All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio came at the perfect time for me. Having just gotten back from Paris, I couldn’t wait to let this book take me back to the beautiful City of Lights. I was hooked from the beginning, but probably not for your typical reason. The story starts in 2009 in Paris with one of the main characters, Caroline, getting into a horrible bicycling accident that causes her to have memory loss. I too had a bicycling accident while in France, and although not as bad as Caroline’s, I was instantly hooked and felt a kindred connection to Caroline.
Set in both 2009 and during the German occupation of WWII, the book alternates between the stories of Caroline, her memory loss and subsequent struggle to figure out who she is, and Celine, running a flower shop with her father and daughter, Cosi, in 1943 German-occupied Paris. Slowly it is revealed that their stories, filled with heartache, tragedy, and loss, as to somewhat be expected with historical fiction, are somehow connected through an apartment on the posh rue Cler.
Here is where I would love to go into further detail, sharing my feelings about what each of these characters endured, but to do so would be giving away too much of the plot and I don’t want to do that to you. Part of what keeps you reading this book is the curiosity of needing to know if everyone would be okay. It’s true, at times I found their stories to be somewhat predictable, but not so much so that I was compelled to stop reading. Quiet the opposite. There were small twists to the story that kept me hooked and invested in these characters. A fast-paced read, however, I wished at times for more details and descriptions.
I really wanted to give it a five-star review, but for these reasons, I’m sticking to four and a half stars. If you love stories set in Paris, historical fiction, and stories filled with equal parts heartache, love, and forgiveness, you will definitely enjoy this book!
Thank you Net Galley and Ballantine Books for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy!
All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio
Published by Ballantine Books, August 13, 2019
Genre: Historical fiction
Where I read: In a comfy chair with a kitten on my lap
Stephenie’s Goodreads Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars