more. There is another story that could be written after this one to satisfy the desires the reader has to have closed ends. However, I think this author knows what he is doing and will purposely not give the reader what they want, which (to me) shows a great amount of talent. We will be left wondering and thinking about this story until we are satisfied with the fact that we have read all we were given. The aspect of this book that really took me by surprise was the writing. It was eloquent and beautifully crafted to show the reader, instead of tell them, the story. I felt attached to these characters because their backstories and feelings were written in a way where I had no choice but to love them and care about what happens to them. There wasn't a character whose story I wasn't invested in, which isn't common when I read books with multiple perspectives. The writing is what made me love the characters. They were developed and different, yet somehow they were connected in one way or another. So while I can say that I loved this characters and felt for them all deeply, it was (again) the writing that made me feel this way. The connected plots were brilliant. You learn the stories and (overtime) backstories of the characters and you create this idea in your head how they are connected because it says in the synopsis that they are. It kept me wanting to know how and why, these peoples lives were intertwined and when they were, I wasn't exactly blown away which was disappointing, but that didn't ruin the journey. Overall this was an amazing book and the writing alone, is why I would recommend it to everyone. And who knows, maybe you will not guess the plot. Maybe you will be left satisfied by the ending. Maybe you will have a completely different outlook on this book than I did, but I bet you'd still be glad you read it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    Pensive, evocative, and atmospheric! The Paris Hours takes us on a moving journey into the lives of four strangers in Paris for one day during 1927 and introduces us to their thoughts, feelings, motivations, fears, and dreams, and highlights just how small the world truly is and how easily our paths can cross, intertwine, and collide. The writing is eloquent and expressive. The characters are complex, damaged, and genuine. And the plot is an affecting, absorbing tale about life, loss, love, lonel Pensive, evocative, and atmospheric! The Paris Hours takes us on a moving journey into the lives of four strangers in Paris for one day during 1927 and introduces us to their thoughts, feelings, motivations, fears, and dreams, and highlights just how small the world truly is and how easily our paths can cross, intertwine, and collide. The writing is eloquent and expressive. The characters are complex, damaged, and genuine. And the plot is an affecting, absorbing tale about life, loss, love, loneliness, family, friendship, heartbreak, war, grief, hope, guilt, secrets, deception, and survival. Overall, The Paris Hours is a wonderful blend of historical characters and alluring fiction that sweeps you away to another time and place and does a beautiful job of reminding us that everyone that enters our lives, no matter how brief, can impact, shape, and define it. Thank you to Flatiron Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Daniella

    "This is how it ends!?" I cried out loud when i finished. I'm not mad though.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Camille Maio

    I am a bit conflicted about how to review this book. On one hand, the prose exceeded even its exquisite cover. There were moments where I just sighed at the beauty of the story or the words assembled. And the ending - perfect!! But - there were so many different characters and timelines that I found it a lot of work to keep track of them. Though each chapter felt like its own small story part of the bigger story, and each chapter was written to perfection, it was the order and the amount of them I am a bit conflicted about how to review this book. On one hand, the prose exceeded even its exquisite cover. There were moments where I just sighed at the beauty of the story or the words assembled. And the ending - perfect!! But - there were so many different characters and timelines that I found it a lot of work to keep track of them. Though each chapter felt like its own small story part of the bigger story, and each chapter was written to perfection, it was the order and the amount of them that was challenging. I like a book I can escape into, and I felt like I had to do a bit more work than I like in my fiction. But - if your aim is to read something that is achingly beautiful, this one will fit the bill.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    I chose this book for my April BOTM because I love the romance of 1920s Paris. (Midnight in Paris is one of my favorite movies.) The story was darker and more intense than I anticipated, delving into the choices that the four individuals made to get to Paris. It explores themes of war, loss, and desperation, but also the willingness to do anything for those you love. It is beautifully written, but only a little bit difficult to follow the four characters and their timelines.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Leighellen Landskov

    The Paris Hours is historical fiction in it’s finest hour. A multi POV book set in 1920’s Paris, the story is uniquely told over the course of one single day, while providing flashbacks for reference, perspective, and character depth. Throughout the course of the day, we get an intimate look into the lives of four every day Parisians - an artist, an author, a refugee, and a housemaid - and the challenges and choices that shape them. While there were cameos from some famous historical figures fro The Paris Hours is historical fiction in it’s finest hour. A multi POV book set in 1920’s Paris, the story is uniquely told over the course of one single day, while providing flashbacks for reference, perspective, and character depth. Throughout the course of the day, we get an intimate look into the lives of four every day Parisians - an artist, an author, a refugee, and a housemaid - and the challenges and choices that shape them. While there were cameos from some famous historical figures from this time period - Maurice Ravel, Joséphine Baker, Marcel Proust, and Gertrude Stein - they didn’t steal the show. The beauty, magic, and heartbreak in the every day is what wins in this book. Proust says it best “My dear Camille, why on earth do you imagine that those people are more interesting than you? Be yourself!” The depth of heartache and longing of each character, their push for the hope of the future while stuck int he past, is what raises this book above the ordinary. My friend Carly said it best during book club - this book feels cozy. The characters, rather than the setting take center stage. There is a sense of longing to many of the characters as they seek a breakthrough of some kind in their life. There is also an ode to art in multiple forms as a way of expression and relief through painting, music, and writing. "The painting, Souren knows with absolute certainty, was created with him in mind. The artist has looked into Souren's soul and has painted what he saw there. A stranger has painted him from the inside out, and the truth is there for every passerby to see." The four main story lines all seem completely unlinked - the maid is grieving her dead boss while hiding a painful secret, the painter is greatly in debt and seeking a way out, the puppeteer is heartbreakingly lonely and wishes to be seen, and the author has been searching for his daughter for years -but it all comes together to a satisfying conclusion. Easy to read and simply lovely in it’s prose and expression, this one was good for the heart.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mary Morris

    I absolutely loved Alex George's new novel. I found the mingling of invented characters and real people who populated Paris in the 1920s so well done. Fascinating and moving and amazing that it all happens in 24 hours. A real tour de force that I couldn't put down. The troubled puppeteer, the man searching for his lost daughter, the musician who only plays one tune over and over again. These touching portrayals and their powerful stories, all woven together brilliantly, will stay with me for a l I absolutely loved Alex George's new novel. I found the mingling of invented characters and real people who populated Paris in the 1920s so well done. Fascinating and moving and amazing that it all happens in 24 hours. A real tour de force that I couldn't put down. The troubled puppeteer, the man searching for his lost daughter, the musician who only plays one tune over and over again. These touching portrayals and their powerful stories, all woven together brilliantly, will stay with me for a long time to come.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Overall I really enjoyed this book.  It started of a bit slow, as with the changing POVs we only got a glimpse of each character and it was hard at first to connect or remember which person was which.  But once into the story, we are given more and more details and inner dialogue that helped a lot.  I have recently traveled to Paris and I loved all the places mentioned and scene descriptions. This story technically takes place during just one day in face, and yet each person is transported to th Overall I really enjoyed this book.  It started of a bit slow, as with the changing POVs we only got a glimpse of each character and it was hard at first to connect or remember which person was which.  But once into the story, we are given more and more details and inner dialogue that helped a lot.  I have recently traveled to Paris and I loved all the places mentioned and scene descriptions. This story technically takes place during just one day in face, and yet each person is transported to their past in memories, which gives us a great look into each life.  I loved the premise of people with unimaginably different pasts whose lives all intersect on this day in Paris. Though each character seemed wildly different, they were all people who felt out of place in their own lives, reaching for something they could not see.  The way their pasts so wholly dictated this particular day, was written so well and with such strong emotion.  Though the story remains the pace of a slow wander through memories and feelings, the short chapters kept it from dragging. _ The ending is shocking and suddenly fast paced with so much going on. So much about the end is left to the imagination. As I closed the pages my heart hurt with such mixed emotions.  This is truly when I realized how much I had connected to the characters.  I wanted to know more of their secrets, more of their lives, and how they moved on from this single day.  I am torn apart by some characters and optimistic about others. _ I really recommend this book for all historical fiction lovers, and especially those who love Paris.  Thank you to the publishers for a copy of this book; I'm happy to give my honest thoughts.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anna at A Wondrous Bookshelf

    I love Paris and I gravitate towards novels that are either about Paris or take place in Paris. And this, my friends, has proven to not always work for me. I went in with a great desire to love this book, but the multiple characters and multiple POVs made it a little choppy for me. Although still a good read, not the great read I was hoping for.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stefanie

    The Paris Hours details the lives of four individuals in the early 1900s whose lives intertwine. Each chapter gives you insight into one of the four characters in the book, three men and a woman. Each character has a very different background from the others, but their lives all come together, intersecting at one point. One thing I must say about this book is that the writing is gorgeous. The melodic flow of the words on every page sucked me in and I loved how beautiful the descriptions were. It w The Paris Hours details the lives of four individuals in the early 1900s whose lives intertwine. Each chapter gives you insight into one of the four characters in the book, three men and a woman. Each character has a very different background from the others, but their lives all come together, intersecting at one point. One thing I must say about this book is that the writing is gorgeous. The melodic flow of the words on every page sucked me in and I loved how beautiful the descriptions were. It was elegantly scrolled. However, I feel not much happened. While each character had their own background/story told, I felt not much action was had within the pages. Sure, there were tales weaved for each character, but after those stories were shared the rest of the book was filled with a lot of fluff. I felt like I was slightly jostled with a good tidbit and insightful look-in to a characters background and then all of a sudden some more poetic writing filled the pages, but nothing truly unfolded. You’d be stirred again by another interesting fact, only to be lulled by more descriptions. Overall the book was beautifully written and I enjoyed getting to know these four people, but it wasn’t over the top engaging or exciting for me. TW: War details, Murder, Physical Assault, Prostitution (briefly mentioned), Loss of loved ones, Fire.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Curran

    I’m a HUGE historical fiction fan, so when BOTM ⁣has a historical fiction option, I almost always choose it. This one I couldn’t put down! Once I got the characters straight this story sucked me in and didn’t let me go until the very end! The Paris Hours follows four individuals over the course of a single day. Camille, a housemaid with a secret. She was asked to burn her employers notebooks but she kept one for herself. If she doesn’t find it, her secret will be revealed. Guillaume, a painter i I’m a HUGE historical fiction fan, so when BOTM ⁣has a historical fiction option, I almost always choose it. This one I couldn’t put down! Once I got the characters straight this story sucked me in and didn’t let me go until the very end! The Paris Hours follows four individuals over the course of a single day. Camille, a housemaid with a secret. She was asked to burn her employers notebooks but she kept one for herself. If she doesn’t find it, her secret will be revealed. Guillaume, a painter in trouble who must repay a debt before someone comes to kill him. Souren, an Armenian refugee who relives his tragic past through puppet shows. Jean-Paul, a journalist who has never stopped searching for his missing daughter. The character’s stories all come crashing together at the end. This book is a beautiful, character-driven masterpiece! If you enjoy books written from multiple points of view and you are a historical fan, this one is for you!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    “It’s a myth, this idea that you can change who you are simply by climbing on a boat or boarding a train. Some things you cannot leave behind. Your history will pursue you doggedly across frontiers and over oceans. It will slip past the unsmiling border guards, fold itself invisibly into the pages of your passport, a silent, treacherous stowaway.” This novel is a quiet, complex examination of suffering and how it manifests itself in different forms. While this might sound unappealing, it’s actual “It’s a myth, this idea that you can change who you are simply by climbing on a boat or boarding a train. Some things you cannot leave behind. Your history will pursue you doggedly across frontiers and over oceans. It will slip past the unsmiling border guards, fold itself invisibly into the pages of your passport, a silent, treacherous stowaway.” This novel is a quiet, complex examination of suffering and how it manifests itself in different forms. While this might sound unappealing, it’s actually quite beautiful. Allow yourself to get lost in the language and emotions; follow the stories to reveal their connections between each other and yourself. On the other hand, if you’re not a fan of slow-building character studies with rich, detailed language, this may not be for you. My one minor complaint is that the ending left some room for interpretation. While I understand and appreciate the author’s intention, after connecting so deeply with these characters I wanted a more concrete resolution for them. However, as it stands, I’m left imagining how their paths continue on, which I guess isn’t so bad after all. 4.5 stars

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joann

    First of all, I won this awesome book in a Goodread's Giveaway and I want to thank Flatiron Books and Katherine Turro, Marketing Manager of Flatiron Books for making sure I received this book for my honest review. This is a story of one day in the city of light. Paris between the wars teems with artists, writers, and musicians, a glittering crucible of genius. But amidst the dazzling creativity of the city’s most famous citizens, four regular people are each searching for something they’ve lost. First of all, I won this awesome book in a Goodread's Giveaway and I want to thank Flatiron Books and Katherine Turro, Marketing Manager of Flatiron Books for making sure I received this book for my honest review. This is a story of one day in the city of light. Paris between the wars teems with artists, writers, and musicians, a glittering crucible of genius. But amidst the dazzling creativity of the city’s most famous citizens, four regular people are each searching for something they’ve lost. Since the death of her beloved employer, housemaid Camille has lived with a secret. When Marcel Proust asks her to burn his notebooks, she saved one for herself. Now it has disappeared, and she is desperate to recover it before her betrayal is revealed. Across town, lovesick painter Guillaume is also racing against the clock, with only a few more hours to repay a debt that threatens to bury him alive. Souren, an Armenian refugee, performs puppet shows for children, seeking connection in a city that has never felt like home. While Souren relentlessly relives his tragic past, journalist Jean-Paul is unable to confront his own, searching for his missing daughter in every stranger’s face. Alex George writes movingly of human connection. As the hours tick towards midnight, the City of Lights pulls these four characters ever closer, until their paths collide in an unforgettable climax. 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. This was my first read by Alex George and I was impressed and he is now on my watch list. A big 5 stars.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amanda (TheBookwormAdventures)

    (Thank you to Flatiron for reaching out and sending me an early copy of this novel in exchange for a review.) This novel is set in 1927, post WWI Paris. It follows four main protagonists - Camille, former maid for Marcel Proust; Souren, an Armenian refugee; Guillaume, an artist; and Jean-Paul, a journalist. They all lead separate lives, but their stories intersect at various points throughout the book. At the forefront of these stories are the damages that the war has done, in varying ways, to ea (Thank you to Flatiron for reaching out and sending me an early copy of this novel in exchange for a review.) This novel is set in 1927, post WWI Paris. It follows four main protagonists - Camille, former maid for Marcel Proust; Souren, an Armenian refugee; Guillaume, an artist; and Jean-Paul, a journalist. They all lead separate lives, but their stories intersect at various points throughout the book. At the forefront of these stories are the damages that the war has done, in varying ways, to each of the characters. In addition, there is Camille, who possesses a notebook that was supposed to have been destroyed after Proust’s death. It contains a secret that, should it get out, would cause an upheaval, but not just her own life. The Paris Hours was beautifully written, with brief chapters that offer a glimpse into each of the protagonists’ lives. I read it quickly, wanting to know the details of how the characters’ lives would intersect, and what the end result would be. I confess that, when I got to the last page, I was disappointed there wasn’t more.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Leitsch

    No literary masterpiece here, but a really fast-paced, fun read. I loved how all four storylines converged at the end, although I felt that two of the four characters' final scenes were underdeveloped. A great historical fiction novel that my students would enjoy too!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Grigsby

    I loved these separate stories that coalesced into one! Hard to describe, but I found it hard to put down!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Penny (Literary Hoarders)

    This was wonderful! I enjoyed every moment with it, and I find this is where Alex George shines - when he writes historical fiction. I adored A Good American. I really liked Setting Free the Kites, this was his contemporary novel. Very good, but it's here again with his historical fiction where I fall absolutely in love with his writing. In The Paris Hours, we have four very different, unknown to each other, living in Paris, and all searching for something - something they've lost, something t This was wonderful! I enjoyed every moment with it, and I find this is where Alex George shines - when he writes historical fiction. I adored A Good American. I really liked Setting Free the Kites, this was his contemporary novel. Very good, but it's here again with his historical fiction where I fall absolutely in love with his writing. In The Paris Hours, we have four very different, unknown to each other, living in Paris, and all searching for something - something they've lost, something they wish to hide, something they wish to find again. In the very end, they all come together somehow with a remarkable ending! It's almost as if you are reading short stories about the different characters until they somehow meet, even very fleetingly in the end. That ending still haunts me! Just loved it!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    I had to flip back and forth a lot when I started reading, but once I had the characters straight in my head, I could sit back and just enjoy the story.

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