In brief: Claire has always dreamed of Paris – but not being dumped under the Eiffel Tower! A horrible weekend turns into an exciting ride as famous chef Louis Delarue takes on the hotel she’s helping out at as a project. Has Louis met his match in feisty Claire?
The good: It was incredibly fun – sexy, funny, sweet and with lots of gorgeous Parisian sites and eats.
The not-so-good: I couldn’t eat the food that was described – we need a combination novel/cookbook here!
Why I chose it: Thanks for the surprise Hachette – I devoured it!
Setting: Paris, France
My rating: 10 out of 10
When I received a surprise copy of Paris Lights in the mail, it came at just the right time. I wanted to read something fun, and as I adore baking, I can’t go past a book that involves a chef. I expected to like this book, but I didn’t think I would love it. I was totally wrong, just like protagonist Claire is when she glares down celebrity chef Louis Delarue. This is what a summer novel should be. Funny, sexy and bubbly.
Claire has always dreamed of Paris and of course the Eiffel Tower. So when her boyfriend dumps her there on a supposedly romantic weekend away, she is flabbergasted. But not for long. Claire says exactly what she thinks and she’s ready to kick to Liam to the kerb for dumping her for the woman upstairs who waters his plants. (The futility of this is explained later on in the book and it’s brilliant, exposing what a limp loser Liam is). Claire decides to stay in Paris rather than return to London or home in Australia. It’s a fish out of water story meets Cinderella, but the kindly staff at the hotel put Claire up in luxury while she plots her next move. But again, the hotel staff surprise her, asking for assistance in preparing the hotel for an interview for reality TV show with Louis Delarue.
Louis is a feared but respected chef who does like a Hell’s Kitchen for hotels and even those he is all parts terrifying, the staff want to be accepted on the show. Claire is the one without a filter when it comes to Louis, a brooding Zumbo meets Gordon Ramsay type. But he says what he thinks too, so Claire may have met her match there. Louis runs hot and cold (and so does Claire at times) but will they ever meet in the middle?
Yes, you will need to suspend your reality filter at times in Paris Lights but if you accept that Claire is very, very lucky you will enjoy this book in spades. It has great sparring matches between Louis and Claire as well as some pretty hot scenes. The supporting characters are sweet. I loved Cecile, the soft hearted manager in affairs of the heart (she needs her own book I think!) and Gaston the front door attendant. They were warm and friendly and characters in their own right.
The story is also very modern, with Louis and Claire having a public argument over social media accounts of all things, which is of course, captured and spread on social media! I think one of the other lovely things (perhaps attributed to Claire’s youth) was her refusal to accept defeat, even when it’s staring her in the face. And of course, it comes through for her in the happy ending.
If you’re looking for a light read that sparkles in all the right places, Paris Lights will not disappoint. And the best thing? There’s two more books in the Heart of the City series, New York Nights and London Bound. I can’t wait!