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  • Writer's pictureJulie Mackin

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

In which we wonder about the nature of families


The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley 

Stars: 4

52 Book Club Summer Reading Challenge Prompt: #1 (Set In Paris)


I’ll be honest, it took a little while to get into this one, mostly because I wasn’t sure how I felt about the main character, Jess. She was a bit of a mess and I was having a hard time sympathizing with her, but once I sat down and just started reading, it was hard to put down (or hard to get out of the pool to stop reading!) I really enjoyed the multiple POVs, it gave great insight to the characters and allowed Foley to slowly peel away the layers, revealing a complex history.


Jess had to leave London in a hurry, she is in a bit of a bind. So she hops the Eurostar and heads to see her brother, Ben, who is living in Paris. But just as she is arriving in Paris, and while on the phone with him, they get cut off. And when Jess shows up at his apartment, he is nowhere to be found. Now, with only limited French, Jess sets out to find her brother, but she is not sure who she can turn to and if anyone in his building is trustworthy - they all seem to be hiding something (because, duh, it’s a thriller).


I loved Foley’s The Guest List and this one is just as well written; the small revelations throughout the book keep the reader engaged (and guessing). The final revelations had me gasping out loud (and scaring the dog) which demonstrates an author’s command of her storyline, and her subjects. In The Guest List Foley brought an island off the Irish coast to life with its moodiness and subtle references to all that Irish mythology. She does the same with Paris: the tensions between the old-money upper-class French and the immigrants from the old French colonies and Eastern Europe is right underneath the surface of all the supposed civility. As for fulfilling the prompt  of “Set In Paris,” I think this was a perfect read for it! 

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