Diaries Magazine

Book Review - Paris Kiss by Maggie Ritchie

Posted on the 05 February 2015 by Ellenarnison @Ellen27
Book review - Paris Kiss by Maggie Ritchie
There's ever such a slight downward plunge in the spirits when I learn that a friend has got a publishing deal. 

Mostly it's nothing more than garden variety envy. Green-eyed jealousy that they've done it and I haven't got my act together/the talent. Ho hum. 

There's also that extra weight to the sinking that comes from the fact that when your pal - or even your Facebook chum - has a book out, they're going to want you to read it. And you might hate it... Then what? 

However, I'm delighted to say that my mood is anything but gloomy after finishing my friend Maggie Ritchie's debut novel Paris Kiss. It's a cracker. 

Paris Kiss tells the story of young English sculptor Jessie Lipscomb and her friendship with Camille Claudel. The pair strike up an intense friendship in Bohemian Paris in the 1880s while they are students of Auguste Rodin. 

But the book opens in 1929 when Jessie tracks down Camille to an insane asylum where she has been an inmate for decades. Maggie weaves the story of the women's lives, loves and the scandals that took them down two very different paths. 

Don't be fooled by the romantic title and the prim-looking woman on the cover, there's nothing mushy and soft-filter about this love story. Paris Kiss explores gender roles, women in art, mental illness, passion and duty. 

It's based on the real lives of Jessie and Camille and Camille's lover Rodin, but there's nothing dull and historical about Paris Kiss. I was immediately drawn into their world and fell a little bit in love with Camille too. Paris Kiss is a complex book that explores many issues but never lets itself be distracted from the business of story-telling. 

The only sinking sensation came with the end of the book and saying farewell to the young sculptors. 

Paris Kiss is published on February 26, although there's a special Valentine's book signing in Waterstones at Braehead on Valentine's Day. 

As for envy. Not this time, Maggie and Paris Kiss deserve a huge success. 

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