April Caleigh is an American who has moved to Paris to pursue painting. The daughter of a well-known painter who died some time before, April is determined to become an artist. Carefully managing her limited income, she’s living in a small room in a Paris apartment house while she attends art school. The room and the location fit her needs exactly, except for the boorish and vaguely threatening grandson of her landlord.
Victor Deschamps lives in the apartment house. Although young, he’s already a successful investor and merger-and-acquisitions expert. He’s also at something of a loss with his relationships. The woman he thought he loved left him for a short trip to Monaco that turned into a year-long absence. He’s preparing to end the relationship with a current girlfriend. And then he meets April, who brings out all of his protectiveness, which turns out to be helpful when the landlord’s grandson becomes more than vaguely threatening.
A romance seems in the offing, until Victor’s old love returns from Monaco, with a baby in tow whom she says is Victor’s.
A Friend in Paris by Jennie Goutet is the story of April and Victor. It’s a story about love, friendship, romance, art, and, of course, Paris. Most of all, it’s a story about two people who become friends, each of whom is looking for more, but both aware of the complicating factors that make a romantic relationship look impossible.
American-born Goutet specializes in contemporary romances without gratuitous sex – or what would be called a “clean romance.” She’s written one other novel set in Paris – A Noble Affair. She’s also the author of the upcoming novel A Regrettable Proposal, set in Regency England. She and her family live on a small town near Paris.
A Friend in Paris is a sweet story, filled with solid characterization (even the minor characters stand out), elements of danger and suspense that help move the action moving forward, and memorable scenes that linger in the reader’s mind.