Maud Roberts is a student at an art school for Young ladies in Paris and she has moneyproblems. Paris is quite expensive and her family in England does not have a lot of money either, so it may be that Maud will not survive another winter in Paris.
Then she has the opportunity to work as a companion for the Morel family. Sylvie Morel is addicted to opium and her brother Christian wants somebody to keep an eye on her and keep her company.
It seems Maud’s luck has turned, she has a roof over her head, three good meals a day an pleasant employers.
But then it all changes and it seems Maud is in deep trouble.
When I travel somewhere I always like it to have a book with me that is set in the same place. So when I went to Paris a couple of weeks ago, I put The Paris Winter in my bag so I could read it on the Thalys. I had hoped for a few pleasant hours with this book, but I was surprised at how much better it was than I ever thought!
First of all the historical background is excellent. The characters are written well and in the way fiction is mixed with historical facts Imogen Robertson shows she is a very good writer.
Paris is always interesting, but the period 1909-1910 is even more so. The flood of Paris in January 1910 gives the story momentum and a dramatic focus.
Paris comes to live in this book, from the houses of the poor in Montmartre to the grand boulevards with the shops for the rich.
The art-background is also done well, with little technical details that give it a lot of credibility and make it very interesting. Real events and people in this aspect of the book give it an extra dimension.
The twist in the story, the moment things change for Maud was unexpected. I knew something was going to happen of course, but the how and the what were a real surprise and very well done. The way the story progresses is lively and exciting and make it impossible to put the book down.
A nice and original touch I thought were the descriptions of paintings between the chapters, that give extra clues that you cannot immediately understand.
The Paris Winter is an excellent historical novel with credible characters and a well thought out plot that even brings some gothic horror to it at certain points. What more could you want in a book?
Read here what LARK wrote about this excellent book, it was because of her review I bought it immediately :-)
Published in 2013