by Leesa Cross-Smith
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Pub Date 31 May 2022 | Archive Date 12 Sep 2022
Vincent, having grown up as the privileged daughter of artists, has a lovely life in many ways. At forty-four, she enjoys strolling the streets of Paris and teaching at the modern art museum; she has a vibrant group of friends; and she’s even caught the eye of a young, charismatic man named Loup. But Vincent is also in Paris to escape a painful betrayal: her husband, Cillian, has published a bestselling book divulging secrets about their marriage and his own past, hinting that when he was a teenager, he may have had a child with a young woman back in Dublin—before he moved to California and never returned.
Now estranged from her husband, Vincent has agreed to see Cillian again at their son’s wedding the following summer, but Loup introduces new complications. Soon they begin an intense affair, and somewhere between dinners made together, cigarettes smoked in the moonlight, hazy evenings in nightclubs, and long, starry walks along the Seine, Vincent feels herself loosening and blossoming.
In a journey that is both transportive and intimate, Half-Blown Rose traverses Paris, art, travel, liminal spaces, and the messy complexities of relationships and romance, with excerpts from Cillian’s novel, playlists, and journal entries woven throughout. As Cillian does all he can to win her back, Vincent must decide what she wants . . . and who she will be.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 70 members
A gorgeously crafted love letter to Paris, and a surprisingly engaging plot for me, despite the general topic not being in my usual area of interest.
I’m not much for romance-centric plots, but this was such a lovely story and so richly done beyond just the central affair that it didn’t really matter. Cross-Smith has drawn a wonderfully lovable, complex protagonist in Vincent, and that’s only enriched by the equally fascinating secondary characters who surround her.
Atmospherically this book is flawless, evocative of what we all imagine we’d like a self-exile to Paris to be like. I really loved how the author incorporated music and art into the story. And hey Leesa, if you ever see this review, can we get a playlist of every song mentioned in the novel? I can’t get over how wonderfully eclectic and perfect the choices were (Note: On the author’s website, there is a 10-song playlist to go with the book if you’re interested).
I didn’t wholly love the ending of this (it’s really though to swallow something so open-ended when we’re so invested in the character and she spends the whole novel trying to make a central choice only to, in the end, not let us know what that choice is).
Otherwise, it’s an exceptional story with wonderful characters and atmosphere, and I loved every moment of it.
WOW WOW WOW! 🌹
I have so many thoughts about this one and like … LESSA, WE NEED AN EPILOGUE OR SEQUEL ASAP! I need answers 😭❤️
the style of writing, the Parisian lifestyle, the background of french day-to-day life, the unconventional romances - it truly was *chef kiss*
part romance, part contemporary fiction, this book will truly scoop you into the world of vincent and her quest to find herself after her husband keeps a life-changing secret from her. I totally found myself re-reading pages and chapters because the use of the french language was so so beautiful.
I studied abroad and had the opportunity to tour paris and the french countryside a few years ago, and I absolutely adored how they tied in culture with the romantic and self-indulgent storyline 🇫🇷
VIVE LA FRANCE!!
I knocked off a star because there were a few chapters that were a bit repetitive and slow, and y’all know I love my stories wrapped up in a neat lil bow so that cliffhanger 🤯🌹
a big thank you to grand central publishing for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review! highly recommend the audiobook for this one 🎧
rating: 4 stars
wine pairing: beaujolais red blend
When I received the notification that HALF-BLOWN ROSE was on my NetGalley shelf, I abandoned the book I was already reading and hid myself away from my family so I could escape to Paris with Vincent, Loup, Agathe, the Laurents, Baptiste, and Mina. As with her previous novels, Leesa Cross-Smith has created a story about an engaging woman facing a big decision, and again, she's created a world where the reader falls in love with the characters on page one. I've loved her other books and have always appreciated the way the worlds she creates are filled with taste, smell, and sensation -- you're so grounded in the story. This book is sexy and sensuous, and I was so mad when it ended! More Vincent, please!
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