Goodbye, Paris

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

This novel took me by surprise. The first time I saw it, I passed it by, because the cover suggested a light romance, and that’s not a genre that appeals to me.  It’s been compared to Jojo Moyes and Eleanor Oliphant; I read neither. Later I saw an online recommendation for this book and changed my mind, and I am so glad I did. Big thanks go to Net Galley and Touchstone for the review copy. This book is for sale now. 

You see, when we begin we recognize that Grace is deluded about David. Oh, how many of us have either been that woman or had her as a friend? Grace and David have been together for eight years, except when he needs to be present at home, for the sake of his children. Grace tells us that David is a devoted father, a dedicated dad who’s promised that he will do a finer job than his own father did, and so even though there’s nothing left between him and his wife, he cannot divorce her until the kids are grown. No, really. And then of course there’s some concern about her mental stability. What if he files, and then she does something awful? 

So Grace totally understands why she must be alone every Christmas:  David is with his kids. Grace spends all the most important occasions of the year by herself, making stringed instruments in her workshop; and David is with his family in Paris. He wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true, and she doesn’t ask too many questions, because he is terribly sensitive. 

It’s all about trust. 

She assists in staying out of the public eye, and she is ever so discreet, but then a random event puts David’s face in the news, a hero that pulls a woman off the Metro tracks just before the train comes. Who is this mysterious man, they ask. And then it all hits the fan. And as we knew—we tried to tell Grace, but she wouldn’t listen—David isn’t a stand up guy. He isn’t even that good as a parent. David is just a philanderer, and Grace has spent eight years of her life planning a future with this asshole, not because she is stupid, but because she is a decent person that expects others to be as upright as she is. 

I have never assaulted another human being in my life. I am getting old. But let me tell you, if David had been flesh and had been standing before me, who’s to say he wouldn’t be the exception? I fumed as I prepared dinner, did the dishes, let the dog out.  That rotten scoundrel, treating poor sweet Grace this way. Oh, how crushing for her. It isn’t fair; it really isn’t. 

Every reader sees it coming, but what surprises me is that David is outed so early in the book. And here’s the glorious thing: this story appears to be a romance, but it isn’t. It isn’t about Grace and David, and no new knight arrives toward the climax to sweep her away. No, the story is about Grace, and it’s about the ways that friends—true friends—help us pull ourselves together when everything seems to be coming apart. And the metaphors are resonant ones:

“I have to take into account that this violin didn’t really work very well, didn’t have much of a voice. If I take these ribs off completely and remake a whole new set, it will give the instrument a better chance to sing.”

Grace rebuilds her career as she rebuilds herself, scaffolded by the warmth and emotional nourishment of the friends that love her, and one of them tells her, “You have to grasp life by the balls, Grace…and don’t bloody let go until you have to.”

Ultimately, this is a charming story you won’t want to miss. Highly recommended.
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Review: Goodbye, Paris by Anstey Harris
I didn't like this book much at all. Unfortunately, I was right at the 50% mark when I realized how much I disliked this book - and I'd been reading for an hour or so in the airport, and that's really some of the only quality reading time I get, and I didn't want to waste it by completely abandoning the book. So I kept reading, hoping maybe something would happen to improve my feelings about the story, but, no, that didn't happen.

In this book, we have Grace, a former musician, currently an instrument maker, who is in a long term relationship with a married man in France. She lives near a Eurostar station in the UK, and visits him in Paris often - though he lives with his family in Strasbourg. One night, when they go out, something happens which attracts media attention - and David is upset because he's afraid his children will find out he's in this relationship. Then the wife is upset because everyone now knows her husband has a mistress, even though she's always known and was okay with the arrangement. The huge social media response and the extreme attempt to hide this seems a bit much, and was one of the issues I had with this story. 

Eventually, Grace learns something horrible about David and has a breakdown, and her two friends, a man in his 80s and a teenage girl help her come to terms with what happened. I realize this is supposed to be a story about her finding herself and learning to move on without this man in her life, while also coping with some horrible things in her past, but it didn't feel that way to me. She didn't have much choice. She was, for the most part, dumped. She had to face the reality that the life she thought she had wasn't ever going to happen. I didn't find the story especially empowering, but rather very sad.

I think what really set me off is that this story included items that I consider to be pet peeves of mine, and I know it's something that doesn't bother other people, so maybe take my intense dislike with a grain of salt.

I'm so tired of books in which the main story line is a seemingly intelligent woman deeply involved in a very, very bad relationship with a horrible man. (In this book, we spend about half the book being told he's a really great guy, everyone likes him, he's supportive of her interest and career, attentive and caring, and then all of a sudden we learn he's the worst.) But even more than that, I'm tired of stories in which these same women enter into long-term relationships because of an accidental/unplanned pregnancy. This is becoming a thing, or maybe I just keep selecting the wrong books. Several books I've read in the last few months involve a woman in a bad relationship or in most cases (not in this case) a marriage all because they got pregnant - didn't like the person all that much, or know him all that well, but hey, we have no other option because BABY and that's the most important thing in a woman's life, right? - cringe. Also, in almost all of the cases, the pregnancy ends in miscarriage, but the relationship continues, everyone so very sad and hopeless because there's no baby. In one of the books, the baby died after a year or so, and the woman remained in the marriage even though the pregnancy was the result of break-up sex, and eventually walked in on her husband having sex with his secretary. I long for stories about women who take some sort of control over their lives and realize that getting pregnant doesn't automatically mean having a baby or, even if they do want the baby, realizing marriage isn't necessary.

Spoilers - lots of them, so stop reading if you don't want to know what happens in this book - in this particular book, Grace meets a man, David at a party. His wife is at the party, but leaves early. David goes back to Grace's place, he tells her he's married, and she's perfectly okay with them still having sex, despite knowing this. Then a few weeks later, she realizes she's pregnant by this man she knew only a few hours, but immediately her whole world becomes all about having a baby. She informs David, he's not thrilled about this, as he has two children and a pregnant wife. But we're told he suddenly becomes a wonderful, caring boyfriend. After Grace has a miscarriage, she becomes obsessed with getting pregnant again, and when this doesn't happen, she goes through all kinds of tests, with David right beside her holding her hand - but failing to mention he's had a vasectomy. WTF? Did I mention, he's the worst?

And since I'm providing spoilers anyway, the end of the book, in which we see Grace overcoming some of her teenage traumas, we then learn the teenage friend is pregnant. Grace suddenly knows this because the girl looks fierce and confident, or something absurd like that. (She contrasted the girl whose diary she read with the girl she saw performing earlier and this change in her disposition led Grace to realize the girl what pregnant? Okay.) So yet again, we're celebrating an unplanned pregnancy. This girl has dropped out of school, has been having sex with her friend's boyfriend, and had a bit of a coke habit, but hooray, she's going to have a baby now! We couldn't have instead had her, oh, I don't know, get noticed as being a skilled musician and get accepted into a prestigious school or offered a job with a great symphony? No, babies, always babies.

All that being said, I know a lot of people love books that focus on women having babies, women discovering their true purpose by procreating. I'm sure this book will be wonderful for people like that.

I really, really wish I'd picked a different book to read while traveling over the Thanksgiving holidays.

I received a copy of this via NetGalley.
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“Jojo Moyes meets Eleanor Oliphant “ . . . . .  

A note to all publishing houses, blurbists, whoever else lends a hand in writing things like the above hoping it will sell a lot of books/earn high ratings simple due to the namedropping . . . . be careful what you wish for, 'cause you just might get it.

I mean, I bought into it enough to request this from NetGalley, sure, but I wouldn’t hand over my hard earn dollars on a comparison like the above ever – mainly because I'm well aware that there is a snowball’s chance in Hades that there could even be something that resulted in a successful JoJo Moyes and Eleanor Oliphant mashup. Making statements like this backfires nearly 100% of the time. Stick with appealing to users via cutesie covers and titles like this one has. You'll find many of us are pretty much whores easy sales. 

This one gets a “meh” amount of stars for the simple fact that I am not a music lover and this is a lot about music. Playing music, building instruments, music music music. It also didn’t help that the leading lady was supposed to be . . . . 

“A fucking trainwreck of a forty-year-old who reads people’s diaries and shags other women’s husbands.” 

Which would normally have me asking if she wanted to be my Facebook friend at minimum, but in this case only had me feeling annoyed that there was so little keeping my interest. And this was a story that should have really kept my interest. A woman discovers everything about her longtime relationship is not what she thinks, befriends her snarly employee and an elderly patron of her store and finds herself. Sadly, after finding myself lost in all the cello speak there was no hope for me.

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!
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Thank you to Touchstone and Netgalley for the free e-copy of Goodbye, Paris.

Synopsis:
Goodybe, Paris tells the story of Grace, a previous cello player who now owns an instrument shop and builds her own instruments.  Grace is having a long distance affair with the love of her life, David.  After witnessing an accident, their lives and relationship are thrown into the spotlight and everything changes for Grace.  Will Grace be able to find personal and professional happiness?

Review:
It took me a while to get into the story for Goodbye, Paris.  I even went as far as posting an Instagram poll questioning whether I should DNF (did not finish) the title.  Once I pushed past the 50% mark, I'll admit that I really enjoyed this novel. 

Growing up, I played the violin from fourth grade through twelfth grade.  I think this helped me really enjoy the musical aspects of Goodbye, Paris.  I was nowhere near as good of a player as Grace, but I did spend summers at orchestra camp and had a much too expensive (for me) violin that I adored. It was easy for me to envision the entire musical storyline and I was surprised at how much I related to these characters.

Online, I saw that Anstey Harris' writing is compared to JoJo Moyes, and while I didn't realize it while reading, I would have to say I agree with this compliment.  I'd recommend this novel for fans of JoJo Moyes and for the classical music lovers out there.  Its ultimately a heartwarming story that transports you to another world.
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I love books about music and musicians! Add Paris to the mix, and you have a winner. I did not, however, become much of a fan of the main character Grace. Usually even if a musician is shy, she still loves to share her music, and I didn't find Grace's panic over performing realistic. I did love the descriptions of Parisian life, but over all I'd have to say that this one was a bit of a disappointment.
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Goodbye, Paris is really a love story, of friendship. Grace is a young woman madly in love with a married man. When things begin to go wrong, she must decide what she will do with her one wild and precious life. Grace's friends are the heroes in this story, as they begin to repair what has been broken. 

I didn't find Grace entirely likable as a character due to her indecision and her choices to engage in a romantic relationship with a man who knowingly was married. But the story was enchanting and engaging.
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Grace Atherton is a gifted musician who refuses to play for others. Nevertheless, she has managed to build a career in the music industry, as a luthier, one who makes or repairs string instruments. She seems content inside a small box of a life she has built, not performing her music, and not married to the man she loves. He is married to someone else. 

When Grace spends the weekend in Paris with David, her married lover, an event happens that changes their relationship entirely. The fall out of a rescue is the undoing of Grace's carefully constructed box, and all the small lies she has allowed herself to believe about her relationship. David has misrepresented himself dreadfully to Grace, and as she falls apart as she begins to realize the depth of his deceit, and her sacrifices for him.

Luckily, her saviours arrive in the form of an angst ridden teen age girl and an elderly neighbor. Both lend support when Grace most needs it, as well as a swift kick in the pants when Grace needs more than support. With their help, she rebuilds a particularly meaningful instrument, and more importantly, her life.
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When 'Paris' is in the title of a book, I immediately make an assumption about it. A good one.
Such assumptions were shattered when I began reading this book.
Grace is a woman in flux - madly in love with her married boyfriend, repairing and creating string instruments in an English village, and generally being an observer of life rather than an active participant.
Then a woman falls onto the subway tracks in Paris.
Her relationship, living precariously on a tightrope, is spectacularly thrown off balance. Her well-meaning friends - an employee and a cherished customer of her shop - nudge her to rediscover her first love of playing the cello, rather than making them. And her entering a famed instrument making contest goes from 'whatever happens, happens'  reignites a fire that had been dormant for too long.
The book slogs a bit for the first 2/3s, but quickly picks up in the remaining section. Grace (and Nadia, and Mr. Williams) are beautifully flawed and real. You never really like Grace throughout the book, but you gain a begrudging respect for her by the end of the book. 
I very much enjoyed this book - and the classical music I've been listening to ever since I finished it.
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Affairs with married men don’t end well, either in literature (cf. The End of the Affair (marred woman in that case), We Don't Live Here Anymore) or in real life (e.g., Katherine Hepburn, Marla Maples, Sienna Miller, that woman who GOP fundraiser Elliott B. Broidy impregnated). Goodbye, Paris is no exception. Grace Atherton has been dating David Hewitt for eight years, grabbing time in Paris, where David lives, when they can. Of course, David has a wife and children in Salzburg, but Grace believes that eventually David will marry and make a family with her. (How many mistresses nurse that particular fantasy?) But, due to unforeseen circumstances, their affair comes to light, and you can guess whom David chooses once he’s forced to do so.

And that’s when Goodbye, Paris really begins. To tell any more is to ruin this lovely novel in which — again, as in real life — it is one’s friends who make all the difference. Highly recommended.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley and Touchstone in exchange for an honest review.
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Loved this book! I’ve seen so many comparisons to Eleanor Oliphant but I personally didn’t see any resemblance. I loved the characters and the empowering ending.
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Grace Atherton is a complicated woman who leads a seemingly quiet life. She’s a builder and restorer of stringed instruments, a former cellist who can no longer play in public. By all appearances she leads a quiet life, tending her shop and living alone in a small English village. But she’s been involved in a long-term affair with the married David for many years, for which she’s put on hold her dreams of marriage and children.
When David saves the life of a woman who has fallen on the tracks in the Paris Metro, he and Grace slip away before they can draw attention to themselves. But the surveillance camera footage of his heroism becomes an internet sensation, and eventually leads to the unraveling of their affair.
As the relationship dissolves, Grace loses herself. Distraught, she nearly ruins her chances to win the world’s premier violin-making competition. Her teenage shop assistant and an eccentric elderly patron, both accomplished musicians in their own right, come to her aid. This unlikely band of comrades comes together to help Grace pick up the pieces and move on.
Goodbye, Paris is a melancholy tale but ultimately ends on a sweetly positive note. Its bittersweet edge runs through the novel, but the characters are ones you won’t want to let go of.
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What a sweet story! I LOVED this book to bits! The writing was fantastic and the characters were such a treat to get to know.
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Comparisons to other books in book descriptions is a pet peeve of mine because most of the time I just don’t see them. I’ve read and enjoyed several books by Jojo Moyes but I guess not the ones that this is compared too.  I did read and love [book:Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine|31434883] and the comparison is thin at best. So if you are going into this looking for those stories, you may not find them. I didn’t, but having said that, I found a sweet story in its own right and I wish publishers would promote a book on its own merits. 

It was sad from the beginning - the status to which Grace Atherton elevates her boyfriend, David, her married boyfriend with a wife and children had me feeling sorry for her as she was just so gullible. I had such mixed feelings about Grace Atherton, about the story at first. I definitely didn’t get why Grace hung in there with this guy for 8 years, believing that he’d leave his wife when the kids were grown.  The story moves back and forth between the present and when they first met and recounts the times that they meet in Paris, when of course it’s convenient for David. Grace is a luthier, making and repairing string instruments, a career she embarks on since she has been unable to play her cello after being thrown out of music school, when she believed she had a promising career as a musician. Eventually we discover some of the trauma that she experienced, but it isn’t until the end that Grace discovers that it wasn’t because of her lack of talent. 

At some point, I became more engaged in the story with the introduction and connection to two other characters. Nadia is a teenage girl working in Grace’s shop, a talented musician who is experiencing some typical teenage drama as well as the hurt  over her parents marital problems and their lack of concern for her. Mr. Williams, an aging customer for whom she refurbishes an old violin made by a friend is lonely and has his own relationship stories to tell . I loved the kind and wise Mr. Williams. This unlikely trio of friends, three sad, lonely people help each other to heal, to overcome their grief and to find themselves. A little predictable, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. 


I received an advanced copy of this book from Touchstone through NetGalley.
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Goodbye, Paris is... dare I say it?

A perfectly written book*.

The story dips between past and present like the natural tides of a book should. During moments of profound loss the author uses beautiful and raw words to slide a knife into the reader and turn, just so. She takes us from utter happiness to complete loss, and there and back again, as the book goes on. It felt like everything that happened to Grace was happening to me and I read this book in two sittings in about a nine hour time span. I haven’t stayed up late to finish a book in a long time and this one has already been added to my favorites list.

*There were a few things at the end about Nadia that I wasn't crazy about, but not enough to dock any stars.
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It had me at the first sentence, only solidified my interest after chapter one’s final sentence. My jaw dropped several times and before I knew it, it was over. Goodbye, Paris, and I wanted more. I laughed, I cried, I loved this book and it’s a great end of summer read.
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This gem of a book was an exceptional read, as it had a great plot and well developed characters.  I was rooting for Grace as crisis after crisis occurs in her life.  It takes a gifted author to get the reader to root for a married man's mistress, but I found myself wishing Grace would get some happiness.  Definitely recommend!
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I found the beginning of this book fairly exciting. We meet Grace and her boyfriend David and there's hints of a not quite perfect relationship between the two. When David makes a heroic rescue in the subway station, things really take a turn for the relationship because what David values most is privacy and being a hero isn't very private. Question is, what does he have going on that makes him want to stay in the shadows? I got a sense from the beginning that Grace was a weak character and she continued to prove that point by basing her whole life around the whims and wants of David. It got very old very quickly for me. I found her to be annoying and I had a hard time rooting for her. The issues and solution were obvious and I just didn't feel her struggles. Her new friends  were welcome additions to the story but not enough to make me pull for her. I also didn't enjoy the musical aspect of the storyline
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After going through mine own recent heartbreak, Goodbye, Paris was the perfect medicine. It made me remember that I will be happy again one day! Just because life didn't work out exactly like I thought, doesn't mean that is a bad thing. I also enjoyed the unique perspective of the woman being aware that the man is cheating.
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Goodbye, Paris is a heartbreakingly, beautiful tale about relationships, the resilience of love, and the acceptance of loss all set to the backdrop of romantic cities and the arts.

Grace, a former musician with a traumatic musical schooling experience, enjoys a quiet life repairing instruments in a small English town.  After a chance meeting a man named David, Grace and David are mad for each other and enjoy a long-distance relationship. One casual day while waiting for the Paris Metro, David performs a heroic act that catapults him to social media hero status which then turns the spotlight on his life.  This turn of events showcased to Grace that things are other than what they seem. Leaning on unlikely acquaintances who become close friends, Grace attempts to unravel the truth while also attempting to live her life the best she can.

I enjoyed reading Goodbye, Paris.  It was very well-written with well-developed characters.  It wasn’t a typical love story but instead lent itself more to love, joy and happiness being partaken in many different forms.  I’d really like to see what Grace does next; crossing my fingers that there will be a book two.

I received an advanced review copy (ARC) of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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3.5 stars. I truly enjoyed the last third of the book. The setting description was wonderful - it made me want to visit Italy and eat all the food!
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