Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Book review of A Train from Penzance to Paris by Laura Briggs

French Village Diaries book review A Train from Penzance to Paris by Laura Briggs
A Train from. Penzance to Paris by Laura Briggs

A Train from Penzance to Paris by Laura Briggs


When Maisie accepts a celebrated author’s invitation to mentor her, she finds herself leaving Cornwall behind on train tracks bound for the glitter city of Paris. Instead of making beds and serving coffee at the Penmarrow hotel in Cornwall, she’s making notes on her manuscript while sitting in a French cafe, meeting famous writers at private dinner parties, and trying to ferret the secrets behind the author’s unfinished future novel.

It’s glamorous, it’s breathtaking … but it’s also an ocean channel away from the place that she loves, and, more importantly, the person to whom she just recently confessed her deepest feelings. Separated from Sidney by distance and circumstances, Maisie fears that their connection will be lost despite her words to him – and maybe because of those words, and the ones she didn’t allow him to say in return.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of things in her new life trying to distract her – the professional editor hired to critique her novel, the eager young literary agent who sees pie-in-the-sky potential for Maisie’s talent, but Maisie finds solace in the eclectic group of amateur writers into whose midst she finds herself by accident. Their critique and advice is fast becoming as important as the editors – maybe even more important than the published author Maisie believed held the keys to refining her skill.

But it’s missing Sidney that fills Maisie’s thoughts the most, along with her life back in Port Hewer, and she can’t stop wondering whether his feelings are the same as her own. His unspoken answer has become one of the most important pieces of her life, even as she struggles to match the pace of her new life and keep her dreams in sight. And when she unwittingly becomes privy to a seeming literary conspiracy, she must decide what to do in light of its truth – and decide what’s most important in her quest to become a professional writer.

Join Maisie in a whirlwind tour across two of the world’s greatest cities, filled with questions, dreams, and a chance for fame that she believed far beyond her grasp, as she discovers herself as a writer, and how to embrace an unexpected future on her own terms.

French Village Diaries book review A Train from Penzance to Paris by Laura Briggs
A Train from Penzance to Paris by Laura Briggs

My review

We first meet Maisie in A Little Hotel in Cornwall, book one in the series, when on a whim she leaves the US and follows the only clue she has to try and find her favourite, elusive, author, who she believes is in Cornwall. A young writer, rejected from a mentoring programme, she feels sure this author will give her the best chance to make the most of her debut novel. 

The author may prove to be difficult to track down, but Port Hewer and the quirky Penmarrow hotel she finds herself working in, soon become very special places for her. A Train from Penzance to Paris is book five in the series, and you will probably follow along better if you have read the previous books.

Maisie is the sort of person who things happen to, so it is no surprise that she is off on an adventure once more, trailing behind Alli, an author who has promised help with her novel and connections to the right people, in Paris and London. There is an innocent naivety to Maisie, but a determination to follow her dream and do anything it takes to become a successful writer. This includes leaving behind Port Hewer and Sidney, a drifter who she met on her first day at the hotel and who she has become close to. Her daily letters back to Sidney are mostly left unanswered, but he does have a special something he sends on to her, leaving her more questions than the answer she is seeking from him.

Introduced as Alli’s protégée, Maisie joins her at exclusive social events, is treated to a boutique shopping experience and meets those in the publishing world who could make or break her dream. Alli is flighty, vague and difficult to get a straight answer from, but a bit like a fairy godmother as she generously shares her life and contacts with Maisie.

Maisie learns a lot about Alli and the publishing world and how it works, but more importantly once the excitement of Paris and London dies down, she discovers things about herself and the direction she wants her writing journey to head in. 

This series is great fun. The short novels are full of energy, adventures and quirky characters who you never quite seem to get to the bottom of.

French Village Diaries book review A Train from Penzance to Paris by Laura Briggs
Autor Laura Briggs

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