Atmospheric, tense and mysterious is Lucy Foley’s latest, The Paris Apartment. I was so ecstatic to get my hands on this, finding myself unable to put it down. Keep reading, to find out why.
The Paris Apartment is due out in the UK on March the 3rd and is already available in the USA.
The Paris Apartment Blurb
Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben doesn’t sound thrilled when she asks if she can crash with him. But he doesn’t say no, and Jess clings to this. Plus, Paris. How can she say no? But, when she shows up, Ben isn’t there. His seemingly nice (but how does he afford this, apartment) is empty, with oddness in the air. As time goes on, Jess begins to dig into his disappearance and living situation.
And while she should find more answers, she just finds bigger questions. Soon discovering Ben’s neighbours are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past. But it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.
Everyone’s a neighbour. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.
My Thoughts on The Paris Apartment
The book is entirely set in Paris with the leading character, Jess needing a fresh start. While she has a tense relationship with her brother Ben, he offers to let her stay with him (although, begrudgingly). He texts her instructions on how to arrive, but when she gets there, he doesn’t answer the door. Eventually, as the cold settles in, Jess sneaks in and is shocked to find Ben nowhere to be found.
In time, Jess quickly realises something terrible has happened to him. Exploring his place, she discovers secrets about his life, while wondering how Ben was even able to afford this place. Unsure who to trust, turn to or begin, with everyone around her keeping secrets, she doesn’t know who to trust.
The supporting cast to Jess are well fleshed out and very unreliable. All of them are keeping secrets, with the truth only beginning to unveil itself in the last third of the book. Beginning with Ben’s friend Nick, someone he met at university, he begins to aid her. He’s nice but seemingly guarded as to why the two friends drifted. Even if Nick helped Ben get the place he’s living in; for Jess, he’s the only one seemingly open to the idea of helping her, with the rest of the building hostile towards her. This includes Sophie a perfectly dressed woman on the top floor who is married to a wine merchant and businessman Jacques Meunier. The one I found myself most curious about was Mimi, the young student who lives with her friend Camille.
Tone and Pacing
Firstly, The Paris Apartment is really well written. The tension fluctuates an appropriate amount, keeping you hooked while also choosing the perfect moment to give you relief. The short chapters really help to suck you in, often finding myself reading ‘one more chapter’ and finding myself another chunk through the book.
It was a really hard book to put down, with the mystery, whodunit of it all, ever-changing. With the ending being surprising. I’ve seen some people unsure of it, but I loved it. It made so much sense, and on a re-read, I’m going to be looking out for even more clues of what Lucy Foley was putting down for us.
Setting of The Paris Apartment
The fact this all happens (mostly) in a building of flats amazes me. The tension, the building intrigue with each chapter and the unveiling of the secrets is all well handled and made it a hard book to ignore. I really enjoyed the pacing, never finding myself becoming bored or feeling overwhelmed, the balance so perfect all the way through. Best of all, the mystery and the tension remains until the last few pages, and I found myself thinking of the book constantly between picking it up.
Paris is described beautifully, but truthfully. It isn’t always as glamorous as movies and TV makes it out, and Foley describes it as I remember it. You feel like you’re there, following Jess as she begins to make heads or tails of what happened to her brother Ben. Ben, who has also been keeping secrets.
Rating and Recommendation
I’m a huge fan of Foley’s work, having met her several years ago at a book event, and I’m so happy to have had the chance to read The Paris Apartment.
Star Rating: Five
Would I recommend this: Yes, it played on my mind way after finishing it.
Thanks to the publisher, HarperCollins UK and NetGalley for this ARC. Make sure to pick up Foley’s latest, you’ll be blown away.