A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore

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RATING: 4/5

BLURB: “September, 1937. Kitty Travers enrols at the Conservatoire on the banks of the Seine to pursue her dream of becoming a concert pianist. But then war breaks out and the city of light falls into shadow. Nearly twenty-five years later, Fay Knox, a talented young violinist, visits Paris on tour with her orchestra. She barely knows the city, so why does it feel so familiar? Soon touches of memory become something stronger, and she realises her connection with these streets runs deeper than she ever expected. As Fay traces the past, with only an address in an old rucksack to help her, she discovers dark secrets hidden years ago, secrets that cause her to question who she is and where she belongs.”

REVIEW: A few weeks ago I reviewed one of Hore’s previous novel, ‘A Place of Secrets’, which I was truly enchanted by – and I had similar experience whilst reading ‘A Week in Paris’. ‘A Week in Paris’ tells the story of Fay Knox, a musician who goes in search of a past that her mother has always kept hidden from her whilst on a week-long working trip to Paris, where her parents lived during the Second World War. As Fay begins to uncover more of the terrifying events that took place surrounding her parents during the French occupation of France, she also develops a tentative but realistic and moving relationship with Adam, an activist and journalist whom she met many years before during a school trip to Paris. When Fay discovers an old friend of her mother’s, a Madame Ramond, the story of her parents’ past begins to unfold, with the narrative switching between Fay’s journey in the 1960s and her mother, Kitty’s, troubling experiences during the Second World War. The change between the past and the present keeps the reader constantly on their toes, always eager to read on and see what happened next in the stories of both women. The violence that Kitty sees towards Jews in the past sections are also cleverly paralleled with the terrible treatment of oppressed Algerians in France during the present section, making the targeting of minorities a very prominent issue within the novel as a whole. It is difficult to say more about the novel without ruining the shocks that await both Fay and the reader as Kitty’s story begins to emerge in ways that we could not possibly have imagined. I will say, however, that this book had me hooked from start to finish, I simply couldn’t put it down! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and look forward to working my way through the rest of Hore’s published works.

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