Book review: Paris by the Book + competition

Written by Liam Callanan
Published by HQ

Synopsis: Twelve weeks before Leah Eady arrived in France, her husband disappeared. Early one morning, he walked out the door and never came back. All he left behind was a scrumpled note in a cereal box, leading her to the bustling streets of Paris.

Once she arrives, she discovers a mysterious unfinished manuscript written by her husband, and set in the very same city. Hoping to uncover more clues, Leah takes over a crumbling bookshop with her two young daughters, only to realise that he might just be closer than any of them ever imagined…

…but what if he doesn't want to be found?

How did this book end up in my hands? This book ticked all the right boxes – great title, intriguing synopsis, gorgeous cover – so I requested an advance review copy from the publisher, which I was very lucky to receive.

Was it a page-turner? It is a very Parisian book… a book that needs to be enjoyed like you would a tray of macarons. Slowly! When I started reading, my main concern was 'Will the find the husband?' and I was ready to launch myself and chase him down the streets of Paris. As the book progressed, however, I found myself seduced by the family's new French life and it all became less about the destination and more about the journey.

Having read the synopsis, did the book meet my expectations? I think I expected a more fast-paced novel although – when I re-read it now that I’ve read the book – I’m not sure why I had this misconception. This is definitely not a thriller. 

Did I like the ending? [no spoilers] Yes, I did. I think readers will be pleased whether they hoped Leah would or wouldn’t find her husband.

Did the book leave me with unanswered questions? When every book ends, I wonder what will happen next to the characters who have been my companions for many hours. Apart from this natural curiosity, there is nothing that left me with an unresolved feeling.

Three words to describe it. Parisian. Mysterious. Bookish.

Do I like the cover? I love it! It’s simple and elegant and it makes me want to book a trip to Paris right now! The balloon is a nice touch once you know what it signifies within the book.

Have I read any other books by the same author? No, unfortunately not.

Will I want to read other books by the same author? Yes, I am particularly intrigued by his second novel, All Saints.

Will I be recommending this book? Yes, particularly to anyone who has ever dreamed of running a bookshop, living in Paris or both! Also to anyone who enjoys reading about the resilience of families and mother-daughter relationships.

Anything else? Yes! The publisher has kindly offered one copy of Paris by the Book to go to a lucky reader! All you have to do is follow me on Twitter and retweet the competition post by 08/07. UK only. All comments left below will count as extra entries (one per person). Bonne chance!


  1. I was just in Paris, and it sure is an enchanting place. This book sounds intriguing. Thanks for the review!

  2. Love how your expectations of the book changed as you started reading, and am intruiged to find out how the story pans out


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