Format: Ebook, Audio, Paperback (3 August 2023)
Source: Copy for review
Sometimes you have to lose everything to find yourself … A stunning novel of love, betrayal and family secrets for all fans of Fiona McIntosh and Natasha Lester.
After a shocking discovery, Grace Woods leaves her vast Australian sheep station and travels to tumultuous post-war Paris in order to find her true identity.
While working as a mannequin for Christian Dior, the world’s newly acclaimed emperor of fashion, Grace mixes with counts and princesses, authors and artists, diplomats and politicians.
But when Grace falls for handsome Philippe Boyer she doesn’t know that he is leading a double life, nor that his past might inflict devastating consequences upon her. As she is drawn into Philippe’s dangerous world of international espionage, Grace discovers both the shattering truth of her origins – and that her life is in peril.
Inspired by an astonishing true story, The Paris Model is a tale of glamour, family secrets and heartbreak that takes you from the rolling plains of country Australia to the elegant salons of Paris.
My thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours for the tour invite and to the publisher for the copy to review. I read and loved another book earlier this year by Alexandra Joel, The Royal Correspondent and couldn’t resist the opportunity to review The Paris Model.
Inspired by real people and events, The Paris Model spans nearly two decades from the early 1930’s and takes the reader from an Australian sheep farm to post war Paris. This story of identity and ambition captivated me from beginning to end.
The main thrust of the story is Grace’s success as a much admired mannequin at the House of Christian Dior however the surrounding themes of family secrets, espionage and the consequences of wartime collaboration with the enemy led to a story full of drama and at times heart rending decisions. Grace was such an engaging character, albeit a stubborn one and some of her impulsive decisions frustrated me at times. Just wait and listen Grace!
With its detailed descriptions of stunning Dior designs and heritage this is undoubtedly a book for the fashion lovers with its behind the scenes look of an historic fashion house. I enjoyed the cameos of the rich and famous that appeared throughout; for example Grace’s friendship with Jacqueline Bouvier (later to become Jackie Kennedy) and the gossipy mentions of Coco Chanel. Grace’s supporting friendships were expertly crafted as was the romance element with its intrigue and heartbreak.
The short chapters made this a ‘…just one more chapter’ read and it was very hard to put down. It is very much a story with light and shade and far from being a frivolous read it has sufficient depth especially in character formation. The political turmoil facing France together with other disturbing events affecting Grace contrasted with the glamour and glitz of the Dior world and its inhabitants. I very much enjoyed this blend of fact and fiction and was especially interested by the author’s note at the end explaining the background to the book and which parts were fiction and fact. One to recommend.
Alexandra Joel is a former editor of the Australian edition of Harper’s Bazaar and of Portfolio, Australia’s first magazine for working women. She has also contributed feature articles, interviews and reviews to many national and metropolitan publications.
With an honours degree from the University of Sydney and a graduate diploma from the Australian College of Applied Psychology, she has been a practising counsellor and psychotherapist.