It will surprise those who regularly follow my reviews to see this book pop up as it’s more than a-stone’s-throw outside my usual / preferred genre. I’ve talked before about why I don’t read ‘straight’ romance novels… and in summary it’s sadly because my default state-of-mind is far too cynical and insufficiently tolerant or wistful enough for romance.
However, I’m trying to broaden my horizons and hoping to do that via audiobooks as I drive a bit for work. And because I knew I had a 6hr drive to attend an author event as well as some work travel I put in a request for this audiobook. Which – incidentally – I enjoyed, though tried not to think about the fact I could have read it in 2-3 hours, not 10-11hrs stretched over 3 weeks of driving and a few lunchtime walks.The Paris Wedding
by Charlotte Nash
Published by Hachette Australia
on June 27th 2017
Source: Hachette Australia
Narrator: Candice Miles
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Genres: Romance, Women's Fiction
Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
Ten years ago, Rachael West chose not to move to Sydney with high-school sweetheart Matthew. Instead she stayed on the family wheat farm, caring for her seriously ill mother and letting go of her dreams.
Now, Matthew is marrying someone else. And Rachael is invited to the wedding, a lavish affair in Paris, courtesy of the flamboyant family of Matthew's fiancée - a once-in-a-lifetime celebration at someone else's expense in Europe's most romantic city.
She is utterly unprepared for what the week brings. Friendships will be upended, secrets will be revealed - and on the eve of the wedding, Rachael is faced with an impossible dilemma: should she give up on the promise of love, or destroy another woman's life for a chance at happiness?
I know others love listening to audiobooks while they’re doing other stuff, but I’m afraid I’m either ‘reading’ or I’m not reading. I can listen to an audiobook and drive, or walk, but not while I’m at my computer or work or doing anything that requires me to lose focus. I know what I’m like with my meditation recordings and hate that I tend to zone in and out as my mind occasionally wanders.
However, I’m excited that I’ve discovered audiobooks and podcasts to keep me occupied during long drives or on my occasional walks.
The (aforementioned) intolerant and cynical part of me was occasionally frustrated with our lead character Rachael. She’s stunningly naive on occasions, though I do concede she’d lived on her family farm and had a fairly narrow existence for some time. I can certainly relate to wanting a ‘do-over’ or wanting to change history but she seemed very fanciful and too ingenue-ish for someone in their late 20s.
I also hated the sense of desperation over the fact she was still single and in her late 20s as if the book was delivering a message that it was too late for her (or anyone that age who’s still single); that she’d missed her chance and only had regret to comfort her. Although, I suspect I was *ahem* projecting a bit there…. and possibly getting married in one’s twenties is a small town / farm thing?
And her assumption that Matthew would be unchanged after 10yrs seemed unlikely. She’d had no contact with him despite his family still living in the same town… which didn’t bode well. From an outsiders point of view, he’d well and truly moved on without a second thought – hardly still carrying a torch for his first love which Rachael (given her lack of opportunities and growth) seemingly still did.
So.. my cynicism simmered in that respect.
However… I liked the small town vibe and characters Nash introduced. I loved the friendship between Rachael and long-term bestie Sammie, and the tumultuous relationship between Rachael and her sister Tess. Rachael’s experiences in Paris were a bit too fairytale-like for this expert eye-roller, however as someone who’s never been to France it was evident Nash drew on experience or research and did a amazing job of transporting readers there.
I adored the narrator of this audiobook. Candice Miles was able to deliver the simple but kind and genuine (countrified) voices of Rachael and Sammie and her accent for French designer Yvette and Italian / French / American photographer Antonio seemed very plausible. And her pronunciations of all-things-French was delightful to this non-French speaker, sounding very authentic and making me unbelievably jealous I had no such ability.
Despite my cynical nature and predilection for eye-rolling I found myself eager to get back to this book when I could, taking it on lunchtime walks and even an early morning beach walk so I could finish it and see how it ended.
Readers of romance will love this book. It offers an Australian outback flavour (rural romance) but also the more elegant and richly textured world of fashion / couture and Paris. And if the audiobook is an option (taking this from a 3 to a 3.5 star book for me), I’d definitely opt for that as the story is delivered beautifully and full of care…
I received a copy of this audiobook via Audible from Hachette Australia Audio.