Sometimes you have to lose everything to find yourself …
Love a novel set in Paris? (Who doesn’t?) This gorgeous historical is the perfect summer escape.
It’s 1948 and Grace Woods leaves her vast Australian sheep station and travels to tumultuous post-war Paris. She’s made a shocking discovery and is on a mission to find her true identity. It’s different to running a sheep station, which she’s done since her father died. It’s also different to being married to the son of a local grazier, Jack Osbourne. But then, that’s behind her too. She has arrived in the City of Lights, and finds work as a mannequin for Christian Dior, the world’s newly acclaimed emperor of fashion. A new life begins where Grace mixes with counts and princesses, authors and artists, diplomats and politicians. She befriends the future Jackie Kennedy and US Ambassadress Evangeline Bruce. Life is a glamorous ride.
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.
The Paris Model is a stunning novel of love, betrayal and family secrets for all fans of Fiona McIntosh and Natasha Lester. It’s a tale of glamour and heartbreak that takes you from the rolling plains of country Australia to the elegant salons of Paris. Post World War 2 Paris literally drips from the page – it’s clear Joel loves this city and this era, and has researched both extensively to deliver such a clear and compelling story. Grace is a wonderful protagonist and surrounded by well-drawn and often fabulous characters, and Joel’s prose is rich and descriptive.
Inspired by an astonishing true story, told to Joel by a good friend, the novel has some surprising twists and turns along the way. Joel is also the former editor of Harper’s Bazaar and the author of a biography about her grandmother and fashion in Australia, so she’s well placed to write a novel set in Paris’s world of fashion and glamour.
This is Alexandra Joel’s debut novel and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more from her in the future. The Paris Model is a great start and a highly enjoyable escape read. C’est un travail remarquable!