The Perfect Summer Read: Paris in Love {with Giveaway}

Give me a novel or memoir with a strong sense of place, and I’m usually hooked. Add the fish-out-of-water element of experiencing life in a new place, include a bit of envy-inducing fantastic experiences, and you have a book that I’m almost sure to enjoy.

Paris in Love: A Memoir wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it did contain the elements above, and I definitely enjoyed it.

Romance author by night, Shakespeare professor by day, Eloisa James decides to take a sabbatical and move her family to Paris. What was most surprising about this book was instead of it being a chronological account of her and her family’s time in the City of Lights, each chapter begins with an essay that is a page or two long covering topics such as school stuff, food, fashion. But beyond that, there are short paragraphs that give her observation about the city or something going on with her children (who are attending an Italian school as a nod to their patriarchal heritage), Milo her mother-in-law’s impressively overweight chihuahua, and her visits to local museums, markets, and sites.

Her stay in Paris was reconstructed from her Facebook and twitter updates, which made it read quite differently from a traditional memoir, but it actually makes for the perfect summer read.

There’s nothing more annoying than getting involved in a deep plot point and having to stop to help Junior on the swings, or make lunch, or attend to any of the other realities of daily life. We often try to sneak in reading while our kids are playing or while we’re traveling, but it’s hard to have time when we can completely focus. That made this book perfect. Because the pages were broken into little slices of life, it was easy to put the book down at any point (but it was also interesting enough that I wanted to pick it back up again).

Eloisa James writes in a straightforward wry observant sort of way that I enjoyed immensely:

We started out this year the way any modern American family would: with multiple cellphones. But I inadvertently left mine on a table in London months ago, and I haven’t replaced it. Life without a phone is riskier, lonelier, more vivid. My family doesn’t understand. “What if I have to talk to you?” Anna wails. “We already paid for the contract,” Alessandro scolds. I remain obstinately disconnected.

Check out Eloisa James’ Paris in Love page for excerpts, audioclips, videos and more. I also wrote a related post, Reading Under Stress, at 5 Minutes for Books about why this type of book was so perfect for this time in my life. I’d love to hear your response to being stressed out or the way it affects your reading.

Would you like to escape? At least within the pages? Leave a comment here if you’d like to win a copy of Paris in Love. We’ll randomly select a winner and announce it in our regular book review giveaway column Monday June 18. Another adventurous and inspiring read is still open for another week: Up! A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure.



  1. Laurie Weil says

    When stressed – I try to do things in small chunks. The fun of being a special ed teacher is practicing what I preach. So I read in bits rather than eat the book. Gives me a quick burst of energy. Love reading Eloisa James.

  2. kathie says

    Oo La La, what I would not give to be in Paris right now!

    I would love to win a copy of this book. Thank you…K

  3. Susan says

    This book sound like something I’ve always wanted to do ~ just pick up and take my kids on an adventure!

  4. Jerriann Graff says

    I would love a copy of this. I usually don’t have five minutes to myself but when I do I like to sit outside and just relax and listen to the wildlife.

  5. says

    I would love to win Eloisa’s memoir of Paris In Love to take along on our cross country trip this summer. While reading in a car often makes me sick, I’ve recently discovered that I can read for short periods of time and not have problems :) this would be the perfect boredom buster while we make our way from Ohio to Rapid City, South Dakota!

  6. Michelle Harlan says

    I’ve heard great things about this book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy! My favorite 5 minute break is reading!

  7. Ivy says

    This book has been on my list..
    Your description of how it’s written sounds interesting. I remember reading the 1st Meg Cabot told completely in emails, loved it.
    Thanks for the chance.

  8. Betty Hamilton says

    This sounds like a great read. I read Eloisa’s comments of FB while she was in Paris and would just love to read the book. I have had it on my “to Buy” list for a while. How great it would be to win a copy!!

  9. Lory Lee says

    It’s raining in our place, it would be nice to be wrapped in blanket, curl up beside the window, sipping hot chocolate while reading this book. I want this so much! 😀

  10. LInda says

    A book from one of my all time favorite authors. Who wouldn’t want to win a copy of this book! She’s a delight to read. I’m new to this website and it’s really neat.

  11. Julie Cronin says

    I wanted to got to Paris for my 25Th birthday; but life got in the way and I didn’t go. I loved everything ; I read from Eloisa James; she has so many LOL moments;
    that you can almost see yourself there.

  12. Sharda Ramnarace says

    When stressed, I close my eyes and let my imagination take me away…for 5 minutes atleast, I can be in the Caribbean, India or even Paris 😉

  13. Mandi Goforth says

    I remember some of EJ’s posts and remember thinking, “Wow! How elegant and prosy!” If any of those are included in the book, I can understand why the book is so fantastic. :)

  14. Alisa says

    I have been wanting this book since it came out. But on a tight budget right now, so I am not able to buy any new books.

  15. Donna Martin says

    I find reading to be a mini vacation. If I only have 5 minutes, I will pick up a Country or Country Extra magazine. The beautiful photo will take you away and most of the stories are written by the readers and are only 1 page long.

  16. May says

    I love to escape! :) That’s why I love my vacations. :) Paris in love is an amazing book… I read it from the library and really enjoyed it….

  17. Cheryl A says

    When stressed I like to read books that do not require alot of thought, I need distraction. I sometimes grab a kids book just to give myself a break and a chuckle

  18. Sherry H says

    Ive heard so much about it! I def would like to curl up in bed during a light summer shower and read it!! :)

  19. Constance S. Caldwell says

    My copy of “Paris In Love” is stained with tea! Read it when recovering from
    hand surgery. It is a wonderful escape! At the end of the book you can
    imagine further with reading about great places to visit and tour! My children are military adults now, yet this book brought back memories with them. (They are the ones who are all over the globe at present and Mom is just imagining traveling!) The book is so descriptive and funny too–a great travel escape! CSC

  20. gert kirkland says

    would love to sit back in my easy chair and read another great book by eloisa james. thanks for the give a way. gert

  21. says

    I so love Eloisa James books. If you haven’t read her, she is a must!!! She always makes me laugh and cry and just feel her characters. Can’t wait to read Paris in Love!

  22. Marilu Pigliapoco says

    I’m an assistant principal at a comprehensive high school near LA. It sounds that “Paris in Love” is just what I need to wind down this summer. I would love a copy :))

  23. Charlotte M. Liebel / says

    What a TREAT! Just followed my email to visit PARIS IN LOVE by Eloisa James @Amazon Kindle site and decided I couldn’t afford it. Then saw Eloisa’s blurb on my Facebook page and jumped over here!

    Hope I win and THANKS for this opportunity!

    ~Charlotte M Liebel / @Sharliebel

  24. Elizabeth Giammona says

    I wonder how many lots of 5 minutes would I need to finish “Paris in love”? I would love to win and find out. Thanks xx

  25. Katie says

    Eloisa James’ books are a perfect escape! I am looking forward to reading Paris in Love because I desperately need an escape!!

  26. ellen levickis says

    this sounds like the kind of reading that is best for me – knowing I could read one chapter at a time and set it down and return days later; i have a real hard time setting a book down once I start reading and can read all day and evening and through the night just to finish it and so be very tired the next day,

  27. melissa n says

    I’d love to read this -I’m obsessed with jetting off with the hubs/baby and just lounging in Europe, lol

  28. Oksana says

    I adore to win a copy of Paris in Love. Since I were in the city of my dream I fell in love :-) I love all things connected with Paris!!!

    Thank you for the chance!


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