While it’s a little early to share a review of this book since it isn’t out until August, I read an advanced e-copy and couldn’t resist sharing it during Paris Month.
Coming from a Colombian family in the states, Lita has been granted a year abroad in Paris before committing to the family’s food distribution business. She rents a room in “The House of Stars”, an old mansion whose inhabitants are all women and the bedridden landlady lives vicariously through her tenants. Lita is reluctant to join the boisterous group that she shares a roof with until she meets Cato, the son of a much-disliked political figure. Her blossoming, yet discouraged, relationship with Cato forces Lita to make some tough decisions on life, love and familial responsibilities.
When I initially heard the premise of this book, I pictured it to take place many decades ago, but was pleasantly surprised to find it is actually a contemporary present-day story. I found Lita to be a breath of fresh air. I loved that the protagonist in this Parisian-set novel wasn’t the typical Caucasian woman that are often the leads in these novels. It was such an interesting point of view with the added back story of Lita’s parents and heritage and while it may not have necessarily affected the narrative directly, it flushed out her character so much more. All the other supporting characters were also quite dynamic and individualistic. The all-around diversity in personalities made for entertaining and interesting scenes.
The cover design I found a bit confusing though. Upon initially seeing it, I had thought it to be a woman with tattoos or a patterned dress reclining for a picnic or sunbathing in the park. It’s not until I found a larger image of the cover that I realized it is actually a statue that has been vandalized with graffiti. I suppose, had I noticed that in the beginning, I would have figured it to be a more contemporary novel, and I see the play on the title perhaps but, to me, it feels a bit too tongue-in-cheek for what the story actually is. It’s not a witty memoir about one’s life & love in Paris, it’s a serious fictional story about a woman’s self discovery. I really feel the cover is not a good representation of what the novel is actually like.
Nonetheless, the story is lovingly developed and beautifully told. Set against the backdrop of a beautiful city in an eclectic household, It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris is a contemporary romance of star-crossed lovers and what is expected of them by their families.