Imagine this: You are the owner of a cinema that has managed to lose its charm with the public, except for a few regular patronisers who still believe in the charm of old movies. But you are not bothered despite the fact that you can count the attendees on your fingers every night. You believe in old cinematic principles where people should lose themselves in a movie without munching, eating, slurping something to knock off their attention. Except you really do not care if your cinema is filled to the brim when there’s one particular regular you are happy to see every Wednesday night. The Lady In The Red Coat.
You’ve been psyching yourself to ask her out after one movie. Or perhaps just speak to her when she casts a shy smile your way upon exiting the cinema. Amidst, incoherent speech and sweaty foreheads, you manage to achieve this somewhat unachievable feat. Your date is magical. Things are now looking up with the Lady In The Red Coat to look up to Next Wednesday.
But you can’t really have twice a lucky strike … or can you?
Upon the meeting of a famous director, your life goes viral. You are meeting with Hollywood’s finest, walking popular actresses down old cobblestone roads, talking about the enigma and charm of Paris with famous people at the Ritz, making your very realistic serialist friend envy your life, signing deals to make your cinema popular, pooling in a huge crowd in your cinema, getting your pictures taken by paparazzi, getting on the headlines of every major newspaper and the shitty tabloids, being clocked in the eye by a jealous boyfriend, re-reading letters from the lady-in-the-red-coat. Your life is perfect.
Until the Lady In The Red Coat doesn’t show up for your second date.
You are geared on by your obsession for her. You want to understand why she’s just disappeared all of a sudden. Tracking her down leads to no results. But really, isn’t it a no-no in the P.I business to track with just a first name?
Alain Bonnard’s story summed up for your delight.
I would never, ever read this book again! Here are my reasons:
First of all, I loved, loved the storyline. Small-business Cinema owner finds the love of his life, small-Business Cinema Owner is so close to becoming a household name, Small Cinema owner loses his girl, Small-cinema owner vows he’d find this mysterious girl if it’s the last thing he does! Quite basic really, the storyline. But perfectly executed like none I have ever read before. A star to the storyline..── ★
Don’t you just love commercial fiction based in Paris?.── ★★
Thirdly, oh, you would adore Alain Bonnard, the main character. His optimism is very inspiring really, though I must admit, sometimes he just needed to be realistic like best friend Rob yells at him. I have never connected with a chap-lit main character like I did with Alain since… (when was the last time I read Harlan Coben?). His voice is nothing I have ever indulged in before. Simple, relatable and very mature. Readers would be cheering him on to go get his girl. And perhaps, wondering where he gets his determination from searching for the love of his life all over Paris on a first-name basis..── ★★★
Next, the other characters made this book spot-on fabulous. Every single character delivered in their quest to help, or drive our lead off track from reaching his dream girl. From Orphée the female cat who lended an ear to our lead’s problems and gave indignant meows when he was fed up of listening to same ol’ lady in the red coat, same ol’. Madame Clement the inquisitive box office manager who was always around to lend her unwarranted advice. Soléne Avril, the star actress whose flirtatious attempts on our lead were not-so-disturbing to him more than it was to readers. Allan Wood, the old famous director who brought our lead all the luck he needed to make his cinema go big-time and lose his girl in the process. Robert, the realist serialist whose advice to our main character to get on with another chick would be both refreshing and annoying to the readers. Carl, the cameraman who wouldn’t get off Soléne’s phone to avoid sending fuck-off messages to her Texas fiancée. And all the Melanies who just weren’t the Melanie our main was in search off. A star to the main characters!.── ★★★★
Now to why I would never, ever read this book again!
I loved Nicolas Barreau’s writing. It had some sort of vintage-y effect thanks to the storyline that makes it so timeless. Ridden with flashbacks and lots of foreshadowing, the suspense in this book was just too much. Trust me, I hated reading this book with a perspiring forehead and every time wondering where exactly my hankie is (because I never carry one! Shame)! I mean, I just picked this book to be entertained, not to be entertained on the edge of my seat!! Tell me, how comfortable could that be? It’s amazing how Nicolas Barreau uses a lot of flashbacks and foreshadowing from start-to-finish to keep the reader at a constant unease throughout the story! A great literary piece, that’s what this book is! And you can hardly say this to most published chap-lits!.── ★★★★★
My rating is a massive five out of five stars!
Cheers to The Secret Paris Cinema Club published by Quercus available here.
I recommend this book to anyone who wants a piece that has been so much acclaimed by reviewers and adopted by lots of publishing houses in print because of its sheer greatness! Anyone who wants to read something so suspenseful they would never, ever want to open it again should pick this. Anyone who loves their Audrey Hepburns and so many other old stars in old monochrome movies should get this title. And anyone who’s bent on looking for the one lady or gentleman in a tutu or whatever who managed to capture their heart should pick this title!
My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.