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3.5 out of 5 stars
Secrets of Paris: A Novel
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Maybe I'm biased since I love everything Luanne Rice writes...I've read all of her newer novels, and I've worked my way back to her older stuff. I've enjoyed them all, but of course the older books aren't as "polished".
Secrets of Paris is like an anatomy of a marriage. We see two people who are going through a rough transitional time in their lives, and trying to get through it and stay together. They thought moving to Paris for a year might help, but of course it brings about new issues as well. This couple makes friends, move forward in their careers, but will they make progress in their marriage?
Again, this is not Rice's best work. I did however enjoy the story and characters. I cared about them and what would happen. To me, that's a good story. If you haven't read Luanne Rice before, I would recommend some of her newer novels first though- like Cloud 9, Firefly Beach and Safe Harbor.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I must preface this review by saying that Luanne Rice is one of my very favorite authors. Her books, which are generally filled with wonderful relationships, usually find me hugging her books and crying at the end of them. But unfortunately, Secrets of Paris was a grand disappointment when I read it recently. I certainly looked forward to reading one of Ms. Rice's earliest books but found in the end it was a grand disappointment and held very few secrets for me as a reader. I do wonder if I had read it when I first found this author if I would have continued reading her books. Then again, perhaps if I read this one first I might have seen her progression into the beloved author I now think about when I hear her name or see a new book by her.
The plot revolved around three women living and working in Paris. Lydie is a stylist who has accompanied her husband for the year as he works on an assignment at the Louvre. Patrice is an American woman who is married to a Parisian businessman and meets Lydie at a café. Rounding out the trio is Kelly, a Filipino woman who is Patrice's maid and longs to live in the United States. What happens between these three women as they forge a bond and try to help Kelly get to the United States should be of interest but failed to move me.
Although I didn't care for this book, I do recommend that anybody who loves family stories and relationship consider reading other books by Luanne Rice. Titles like The Perfect Summer, Blue Moon Home Fires and The Firefly trilogy are top reads from her and ones which even now just thinking about put a smile on my face.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
Lydie and her architect husband, Michael, are off to spend a year in Paris on a work related exchange for him. Lydie is still dealing with the shocking murder/suicide of her father with his mistress. As Lydie makes new American friends in Paris, her husband is beginning an affair with Anne, a co-worker at the Louvre where he is working. When Lydie discovers what her husband has been up to will they be able to recover what they had so carelessly tossed aside?

Secrets of Paris seemed more chic lit than romance to me because it seemed to show more development of the female character separate of the male character. And the relationship that she had with her husband didn't really seem to evolve much. I liked the play between Lydie and her friends as they interacted, supported, and grew with each other through their trials over the course of Secrets of Paris.

I didn't like the relationship between Michael and Lydie. I didn't like the fact that Michael wanted Lydie to comfort him and offer him solace after HER father committed the murder/suicide of his lover. I thought his reasoning for her father bringing milk to the two-year-old was an incredibly naïve, rationalization on his part that didn't make a lot of sense to me. I felt Michael was selfish and wanted to make everything about him. He wanted to be the center of Lydie's universe.

Michael never felt fully redeemed in Secrets of Paris, maybe because it was a longer affair than just one night and when his wife couldn't just take him back at the drop of a hat, he went back to Anne. I felt that even though he knew that Anne was crazy he still wanted her, but when he realized how deep her craziness went he wanted his sane wife back.

I saw the growth and change in Lydie through her friendships and the betrayal that her husband handed her, but I didn't see it in him. Even at the end of Secrets of Paris Michael acted as though his affair was part of the whole "French experience" - almost as though it was inevitable. I don't think Lydie and Michael really had that all important talk/connection to make me feel that they will have a happily ever after.

Vanessa
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
#1 HALL OF FAMEon January 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
In order to escape somewhat from the murder-suicide death of her father and take advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity, Lydie and Michael McBride move to Paris on a cultural exchange program. The photographer stylist and her architect husband redesign a room at the Louvre.

Lydie and Bostonian expatriate Patrice d'Origny become friends as she does with Patrice's Filipino maid Kelly. Meanwhile, Michael begins an affair with a French author Anne Dumas who is writing the biography of Mme de Sevigne. Patrice's husband Didier hires Lydie to develop the new d'Origny Bijoutiers jewelry catalogue. As Lydie and Michael seem to drift further apart, each wonders if they can regain what they lost as Americans in Paris.

This reprint of a 1991 family drama predominantly focuses on Lydie, but also looks deep at Patrice and Kelly. The story line is character driven with little action as the themes of friendship, forgiveness and second chances are explored. Though the men and Anne are emaciated stereotypes, readers will enjoy Luanne Rice's look into the souls of three women at key crossroads in their respective lives who will always have Paris.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
I stumbled across this book at a local bookshop, and since I love to read about as well as visit Paris, I bought it. I began reading it when I needed a calming book at a sad time in my family's evolution. I took it with me on a solitary R&R resort stay and it was like having a friend with me.

I have read many of Luanne Rice's books. I loved "Home Fires" and "Cloud Nine" and several others of hers. That was 10-15 years ago, and my tastes evolved as my life experiences changed.

This is not a terribly complex book, nor is it an especially sophisticated read. I can see how Ms. Rice's style evolved over the years.

But I liked it! Maybe it was Paris. Maybe it was the comfort the story gave me.

This is an excellent book to read when life has handed you a curve ball or when you just need distraction. The characters are well formed, the story is solid and believable, and the setting is - of course - second to none.

I do not regret buying this book
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on June 22, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm always curious as to how someone discovers a new read. Was it due to an intriguing review? A friend's suggestion? A gift? In this case, I stumbled across Rice's Secrets of Paris while perusing the bookshelves at the condo where we were staying in Florida. I was hoping for a light read, and this is exactly what I found in the pages.
This novel is a story of a married couple who recently transferred to Paris after a tragic death in the family. What ensues is betrayal, discovery, and a new lease on life.
As stated above, Rice's novel in question is light and perfect for reading while on the beach or resting between outings, but I found when it was over, the novel, overall, lacked development in both characterization and plot. The familial tragedy mentioned above was never fully explained, the betrayal occurring in Paris had a nice neat conclusion after a brief discussion, and a full-blown besties friendship bloomed after a brief passing of the sugar in a cafe. Although a quick, entertaining read, I wanted more from the pages when it was all said and done and wished for a main female protagonist with more backbone.
For the purposes of book club, a Paris backdrop complete with French delicacies would certainly set the mood: crusty bread, assorted cheeses, macaroons, and profiteroles. Oooh la la!
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on September 8, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I absolutely love Luanne Rice. She writes about New England where I am from most of the time. She has even mentioned in one of her books the small town that I lived in as a child in CT. She also mentioned the park I went to when I was a small child during World War II in Hartford, CT. However, Secrets of Paris, was quite different, obviously taking place in Paris. It was not one of my favorites, however, I read everything she writes. I so miss the food from New England and she even mentions "fried clams" in the book I just finished. She's a great writer and I am an avid reader. To anyone who misses New England you won't be disappointed reading Luanne Rice's books. To get back to "Secrets of Paris". it was well written and she certainly is "familiar with Paris". Anyone who has been to Paris will surely enjoy her book.
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on August 19, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Bought for my wife who is a fan of Luann Rice and wanted to try to listen to books as she crochets. CD's are much cheaper for us on a limited income as compared to buying a phone or Ipad, besides learning to use them. Anyway she is very happy with the concept of this way, amd wamts ,me to order more which I will do. Looks like I will be doubleing up on books as she has most of Rices bookd. Maybe I'll check out the library or try Cracker Barrrel resturant where you can buy and take back and exchange.
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Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Enjoyable read, but I prefer Rice's later books. Good character development except can't understand the husband's lapse. I'm re-reading all her books for summer. I have most of them in print.
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on June 6, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
It didn't really have much depth to the story line - a couple moves to Paris, the husband has an affair as that is the "norm" for men in Europe. The husband wants the wife back but it definitely takes him a long time to stop the affair after the realization. Entertaining, but she has written much better in the past.
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