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

by Jennifer Donovan

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.

 



Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer Donovan

Jennifer Donovan has been a part of the 5 Minutes for Mom team since 2007. She writes product reviews, covers events, and manages the 5 Minutes for Books weekly column and website. She lives in Houston and blogs at Snapshot about life with her family.

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{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

1 maggie coupon bailey June 4, 2012 at 4:25 am

Sounds an interesting read while in a hammock with a nice breeze under the sun!

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2 emily June 4, 2012 at 6:23 am

I could use a great book for our upcoming trip to the beach.
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3 Hailey L. June 4, 2012 at 10:01 am

I would LOVE to escape with this book. ;-)
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4 Lori D. June 4, 2012 at 11:55 am

Sounds so good.

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5 Helen June 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Sounds like a good read. I need to find some good beach books!
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6 Denise M June 4, 2012 at 12:43 pm

i would love to, i love Paris

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7 June June 4, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Sounds like a great book.

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8 Jen E June 4, 2012 at 4:17 pm

This sounds like the perfect summer read! I’d love to win a copy!
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9 Ju P. June 4, 2012 at 5:35 pm

This book sounds like a great way to ‘escape’ to Paris, at least without a plane ride!

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10 Grace June 5, 2012 at 7:05 am

I would love to win a copy!

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11 Laurie Weil June 5, 2012 at 7:08 am

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.

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12 clau June 5, 2012 at 7:12 am

i want this book :)

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13 kathie June 5, 2012 at 7:15 am

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

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14 Terri June 5, 2012 at 7:17 am

An escape to Paris sounds good right now.

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15 Susan June 5, 2012 at 7:19 am

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

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16 Dawn June 5, 2012 at 7:22 am

I love to sit and relax with a book. :)

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17 jennifer June 5, 2012 at 7:24 am

I adore Eloisa James. This sounds like a great read.

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18 Jerriann Graff June 5, 2012 at 7:26 am

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.

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19 Barbara Hansen June 5, 2012 at 7:28 am

I have my Kindle with me all the time. If I have 5 minutes to spare…I read!!!

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20 Tara June 5, 2012 at 7:30 am

Sounds like the perfect summer reading! I love all her books!

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21 Angel June 5, 2012 at 7:31 am

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!

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22 Michelle Harlan June 5, 2012 at 7:33 am

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

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23 Ann June 5, 2012 at 7:33 am

Love Eloisas books and I’m sure a new one’ll be a pleasant journey into her world!

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24 Ivy June 5, 2012 at 7:36 am

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.

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25 Rada Miller June 5, 2012 at 7:38 am

Sounds like a great beach read!

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26 sarah June 5, 2012 at 7:42 am

sounds like a great escape… just what I need right now.

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27 Betty Hamilton June 5, 2012 at 7:44 am

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!!

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28 Rae R June 5, 2012 at 8:11 am

Love Eloisa’s books

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29 Jodi Roessler June 5, 2012 at 8:16 am

Pick me! :) I’ve been eyeing this book for a while!

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30 Lory Lee June 5, 2012 at 8:16 am

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! :D

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31 Maritza June 5, 2012 at 8:18 am

What an interesting book. Nice way to learn about Paris.

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32 Hope June 5, 2012 at 8:18 am

What a great escape! Paris and your porch swing!

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33 MJ June 5, 2012 at 8:37 am

I’d love to add this to my summer reading stack.

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34 LInda June 5, 2012 at 8:59 am

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.

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35 Julie Cronin June 5, 2012 at 9:11 am

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.

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36 Sharda Ramnarace June 5, 2012 at 9:19 am

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 ;)

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37 Lisa Baugh June 5, 2012 at 9:25 am

This is a book I can’t wait to read!

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38 Mandi Goforth June 5, 2012 at 9:30 am

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. :)

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39 Alisa June 5, 2012 at 9:40 am

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.

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40 Donna Martin June 5, 2012 at 9:41 am

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.

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41 May June 5, 2012 at 10:25 am

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….

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42 Cheryl A June 5, 2012 at 10:33 am

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

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43 Tammy Gordon June 5, 2012 at 10:34 am

looks like a good book!

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44 Sherry H June 5, 2012 at 10:42 am

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

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45 Liz June 5, 2012 at 10:57 am

I need a good book that isn’t a Marketing textbook!

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46 Constance S. Caldwell June 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm

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

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47 Shauna June 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Sounds like a good read. A nice little escape from kids and family.
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48 Laura Gillis June 5, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Eloisa James is a fantastic writer of prose- I can’t wait to read her book!

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49 gert kirkland June 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm

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

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50 Debbie Fuller June 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm

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!

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51 Jeanne Draughon June 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Love Eloisa’s take on life – looking forward to reading this book.

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52 Angela E. June 5, 2012 at 3:02 pm

This would be a nice book for me to read.

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53 Marilu Pigliapoco June 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm

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 :))

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54 Charlotte M. Liebel / June 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm

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

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55 Courtney Cruz June 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Eloisa James is one of my favorite authors. I would love to read her new book.

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56 Beth C June 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Sounds like an interesting book!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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57 Daniel M June 5, 2012 at 10:28 pm

sounds like a good one, hope to visit someday

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58 Elizabeth Giammona June 5, 2012 at 11:38 pm

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

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59 Van June 6, 2012 at 10:42 am

Bet this one will be good.

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60 Sarah June 6, 2012 at 10:59 am

I love anything that has to do with Paris…with Paris in the title I’m sold, ha ha

world_as_one(at)live(dot)com
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61 Emilee Reynolds June 6, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I would love to win a copy of this fabulous book.

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62 Merry June 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Escape and reading sound perfect for this summer, please add me!

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63 Katie June 6, 2012 at 4:58 pm

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

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64 Chuck June 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Perfect for my wife.

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65 ellen levickis June 7, 2012 at 1:24 am

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,

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66 Staci A June 7, 2012 at 10:47 am

I would love to read this!

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67 Don June 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm

My wife said sign us up for this book please.

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68 melissa n June 7, 2012 at 3:06 pm

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

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69 Idaho Jill June 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm

it does sounds like a good summer read!
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70 Linda Kish June 8, 2012 at 12:17 am

I would love to win a copy of this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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71 Pamela June 8, 2012 at 11:22 am

Perfect sounding book! Thank you for this giveaway!
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72 Daniel M June 8, 2012 at 10:58 pm

need something new to read!

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73 Donnetta June 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Sounds like the prefect read for summer!

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74 Garrett June 10, 2012 at 9:38 am

Sure to be a winner with my girlfriend.

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75 Oksana June 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm

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!

ksyshenka(at)yahoo(dot)com

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76 Sadrina Cassiopeia June 10, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Definitely interested! I needed something new to read anyways :D

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77 jennifer wexler June 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm

i would love to win, thanks for the giveaway

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78 Ruth Hill June 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Sounds like a winner. Count me in.
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79 Julie Lynn Bickham June 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Would love to win this, looks like a great read. Thanks for the chance.

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80 nannypanpan June 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm

thanks for the chance
nannypanpan@gmail.com

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81 Krista June 11, 2012 at 1:24 am

Summer reads are about my level right now! ;)
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82 Jeff June 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Another good one for my wife.

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83 Alexandra Roach June 14, 2012 at 3:31 am

Great! I need a good summer read!

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84 S Doyle June 15, 2012 at 6:19 am

Love this book

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