Reviewed by Julie Failla Earhart
Paris, 1940. A young woman fleeing the Nazis shutters her grandmother’s apartment and escapes to the French countryside.
New York, 2010. A Sotheby’s furniture appraiser, April Vogt, is sent to Paris to aid in the appraisal of an apartment in the ninth arrondissement that has not been disturbed in 70 years. April is more than happy to escape the recent conflicts in her marriage. Immediately upon arrival at the apartment, April is overwhelmed by the exquisite furnishings, especially a previously unknown portrait of a lady in pink by Giovanni Boldani. Luckily for April, she also finds a journal that provides provenance for the pieces and yet tells a fascinating story.
The story is the rags-to-riches climb of one of Paris’ most famous courtesans, Marthe de Florian, which occurred in the last 1800s and early 1900s. A postcard that the author had tucked into my copy says she received the inspiration for Marthe’s story based on a news clipping that a friend had sent her. Turns out Marthe is a real person, and the story of the abandoned apartment unopened for more than half a century is true, which to me, made it all the more fascinating.
Gable’s debut is novel is a wonderful mix of past and present, weaving between Marthe’s journal and April’s adventures, as April mixes business with a possible romance, yet still wondering what she has left in New York. I loved this story and could barely pull myself away from it. I’m already looking forward to Gable’s next novel.
Click here to see images from Marthe’s Paris apartment.
I give A Paris Apartment five out of five stars.