A Paris All Your Own, Eleanor Brown: Book Review

Eighteen women writers come together to muse over the City of Light..

a paris all your own eleanor brown book reviewG.P. Putnam's Sons / Joe Henson
A Paris All Your Own Book Cover A Paris All Your Own
Eleanor Brown
Adult Nonfiction
G.P. Putnam's Sons

While all of the women writers featured here have written books connected to Paris, their personal stories of the city are wildly different. Meg Waite Clayton (The Race for Paris) and M. J. Rose (The Book of Lost Fragrances) share the romantic secrets that have made Paris the destination for lovers for hundreds of years. Susan Vreeland (The Girl in Hyacinth Blue) and J. Courtney Sullivan (The Engagements) peek behind the stereotype of snobbish Parisians to show us the genuine kindness of real people.

From book club favorites Paula McLain, Therese Anne Fowler (Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald), and anthology editor Eleanor Brown (The Light of Paris) to mystery writer Cara Black (Murder in the Marais), historical author Lauren Willig (The Secret History of the Pink Carnation), and memoirist Julie Powell (Julie and Julia), these Parisian memoirs range from laugh-out-loud funny to wistfully romantic to thoughtfully somber and reflective.

This review contains quotes from the book.

*Special thanks to G.P. Putnam’s Sons for allowing us to read editor Eleanor Brown’s A Paris All Your Own.

This novel is different than most others I’ve read because there are 18 different writers who have experienced Paris in a unique way. Eleanor Brown both edited and contributed a chapter to the collection that is A Paris All Your Own but each author has her own chapter that explains what they loved and did in the City of Light.

Each author’s main question that they try to answer in their story is about why they love writing and reading stories about Paris. Each of these author’s have written books that are somewhat affiliated with Paris, but these stories are about their personal involvement with the city. Brown’s goal for this novel was to go to separate women writers to get their take on Paris because each person has a different involvement with the city.

“I went to seventeen other women writers from the United States, England, and Ireland, and asked them about their personal experiences visiting and living in Paris. I wanted to know the stories behind the stories–I wanted to know what they really, honestly thought about the City of Light. Et voilà. Their clever and funny and dreamy and sad and thoughtful answers are collected here.”

– excerpt form editor Eleanor Brown’s A Paris All Your Own 

Each author touches on a certain topic that Paris brings out of people. Clayton and Rose both write about romantic secrets in Paris for many, many years. Vreeland and Sullivan both discuss the real side of Parisians. The other writers tap into their personal stories they had there with such tender, touching, and real moments. Each story is so personal but so delightful to read.

I recommend this to anyone who loves Paris as much as these women do. Paris has had a separate impact on these women authors and I am glad they shared their stories with the world. Brown did a wonderful job with finding these writers and having them explain why Paris is one of their favorite places to live or visit. Please go pick this one if you love to travel because after reading this, you will not want to miss out on the City of Light.

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Jessica Duffield
the authorJessica Duffield
Contributing Writer
I am a junior in college. Books are my passion and I hope to work in book publishing once I graduate from journalism school.