Published April 6th, 2023 by Aria
Romance Novel, Romantic Comedy, Domestic Fiction
Welcome to my review of After Paris, the funny and uplifting story that is one of our Squadpod Spotlight books for April. And this isn’t your average romcom.
Thank you to Aria books for the gifted copy of the book.
‘A perfect holiday read, compulsively readable but also intriguing, thought-provoking and so good on female friendship’ Laura Marshall, author of Friend Request.
Three best friends. A weekend away. And a whole lot of baggage.
Alice, Nina and Jules have been best friends for twenty years. They met in Paris and return there once a year, to relive their youth, leave the troubles of home behind, and indulge in each other’s friendship and warmth. But this year, aged thirty-nine, the cracks in their relationships are starting to show…
After their weekend together in Paris, the three women never speak again. Each claims the other two ghosted them. But is there more to the story?
“Twelve hours in Paris. That’s all it took to cement their futures. They would often wonder in the years ahead: what if Jules had never come across Nina in that bathroom? What if Alice and Teddy hadn’t been there at all? Where, and who, would they be now?”
Delightful, funny and compelling, After Paris is a female-centric story that explores the ups and downs of friendship. I’d had this one on my wishlist since before the hardback release last year so I was very excited when the publisher offered the Squadpod the chance to read it to celebrate the paperback publication.
The story follows Alice, Nina and Jules, three women who have been friends for twenty years. It opens with the story of the women’s chance meeting in the Hotel de Crillon in Paris in 1999 and then jumps forward to twenty years later when they are on their way to Paris for their annual meet-up. Each woman is excited to leave behind the stresses and strains of daily life, relive their youth and catch up with one another. But they are also all hiding a secret. Something they are desperate to share but scared to tell the others. The cracks in their friendships are beginning to show, and after this weekend the women won’t speak again, each of them claiming the other two ghosted her. But what really happened that weekend? Is their friendship really irrevocably damaged or can they find a way to salvage the friendships that they’ve cherished for so long?
I adored this book. Funny, uplifting and thought-provoking, this isn’t your average romcom. It was my first time reading a book by Nicole Kennedy and I was struck by her beautiful writing, evocative imagery and complex and layered storytelling, weaving serious topics into this lighthearted read. Topics such as grief, love, motherhood, infertility, abortion, addiction and neuro-diversity are sensitively explored alongside an authentic and relatable portrayal of female friendship and its imperfections. You will recognise yourself and your own friendships somewhere in these women and their stories. Friendships change over the years, as we do, and Kenendy expertly portrays this ebb and flow as she moves between the past and present, exploring the women’s personal lives, their friendship and previous jaunts to Paris.
The story is told from each woman’s point of view, allowing us to get to know each woman and understand things from their perspective, something that is especially helpful when trying to figure out the truth of what happened during that last visit to Paris. Each woman is flawed but fascinating, someone the reader can really get behind and root for. I really enjoyed the different topics the author explored in the story and the realistic way that their lives and friendship is portrayed, particularly as some of their situations mean they have more privilege than some of us. It is a great example of how we are all human and no amount of money can prevent us from experiencing the hardships of life. I also really enjoyed their friendship and was rooting for them to find a way to repair it, especially as they’d been friends for so long.
A wonderfully escapist page-turner that will make you feel all the feelings, I highly recommend After Paris.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Nicole Kennedy grew up in Essex and studied Law at Bristol University. She has always loved to write but her efforts were waylaid by work as a corporate lawyer in London, Paris and Dubai. During Nicole’s second maternity leave she began writing poems on motherhood and family life. She completed her first novel during her third maternity leave (by then it was easier than leaving the house) and her second during the pandemic (by then she wasn’t allowed to leave the house).
Nicole lives in Kent with her husband and three sons.
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One reply on “SQUADPOD SPOTLIGHT: After Paris by Nicole Kennedy”
This sounds incredible. I love stories about female friendships and Paris setting is just the cherry on top.
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