The Paris Winter leaves a proper chill in your soul after you finish reading it. It is the haunting story of Maud Heighton, an English painter who takes art classes in Paris, all the while struggling to get her daily meal.
Her situation doesn’t go unnoticed at the academy, especially when she starts to lose weight and ration meals. A fellow student from Russia named Tanya has sources; she takes Maud to find a job that’ll help her survive the winter.
Maud is employed as companion to the sister of wealthy, mysterious Mr. Morel. She is to teach Sylvie to draw, something she can do easily. It seems she’s finally found stability—she’s eating proper meals and sleeping in a warm room.
It was all too good to be true, however. The Morels had a sinister fate planned for her all along. They did not count on her surviving it, but she wakes with anger in her heart and a desire for revenge.
She’s been used in a scheme the Morels planned for months. When Christian Morel blames her for stealing the Countess’s tiara, she becomes a thief to society. He throws her in the river and claims she committed suicide, so she wakes up not only a thief but dead.
They could not have done more to destroy her reputation.
From childhood, Maud has learned to fight. They might have killed her in the eyes of society, but desire for revenge leaves her very much alive. With the help of her friends, she plans a comeback.
She works with the help of both Tanya and Yvette. A model from the academy, it was Yvette who noticed how thin she’d been getting. Roughened by a life on the streets, she’s courageous enough to stand by Maud to battle injustice.
Friendship is important in this novel. There’s no romance for Maud; as a main character, her strong relationships are with friends. They stand by her when she becomes the ghost of herself in pursuit of revenge.
This emphasis on friendship made the book unique. These women are there for each other in the face of horrific things. I wish more books focused on the strength one can in find a good friend.
Though Maud gets her justice, the ordeal changes her for life. She returns to England with Yvette, hard of heart and angry with life—but driven to start anew as an artist, respected and alive.
This will join my collection of Paris books as a favorite, having caught my attention from the start. Not only does it have a beautiful cover, it’s got an intense plot and strong relationships.
I recommend The Paris Winter to people who, like me, devour any book set in the City of Light. It is also great for fans of historical novels and thrillers. You will be satisfied by the ending; I am sure you’ll find a new favorite in it, as well.