From Paris With Love

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Every girl dreams of hearing those four magical words Will you marry me? But no-one tells you what’s supposed to happen next….

Fun-loving Gemma Goodwin knows she should be revelling in her happy-ever-after. Except when her boyfriend Lord Edward popped the question, after a whirlwind romance, although she didn’t say no….she didn’t exactly say yes either!

A month-long cookery course in Paris could be just the place to make sure her heart and her head are on the same page… And however disenchanted with romance Gemma is feeling, the City of Love has plenty to keep her busy; the champagne is decadently quaffable, the croissants almost too delicious, and shopping is a national past-time! In fact, everything in Paris makes her want to say Je t’aime…. Except Edward!

But whilst Paris might offer plenty of distractions from wedding planning – including her new friends, mysterious Joe and hot French rockstar Blade – there’s no reason she couldn’t just try one or two couture dresses is there? Just for fun…

My opinion: I loved Samantha’s first book, Doubting Abbey, so I jumped at the chance of reading an advance copy of her new book, From Paris with Love.

We catch up with Gemma and Edward about six months after Doubting Abbey ended, and they are off to Paris to live for a month. Gemma’s cooking skills are going from strength to strength and she is attending a month long cookery course in Paris, and Edward is coming with her to work as a waiter at the restaurant, and build on the popularity of his blog by writing some travel articles relating to the centenary of the beginning of the First World War. Before leaving the UK, Edward popped the question, but Gemma still hasn’t given him a response. The romantic setting of Paris only serves to put additional strain on their relationship, along with their new friends, bitchy Monique, hot and mysterious Joe and glam rockstar Blade.

It was great to catch up with Gemma and Edward, although I would have liked to have seen them back at Applebridge Hall as I loved the setting in Doubting Abbey. I soon got over that as Paris is a wonderfully romantic setting and really suited this story. Gemma is still very much herself – athough a slightly more refined version after taking up residence at Applebridge Hall, and still gets herself into a number of scrapes. This time around, she gets herself into a potentially dangerous situation early on after meeting mysterious Joe who swears her to secrecy about what he asks her to do. Gemma is a lot more trusting of other people than me, but it is touch and go whether she can pull off what Joe has asked her to do without blabbing to anyone.

This was a lighthearted read and I loved the theme in it – it was very different to most chick lit/romance novels and made the book really interesting and more adventurous. I wasn’t able to guess how the book would end and it kept me guessing right up to the final chapters about what would be the outcome of the month in Paris. I loved the detail about the cooking in Paris, some of the detail made my mouth water! We also meet some great new characters like rockstar Blade, slimy John and all of the staff at Chez Dubois.

This books would work well as a standalone book, but I would recommend reading Doubting Abbey first, partly so that you can understand the references, but also as it is just as good a read as this one. Another fab book, and I look forward to reading more from the author, and hopefully more about Gemma and Edward!

You can read my review of Doubting Abbey here.

My rating: Five stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

From Paris with Love is published by Carina UK on 30th July 2014

Doubting Abbey

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Swapping downstairs for upstairs… How hard can it be!?


Look up the phrase ordinary girl and you’ll see a picture of me, Gemma Goodwin – I only look half-decent after applying the entire contents of my make-up bag, and my dating track-record includes a man who treated me to dinner…at a kebab shop. No joke!


The only extraordinary thing about me is that I look EXACTLY like my BFF, Abbey Croxley. Oh, and that for reasons I can’t explain, I’ve agreed to swap identities and pretend be her to star in the TV show about her aristocratic family’s country estate, Million Dollar Mansion.
So now it’s not just my tan I’m faking – it’s Kate Middleton style demure hemlines and lady-like manners too. And amongst the hundreds of fusty etiquette rules I’m trying to cram into my head, there are two I really must remember; 1) No-one can ever find out that I’m just Gemma, who’d be more at home in the servants quarters. And 2) There can be absolutely no flirting with Abbey’s dishy but buttoned-up cousin, Lord Edward.

Aaargh, this is going to be harder than I thought…

My opinion: I really liked the premise of this book and thought that it sounded different, so jumped at the chance when I was offered a review copy by the author!

Gemma is a very normal girl who has just lost her job at a pizza place and gets asked a huge favour by her best friend and flat mate Abbey. Abbey asks Gemma to stand in for her and take part in a reality show being filmed at her uncle’s stately home. But by standing in, she also has to pretend to be Abbey and somehow convince everyone that she is from an upper class family and has attended finishing school, rather than being from a more humble working class background with a love for fake tan, make up and chicken fillets! When Gemma arrives it seems like an even harder job when she meets Abbey’s very straightlaced (and hot!) cousin Edward.

This is a great idea for a book and mixes the UK’s love for reality TV and the more sombre Downton Abbey! The characters in the book are really loveable and get even more so as you know more about them. I particularly liked reading Edward’s blog posts for the show to get his view on the whole charade and I liked how Gemma adapted so well to this new way of life. The only negatives about this book for me were that I was expecting a more Christmassy book from the cover and it is only a small feature at the end of the book, and at times I felt like the book was losing pace a little, although this didn’t stop me wanting to read on.

I would definitely recommend this book as a fun read, and would definitely read more from the author, and would like to read more about the characters.

My rating: Four stars!

I was sent a review copy of this book in return for an honest review