The Paris Model
By: Alexandra Joel
Opening Line: “If anyone had asked her who she was, the woman would have been unable to tell them.”
Overall: This book was inspired from an actual story that the author’s friend told her about her mother’s life. The main character is Grace Woods. She was raised on an Australian sheep farm. Wanting to escape her life in Australia, she enters and wins a modeling contest. She is flown to post-war Paris to be a model for the fashion house of Christian Dior. This new life of glamour in Paris opens up doors to meeting the rich and famous. She mixes with Counts, Princesses, diplomats and politicians. Since many of the characters in the book are real people, their real names are used. She gets to meet Pablo Picasso, Julia Child, and befriends the future Jackie Kennedy. While adjusting to her new, glittering life in Paris, Grace is also trying to locate a close family friend who went missing during the War, but she feels that he is still alive. Grace also meets and falls in love with the charming Philippe Boyer. But, they both have secrets that they are not telling eachother. They are both leading double-lives. All those secrets lead them both into danger and trouble that might destroy their relationship or even end their lives.
Ovations: I am a Francophile, and love everything about France/Paris! Plus, I have always loved fashion, and the 1940’s is my favorite era in fashion! So, when I saw that this book was about a woman who goes to Paris in the 1940’s to model for Christian Dior, I basically had no choice but to read this book! lol About the book, I loved the beautiful locations the book was set in. The author does an amazing job writing so descriptively about the lovely landscapes of Australia and the dazzling city of Paris. I really felt immersed in the scenery and locations. I love that this book is based heavily on a true story, told directly to the author. It makes the book so much more compelling to me to know that a real person lived this story. The plot is multi-layered, and always has a lot of elements going on at the same time, so it really makes you want to read-on and find out what happens next.
Oh Well: I had some trouble following this book at times. The chapters jump around constantly, and it can be hard to keep track of when and where the storyline has jumped to. You are reading about one period of her life, but then the next chapter might be 5 years earlier or 2 years later. It was confusing. I prefer a much more linear plot.
Opinion: I love everything about Paris, fashion, and the 1940’s. Yes, this book was all about that. But, this book was also about so many other things. There are so many parts to Grace’s story … her traveling, her job, her marriage, her parents, her family, her friends, her divorce, her bravery, her independence, her heartbreak, her loss, and her love. It was a dramatic, captivating story of how this girl grows into a woman, and finds out who she really is along the way. Rating: 8 out of 10