Author: Jenn McKinlay
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication date: July 21, 2020
Format: eARC from publisher (thank you!)
Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.com | The Book Depository | Google Books
It's been seven years since Chelsea Martin embarked on her yearlong post-college European adventure. Since then, she's lost her mother to cancer and watched her sister marry twice, while Chelsea's thrown herself into work, becoming one of the most talented fundraisers for the American Cancer Coalition, and with the exception of one annoyingly competent coworker, Jason Knightley, her status as most talented fundraiser is unquestioned.
When her introverted mathematician father announces he's getting remarried, Chelsea is forced to acknowledge that her life stopped after her mother died, and that the last time she can remember being happy, in love, or enjoying her life was on her gap year. Inspired to retrace her steps--to find Colin in Ireland, Jean Claude in France, and Marcelino in Italy--Chelsea hopes that one of these three men who stole her heart so many years ago, can help her find it again.
From the start of her journey nothing goes as planned, but as Chelsea reconnects with her old self, she also finds love in the very last place she expected.
Review: PARIS IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA
Paris is Always a Good Idea is a solid, compelling story about a woman who has buried her grief so far that she’s afraid to love – or to let her family love – again.
I picked up Paris is Always a Good Idea because I love me a European trip, and I love an office romance. This one didn’t disappoint on either – it gave me the nostalgia for my own backpacking tour through Europe, but what I didn’t expect was how much of an emotional wallop it packed.
Chelsea Martin is a workaholic, a planner who is an executive at a cancer charity. She lost her mother in her 20s to cancer, and has been buried in her work ever since. So when her father tells her that he’s getting married to a woman he only just met, it hurts because Chelsea has not only never dealt with her grief, but she’s also extremely practical.
The long and short of it? Chelsea’s family wants her to try to lighten up and find the happier person she was before the loss of her mom. For Chelsea, that was her gap year backpacking trip around Europe, where she met and fell in love with three guys. So she decides to retrace that journey. Only problem? Her biggest rival at the charity, Jason Knightley, has been given her work, and her boss wants them to work together to get a major donor to deliver on a gift.
A few things really worked with Paris is Always a Good Idea. The first was the banter between Chelsea and Jason, which was witty and funny, but also thoughtful and a bit esoteric. Right away, you could see that they really did have oil-and-water personalities.
Chelsea is a planner, a workhorse, and by the book, while Jason is a dreamer, an ideas guy, who doesn’t always bother with the details. You *know* that this is both a workplace disaster, and an explosive combo that will lead to chemistry. And author Jenn McKinlay recognizes that, too, which is why she quickly takes Chelsea and Jason out of their element, out of their workplace, so that they can see more than just what’s in the office. And it works.
It also helps that Chelsea is way more hilarious, uncertain, and prone to crazy situations in Europe. This is a rom-com, so there were some zany things that happened that occasionally took me out of the story.
But for me, the thing that made this book resonate was the emotional thread of the story, which is really about a woman who has spent years in grieving and doesn’t know how to get back to the carefree person she was at 22.
There are moments in the book where it almost feels like self-help, but the words also really hit with me. I haven’t experienced a tragedy quite like Chelsea’s loss of her mom, but even in my lesser challenges and traumas, what McKinlay writes about holding on and letting go, applies. I was surprised by how much I felt for Chelsea.
The Final Word:
Overall, Paris is Always a Good Idea could have used a few more steamy scenes. – it’s very light on the sex. I would characterize it as sweet, as opposed to fan-yourself-hot – but I enjoyed it a lot. If you’ve read Happiness for Beginners, and you liked the tone of that book, you might like this one as well.
PARIS IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA is out in bookstores next week, July 21st. Will you be reading it? Do you like self-help style romances? Let me know in the comments!