Before you think the title implies that you will read the literary equivalent to Casablanca, let me disabuse you of that notion. While We’ll Always Have Paris is fun and frothy, it isn’t perfection or beauty. But golly, it is cute.
Jessica Hart spins the tale of Clara and Simon, two extreme opposites who wind up attracting. She is colorful, bright, animated and open to whatever life brings her. A perpetual optimist, she smiles her way through the negative, hoping that the shape her lips form will transform into true happiness. When all else fails, she breaks into song, relying heavily on July Andrews tunes, especially those from The Sound of Music. Simon, on the other hand, is straight-laced, focusing on facts and reality. He needs things proven for him; he is not one to rely on feelings and emotions because they are unreliable.
Yet he is drawn to Clara, despite all attempts on his part to not be. What he finds quirky and plain about her becomes beautiful and intoxicating. Clara finds herself in the same position. The cold, buttoned up, facts and figures man becomes virile and passionate. The two meet when Clara stalks him at an economic speech he delivers. Her production company wants him to co-present a documentary about romance, with Simon taking the “there is no such thing as romance” perspective. The woman hired to present opposite him leaves the production, so Clara, as production assistant, fills in. They travel to Paris, a tropical island, and the wilds of Scotland, testing the theory that romance can happen anywhere. Simon says that romance comes down to economic security; Clara says it’s all about giving in to the feeling.
‘I thought you could kiss me,‘ said Simon. ‘I’m prepared to be persuaded that there’s something romantic about this situation,’ he added, looking down at his sodden shoes, ‘although I’ve got to say that I’m not convinced so far!’
His gaze came back to Clara’s doubtful face and he raised his brows. ‘No? Fair enough. I suppose it’s not that romantic, but if nothing else I thought it would take my mind off my feet.’
‘Oh, I expect I could do that,’ said Clara with an assumption of nonchalance that covered a pounding pulse and a mouth that was suddenly dry.
But even she has to question the realism of a relationship with Simon. What works in these romantic locations may not work in the cold light of a London day. And is it really love that they feel for each other, or was it just the heat of the moment?
We’ll Always Have Paris is a quick, breezy, cotton candy confection of a read. It’s sweet and charming, and if we don’t get to know the characters as well as we’d like, or if some of the plot lines are too tidily resolved, then so be it. If you want Pride & Prejudice, you read Jane Austen. If you want fun, you read We’ll Always Have Paris.
Published by Harlequin and available on Amazon.com.
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview.