About the Book:
Alain Bonnard, the owner of a small art cinema in Paris, is a dyed-in-the-wool nostalgic. In his Cinéma Paradis there are no buckets of popcorn, no XXL coca-colas, no Hollywood blockbusters. Not a good business plan if you want to survive, but Alain holds firm to his principles of quality. He wants to show films that create dreams, and he likes most of the people that come to his cinema. Particularly the enchanting, shy woman in the red coat who turns up every Wednesday in row 17. What could her story be? One evening, Alain plucks up courage and invites the unknown beauty to dinner. The most tender of love stories is just getting under way when something incredible happens: The Cinéma Paradis is going to be the location of Allan Woods’ new film Tender Memories of Paris. Solène Avril, the famous American director’s favourite actress, has known the cinema since childhood and has got it into her head that she wants the film to be shot there. Alain is totally overwhelmed when he meets her in person. Suddenly, the little cinema and its owner are the focus of public attention, and the red-plush seats are sold out every evening.
But the mystery woman Alain has just fallen in love with seems suddenly to have vanished. Is this just coincidence? In One Evening in Paris by Nicolas Barreau, Alain sets off in search of her and becomes part of a story more delightful than anything the cinema has to offer.
About the Author:
NICOLAS BARREAU was born in Paris, the son of a French father and a German mother. He studied romance languages and literature at the Sorbonne and worked in a bookshop on the Rive Gauche in Paris but is far from an inexperienced bookworm. With his other successful novels, The Ingredients of Love, The Woman of My Life and You’ll Find Me at the End of the World, he has gained an enthusiastic audience. One Evening in Paris is his second novel.
In some ways this is a very old fashioned book; rather like a black and white movie. It’s sweet and romantic but also saccharine and overplayed at points. Our Hero is Alain who spots our Heroine in his movie theatre – she of the beautiful caramel colored hair and old fashioned red coat. Her name is Mélanie. After months of smiles and small conversation Alain finally asks her out on a date and the heavens align and love blooms. But in true romantic comedy (tragedy?) fashion he does not get her last name or her phone number. Did I mention that this book takes place in current times?
After that first date she writes him a letter confirming their second date. And yet the time rolls around and she does not show. Could it have anything to do with the photograph of Alain in the newspapers with a famous movie star? So without anything but her first name and the color of her hair Alain tries to find his love. The rest of the book details his fantastical search along with the filming of a movie at his theatre.
I will admit that the book was an amusing and light read if a bit contrived. It was a little hard to believe in this day and age so you really had to suspend reality and step back in time to allow the romance of the story take over. It was a nice diversion from my regular reading.
You can purchase One Evening in Paris at Amazon.com