When Lady Helena Montagu-Douglas-Parr survives a near fatal bout of scarlet fever after suffering through the scandal of a broken engagement, she's determined to LIVE. Moonlight Over Paris is Jennifer Robson's story of Helena's efforts to change her life, efforts that take her to the artistic world of Paris in the 1920s.
In 1924, Helena heads to Paris to spend twelve months with her Aunt Agnes. She's also enrolled in art school, dreaming of being an artist in her late 20s. She already has a role model. Agnes fell in love with a married Russian, and lived with him for ten years before they married. Agnes has money, position, and, best of all friends, some leading lives the naive Helena never would have imagined. Now, it's her turn to build a life in Paris, making friends with fellow classmates, aspiring artists. And, she makes friends with an American journalist, Sam Howard, a correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. And, Helena knows her friendships, and the deepening feelings for Sam, would be totally unsuitable in British society.
The voice of Helena's future is often her aunt, the guiding force who urges her to grab her chance at happiness. It's Agnes who encourages her to fight for her art, and to fight for the man she loves, for her happiness. "That my dear, is the mark of a modern woman." Robson's Moonlight Over Paris is a romanticized story of Paris in the 1920s, and the changes in women, from wives and mothers who seldom knew their husbands, to women who grabbed for their own happiness.
Robson's book is a leisurely-paced account of the growth of a young woman into an artist, a year in which Helena totally changes her dreams and her aspirations. It's at atmospheric depiction of Paris in the 1920s, the writers, the artists, the jazz clubs. There are appearances by Ernest and Hadley Hemingway, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Helena meets all of them, through her aunt, family friends, or Sam. She's leading a life that revolves around the salons and gatherings of Paris. Robson brings it all to life through Helena's eyes, through the atmosphere, the food, the clothes, the day-to-day descriptions of life.
So, travel back in time. Robson offers readers the chance to capture the glamour and romance of Paris, the mystery and magic of life in that city in the 1920s in Moonlight Over Paris.
Jennifer Robson's website is www.jennifer-robson.com
Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer Robson. William Morrow. 2016. ISBN 9780062389824 (paperback), 336p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book in order to participate in a book tour.