As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle’s side. But since then, living back in the States, she has become more private, more subdued. She has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband.
Paris never really left Genevieve, and, as her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity: return to the magical city of her youth to take over her late uncle’s shop. But as she absorbs all that Parisian culture has to offer, she realizes the city also holds secrets about her family that could change her forever, and that locked doors can protect you or imprison you, depending on which side of them you stand.
Kathryn - 3 Star
I was completely fascinated by the locksmith aspect of The Paris Key- the intricacies of the mechanisms and the profession itself sunk me into the plot which was good because it took some time for me to find any link with Genevieve. The neighbourhood she was living in was alive though as were the people she was meeting on a daily basis. I loved Blackwell’s gradual integration of Genevieve into the role she was destined to play. It was very odd to me that someone who loved the locksmith profession so much spent most of her career editing textbooks instead of pursuing her passion. She obviously felt this wasn’t something she could make into a job at home but it didn’t help me to understand her.
Genevieve’s mother was so far out of my understanding that I wish she hadn’t been given such a lot of the “air time” in the novel. Her situation could perhaps have been explained with two small chapters or flashbacks for us to understand how Genevieve had come to be. I felt as if I was given loads of her story but not enough of her emotion to love her and it took away from the rest of the plot of the novel, which for me was all about Genevieve’s emergence as a her own self.
I loved so many of the neighbours in the parisien neighbourhood that I can still picture many of them. Blackwell set her scene so well that not only the people but the buildings, streets and the culture came alive for me without being bombarded with things. It naturally evolved.
I enjoyed The Paris Key but something about the mother’s story took away from my real fascination and attention to Genevieve so I was left a bit frustrated and wanted to know more about what happened next rather than her mother's past.
Thank you to NAL/Penguin Group for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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