The Paris Sister by Adrienne Chinn
Three sisters separated by distance but bound by love
The Fry sisters enter the Roaring Twenties forever changed by their experiences during the Great War. Now, as each of their lives unfold in different corners of the globe, they come to realise that the most important bond is that of family.
Desperate to save the man she loves, Etta leaves behind the life she has made for herself in Capri and enters the decadent world of Parisian society with all its secrets and scandals.
Celie’s new life on the Canadian prairies brings mixed blessings – a daughter to adore, but a husband who isn’t the man who holds her heart.
In Egypt, Jessie’s world is forever changed by a devastating loss.
And back in London – where each of their adventures began – their mother Christina watches as the pieces of her carefully orchestrated existence begin to shatter…with implications for them all…
This is the second book in a series of four and as I’d not read book one, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I quickly became drawn into the lives of this family and starting partway through the series didn’t spoil my enjoyment.
This book follows three sisters, Celie, Etta and Jessie and their formidable mother, Christina, as they learn to navigate their place in a changing post-war world, following the loss of their father. They may be living different lives, in exotic locations like Canada, Capri and Cairo, having left London to follow their hearts, but they seem to share a curse in their pursuit of happiness, and history has a habit of repeating itself.
Etta is dragged into a life of lies and scandals, all in the name of love, and is desperate for an escape. When fate leads her to Paris and the golden era of the 1920’s, she believes she has found what she is searching for. Much as I loved bumping into the Fitzgerald’s and had no trouble conjuring up the roaring 20’s with cameos by Earnest Hemmingway, Josephine Baker and many more, along with the fun and fizz, I felt Etta’s tragedy and heartbreak too.
Celie is more down to earth than Etta, but coincidences and chance meetings mean forgetting the life she left behind when she settled in Canada, is more difficult than she imagined. It was her resilience that I admired the most and she was by far my favourite of the four women.
Jessie doesn’t have the relationship struggles that her sisters must cope with but living as the British wife of an Egyptian doctor, in a Cairo desperate for independence and with a difficult mother-in-law, life isn’t easy for her either.
I enjoyed getting to know these independent and stubborn women and discovering their strengths, ambitions, and weaknesses as I was entertained by their very different lives. Whilst women might have proved their worth during the war years, men were now doing their best to regain control. These women were adamant their voices would be heard.
This book offered a lot more than just the intriguing family dramas as I had my eyes opened to bits of history I wasn’t aware of, from Egyptian independence struggles to the post war settlers in Canada and the harsh lives that awaited them. It’s ending felt more like an interval pause than a conclusion, but that has left me ready to jump back into the drama I am sure will be waiting in book three.
If you enjoy historical family sagas and especially the 1920’s, a decade that promised so much, I am sure you will be as drawn in as I was by The Paris Sister.
Adrienne Chinn was born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, grew up in Quebec, and eventually made her way to London, England after a career as a journalist. In England she worked as a TV and film researcher before embarking on a career as an interior designer, lecturer, and writer. Her debut novel, The Lost Letter, a timeslip love story set in Morocco, was published by Avon Books UK in 2019. Her second novel, The English Wife -- a timeslip story set in World War II England and contemporary Newfoundland -- was published in June 2020 and has become an international bestseller. Her third novel, Love in a Time of War, the first in a series of four books in The Three Fry Sisters series, was published in February 2022. The second book in the series, The Paris Sister, will be published in February 2023.
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