Diana Biller's The Brightest Star in Paris is a thrilling story of first loves and second chances.
She never expected her first love to return, but is he here to stay?
Amelie St. James is a fraud. After the Siege of Paris, she became “St. Amie,” the sweet, virtuous prima ballerina the Paris Opera Ballet needed to restore its scandalous reputation, all to protect the safe life she has struggled to build for her and her sister. But when her first love reappears looking as devastatingly handsome as ever, and the ghosts of her past quite literally come back to haunt her, her hard-fought safety is thrown into chaos.
Dr. Benedict Moore has never forgotten the girl who helped him embrace life after he almost lost his. Now, years later, he’s back in Paris. His goals are to recruit promising new scientists, and maybe to see Amelie again. When he discovers she’s in trouble, he’s desperate to help her—and hold her in his arms.
When she finally agrees to let him help, they disguise their time together with a fake courtship. Soon, with the help of an ill-advised but steamy kiss, old feelings reignite. Except, their lives are an ocean apart. Will they be able to make it out with their hearts intact?
"I foresee years of excellent storytelling from Diana Biller; the certainty of that excites me." - Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
Available on NetGalley
This book was amazing! The characters throughout the book changed a little and I love to see how the grow and learn. The connection between the two characters was really great. I recommend this book 9/10. I love how Amelie and Benedict had a second chance to get to know each other better and soon fall in love again. The scenery was explained well and I love how the author put in the details I could imagine what everything look like. Overall 9/10 it was a little longer than expected
From the first paragraph, I knew this book would be a good one. I immersed myself into the book from the first chapter and I cannot say enough good things about this book! Honestly amazing! The writing is incredible and the plot is just one to die for. I am absolutely obsessed with this book. My favorite part would have to be the character development throughout the book. Character development is something I look forward to and this book did not disappoint.
Paris, ballet, historical romance, second-chance love, and mix in some ghosts...I was hooked. The Brightest Star in Paris follows Amelie, prima ballerina of the Paris Opera House and her lost love, Benedict. The descriptions of the Paris setting was absolutely well done by the author. The plot was very interesting and added a different appeal to this historical fiction. The relationship and character development between both Amelie and Benedict was well done, especially with their trauma from the war. I did find it was more historical fiction than romance. The Brightest Star in Paris is a wonderful, emotional, historical fiction with some paranormal aspects. Perfect for fans of historical romance and fiction. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the advance copy to review in exchange for my honest opinion,
An eminently readable, moving, and unique novel. I thoroughly enjoyed The Widow of Rose House, Biller's first novel, which was genre-bending but still a romance novel. The Brightest Star in Paris is a continuation of the world built in her first novel, set in 1878 a few years after the events of Widow (with flashbacks in time), but also shifts the series in a new direction. The Brightest Star in Paris goes deeper in exploring the historical political and social upheaval in Paris post-Siege of Paris and its impact on the MCs. It also goes deeper in exploring the supernatural elements that were also present in the first book. I don't read a lot of "historical fiction" but this was definitely a new-to-me historical setting and Biller's attention to how the larger political events impacted citizens of lower economic classes was refreshing and seemed well researched. The historical details created meaningful context to the story and emotional world-building well. This is definitely Amelie's story. Her love interest Benedict Moore is the brother of the male MC from Widow, and we are treated to more appearances by the Moore's, who are delightfully loving and quirky. Benedict is exactly what Amelie needs, but the focus on Amelie's emotional journey, her grief, and the trauma that has shaped her is the driving force of the story, not the romance between Amelie and Benedict. I'm spending a lot of time talking about these genre elements because I would make a case that this book is not going to satisfy die-hard romance readers in the same way Widow did, however it's cathartic and emotionally satisfying in different ways. I believe readers will enjoy this book if they come in without genre expectations: historical or women's fiction readers may be surprised at the supernatural elements, for example. I'm approaching this book as a critical reader, not a "book critic" - this book made me FEEL. Amelie's struggle to allow herself to be happy deeply resonated with me. While the story obviously takes place in a very different world, somehow I felt the themes echoed present day issues such as living through COVID and the scrabbling for security in an uncertain world for people not born into wealth. I highly recommend this book. I assume we'll be exploring the stories of other Moore siblings in future books and I look forward to seeing how Diana Biller expands this world. (I'd encourage readers to view the CW on Diana Biller's site, especially if they are sensitive to topics around loss of family.)
I love Paris themed books studying French in school as well as my love for all things Parisian. I especially found a new live in visiting books with a Paris theme since watching Emily in Paris. This was a beautiful live story full of mystery and intrigue and I would def recommend it to hold over readers until Emily in Paris season 2 returns!
This is one of the best romances I have read in a very long time, Ben is the ideal man. I love historical fiction about the French Revolution, and this book did an incredible job of not romanticizing how awful that period in history was for most of the people living through it. There was a ton of little fun references in the story, and it was interesting how Biller integrated the events of the revolution into the book. Benedict and Amelia's exes-to-fake-lovers-to-actual-lovers arc is absolutely gorgeous. I love their relationship with my whole heart, and he is just so perfect for her. Anyone who loves historical fiction romances should read this series, there honestly isn't a single thing I disliked about the book.
3.5/5 I really enjoyed this novel! It has a lot of parents, family, dancing, pressure from society, ghosts, etc. and it works. At times I was a bit confused by parts, but I still enjoyed it. (Did not realize this is technically the second in a series). I did not realize there were going to be ghosts in this and it was a fun and interesting addition to the plot. Benedict and Amelie's relationship was really cute and I would have liked to see a bit more of their relationship develop on page as it seems pretty quick (they do have a past, but still). They also sort of fake-date (fake-court) and it was so sweet. Both families were a lot of fun. *thanks to the publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review*
This book broke me in the best way. Writing this review is hard because I still cannot find the words to really express how I feel about this story. I cried multiple times which is rare for me. I just adore the way Amelie mirrors Paris itself. And the fact that she waited until she knew who she was and what she wanted and what she and her sister needed before allowing herself to be defined by who she was to someone else made me so proud and happy. The book hangover this left with me is rough. I’ve already preordered a physical copy because I need this story on my shelf.
What a wonderful story with Paris, the ballet, ghosts, and lovers reunited! I practically inhaled this hist fic marvel, so enticed was I by the relationship between Amelie, prima ballerina of the Paris Opera Ballet, and Benedict, a physician and once her first love. The author’s descriptions are both glorious and heartbreaking, with Paris still recovering from the Franco-Prussian War. Her richly drawn characters are so fully real that you feel you’ve lived beside them through the Siege of Paris with Amelie and the American Civil War with Benedict. The magical realism element involving ghosts from the past adds another compelling layer to the beautifully woven story. In sum: I loved this book and will be reading anything Diana Biller writes from now on! 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 12 Oct 2021 #TheBrightestStarInParis #NetGalley Thanks to the author, St. Martin's Press, and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine.
This book was amazing!! It truly was a magical, inspiring story, and I was glued to each page. I loved how vivacious Amelia was as a main character, She is the ultimate cheerleader and encourager, and I definitely would want her in my corner. I also thought Benedict was the perfect counterpart to Amelia; he is dark and moody, brooding and thoughtful to her cheery, engaging nature. I thought he was a character I could cheer for, though, and a character I so badly wanted something good for. I thought this story had a lot of complexity, and there were so many aspects of the story that were engaging, heartwarming, endearing, and also heartbreaking. I thought this was a great layered story, and I did not want the book to end.
A stunning historical fiction romance that is engaging and inspiring. The characters are so complex and fit perfectly together!
It’s 1878, and Amelie St. James is the prima ballerina of the Paris Opera Ballet. She is revered, under great stress to maintain the facade, and the pressure of life is about to make her crack. Because life for a ballerina at this time was only a little elevated from that of whore, and if Amelie doesn’t behave, her survival, and that of her much younger sister, will be at risk. Dr. Benedict Moore, a surgeon in the American Civil War, returns home thoroughly traumatized. When his family drags him off to Paris to recuperate, he meets Amelie. They fall in love, but he returns to the U.S. Twelve years later, he returns, and they continue their romance, but now Amelie is the one who is traumatized--from the devastation of the Prussian siege of 1870, the death of her beloved mother, starvation, and cruelty. Her hip joint is injured to the point it threatens her career and thus her survival, but she must hang on for the sake of her sister, and cannot afford to trust anyone, let alone the handsome surgeon. Ben, having lived through such darkness before, doubts he’ll want to live without her, the main point of light in his world, although he is more trusting than she, and sees things more clearly in spite of his own pain. This was such a gorgeous story, I hated for it to end. Diana Biller describes Paris of the time with such artistry, such specificity, you feel as if you are there. Both the beautiful and grotesque are exquisitely detailed. The people of the community--the poor and disadvantaged--demonstrated such grace. Amelie’s young sister, Honoré, is a delight, as is Ben’s family of fun-loving, warm, practical-minded geniuses. I was surprised at the element of magical realism in the story--the “ghosts of her past” is not a metaphor--but even those characters are distinctive and compelling. Told with great emotional depth, this novel was one of the most enjoyable I’ve read in years. Thanks to Netgalley for letting me preview it.
I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did, but Diana Biller writes with such richness that it's impossible not to be mesmerized by Amelie and Benedict. Paris comes alive with complex districts, injustices, and people struggling to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War. The secondary characters—Benedict's family, Amelie's sister, the ghosts—expand the story beyond the protagonists, exemplifying the many types of platonic and familial love. Amelie is an incredible heroine, filled with such love and empathy not only for her sister but also for the ghosts of her past. Benedict matches her in earnestness, dedicated to his friends and his medicine. Together they make a stunning, authentic pair. I do wish more time had been dedicated to exploring their first relationship, but nonetheless, I'm incredibly happy to have been able to read this book. While sometimes gritty and emotional, it is also the perfect feel-good romance. Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review has been posted to both my blog and my Goodreads.
The Brightest Star in Paris combines some of my favorite things. Paris and romance, the reason I picked the book. But also ballet and Paris Opera House and Les Mis and so much more. I expected Paris and romance. I got Paris and romance and Phantom all with a Sherlock Holmes feel and hauntings. The book is outstanding and I’m so glad I read it. I’ll definitely be reading Diana Biller’s books again. The Brightest Star in Paris is going on my keeper shelf! “I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.”
this book was so amazing definitely one of my favourite reads of this year! with a perfect mix of flashbacks and plot and romance and supernatural I was hooked and didn't put this down since I started it. definitely recommend even if you're not the biggest fan of romance. Amelie and Ben were both amazing characters to follow with complicated pasts and forbidden futures I felt everything that they were feeling and grew so attached to them both. I am so glad I got the opportunity to read this so a huge thank you to netgalley and St. Martins Press!
The Brightest Star in Paris by Diana Biller is a stunning historical fiction romance that is truly special, unique, and kept me engaged from beginning to end. I am now instantly a fan of Ms. Biller (however I did love her previous book The Widow of Rose House), this just solidified my undying following. Not only is this an excellent plot and story, but the full character cast is just stunning. I loved Amelie and Benedict! They are so wonderful, complex, intriguing, imperfect, and matched together perfectly. The heartfelt moments, the perfect balance of obstacles and the darker aspects of war, life, and history to that of the full range of emotions, the change and growth of the characters as they wade through their circumstances is spot on. And I looooooved the ending! 5/5 stars I cannot recommend this book enough! Thank you NG and St. Martin’s Press for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.