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The Paris Winter

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  3,842 ratings  ·  607 reviews
Imogen Robertson's break-out novel—a deep, dark and opulent tale of Belle Époque Paris, and the secrets and dangers hidden beneath its luxurious facade. Maud Heighton came to Lafond's famous Academie to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris eats money. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling joys of ...more
Hardcover, 409 pages
Published November 18th 2014 by St. Martin's Press (first published April 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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Manda Scott
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A long time, ago, when I was a baby crime writer trying to find a publisher for my first book (‘darling, we love the plot, but we just can’t publish lesbian characters. Can’t you change them?), my agent brought me in due course of time to The Women’s Press who said, ‘Darling, we love the characters, but the plot… we don’t publish thrillers, we only publish mysteries. Yours is too thrilling. Can you make it into a mystery?’
Thus began a search for the distincti
Paris in 1909 was at its height of the Belle Époque - a period during which the city experienced a surge of hopefulness, peace and economic growth; a time when the arts rapidly developed in new and exciting ways. Europeans flooded the city to take in the aura of affluence, wonder and exotic entertainment. There was also, by contrast, the existence of a large lower socio-economic class particular to Paris, who lived in its densely poverty-stricken slums, and who would never glimpse the gilde
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now this is a book that can pull you right into the heart of Paris, in the winter of 1909, at the height of La Belle Époque. And it’s a book with a rich, dramatic story to tell.

Maud Heighton came to Paris to study art, to paint. She loved the world she found, but she was struggling. She had little money, she was always cold, she was always hungry. Maud didn’t know what to do, but she did know that she wasn’t going to go home to her disapproving family.

The Paris WinterFortunately an angel was on
Diane S ☔
Oct 26, 2014 rated it liked it
This book started very slowly, but I love reading books set in Paris and especially during the Belle Époque time period, so that was enough for me to keep reading. I actually ended up liking all the history, the flooding of Paris in 1910 and one of the only art studios where woman had a chance to learn to paint. Although the studio in the book had a different name, it was based on a real such studio. Also enjoyed the descriptions of the paintings that fronted each chapter and the origin of these ...more
Una Tiers
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it
This historical fiction had a slow start, picked up and then plunged into a labor to read. While I enjoyed the plot, it seemed to stop half way through.
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is the third novel I've read by Imogen Robertson, the other two were the first and second in her Crowther and Westerman series. I did attempt to read the third book in that series but gave up at over a hundred pages into it. I liked the very first book in that series and I thought this book might be as enjoyable as it was.

I did make it all the way to the end of 'The Paris Winter' but it felt like an accomplishment rather than a pleasure, often the details seemed tedious. As with the third C
Kate Quinn
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Superbly atmospheric novel of bohemian Paris, and a top-flight mystery as well. The heroine, a fierce young art student, is sensitive and appealing, and her little band of friends (a Russian heiress, a cynical French model) have stories of their own and aren't just shuttled onto the stage as side-kicks. The ending is unexpected and very satisfying. ...more
Melania 🍒

Don't let the three star rating fool you, I really enjoyed reading this. I went blind into The Paris Winter, only knowing it's a historical fiction and I must say I was rather surprised by it. It is a blend of historical fiction and mystery/thriller, gloomy and with a lot of art mentions through. I was never sure what will happen next, which meant that sometimes I had the feeling the author wasn't always sure either, but it also kept my attention and I was there for the ride.
The story is foll
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Quite an interesting historical novel, which takes place in the artistic Paris at the time of the 1910 flood. An interesting plot, good characters, not too perfect, (Maud often got on my nerves), with interesting developments. I liked the way each chapter started with the description of a painting and the artistic milieu depicted by Imogen Robertson.
Very well read, too.
I will be looking for more novels by Ms Robertson
Liza Perrat
This historical mystery is set in the glitzy Belle Epoque of Paris; a period when the arts flourished and many masterpieces gained recognition. Young Maud Heighton flees her small English town to take art lessons at the esteemed Académie Lafond. But life in Paris is expensive, and Maud sinks into poverty. Alone and hungry, she is overjoyed to gain employment as a companion to the wealthy Sylvie Morel. Maud is gradually drawn into the Morels’ secret world, and, as the new year of 1910 dawns, a te ...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Wonderfully fun. Loved so very much this portrait of female friendship, unencumbered by love triangles and other kinds of competitiveness. Robertson's evocation of art and Paris were wonderful; if I had this in print, I'd no doubt have been underlining away like crazy. My only miff is the very rapid POV shifts in the second part of the novel -- some within the same paragraph -- but otherwise, this historical thriller had me enthralled. Loved the real life drama of the flood of 1910 as backdrop t ...more
MaryannC. Book Freak
Wonderfully descriptive read. I was totally immersed in the atmosphere of this book.
Susan in NC
Sep 12, 2014 rated it liked it
2.5-3 stars, as in it was ok, I sort of liked it but will give it 3 stars since I am a huge fan of Robertson's Crowther and Westerman series, and jumped at the chance to read this book when it was offered on Amazon's Vine program.

The plot summary is aptly handled above so I'll skip right to what I did and didn't like. I was pleased to find Robertson's amazing gift of fleshing out every character, no matter how minor: from the wealthy, sheltered Tanya's battle axe aunts to her hovering, nurturing
Linda Lipko
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I randomly selected this from one of my book cases, and I'm glad I did! An amalgamation of three various structures of people living in Paris during the turning of the 20th century, added glamor, necessity, and poverty to this very interesting book.

It is 1910, and Maud Heighton leaves small town England and studies art and hopes to make a living from selling her works. She studies at an academy for women who pursue their artistic skills. All too soon, she realizes that it costs way more money to
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it

Who wouldn't want to spend the winter in Paris? Maud was in Paris starving and freezing as an art student when Tanya, a wealthy woman, befriended her and helped ​Maud ​obtain a position ​in a home to take care of a young lady.

​Maud found out the accommodations brought about more than a warm place to stay and good meals. Sylvie, the young lady she was taking care of, smoked opium and stole things​, her "brother" wasn't very honest, and nothing was what it seemed. What else was going to happen, an
I think I enjoyed this book so much because I had zero expectations. It caught my eye because Paris was in the title. This Paris, though, was not the romantic city of lights. Maud, the heroine, describes Paris, "the flâeurs and the thieves, street hawkers* and shop girls! the philanthropists! chancres and visionaries! the blandishments of Paris wrapped around its dirty, defiant soul." Not so pretty.

The story takes place in Paris, 1909, during the Belle Époque, a time when art was flourishing. Ma
This book is a perfect example of what I love about good historical fiction. Set in Paris in the Belle Epoque, the novel transported me to that time and place with its evocative, poignant descriptions of streets, cafés, dressing styles, umbrellas, architecture and more. Add to that a bunch of (mainly) female characters that were either flamboyant (Russian), disreputable (French), well-behaved (English) or simply really wealthy (American), and you have a rich cast thrown into the opulent setting. ...more
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson is a powerful historical mystery that will lead the reader down a safe and unassuming path only to tear it out from under them in an unexpected and thrilling moment!

"...Valadon swept her eyes over them. 'Go home, Maud. You'll never be artists, either of you. Princess, you want everything to be pretty and Maud, you want everyone to think well of you so neither of you will ever tell any truth worth a damn.'
'Leave me alone, Suzanne,' said Maud. 'Madame de Civra
November 1909 sees the ladies of Lafond’s Parisian painting academy cold, hungry and depressed by the suicide of one of their members. Although they try to keep their spirits up with art and camaraderie, the grim poverty of their setting seeps in: “Paris ate money. Paint and canvas ate money.” Maud Heighton, an orphan from Northumbria, longs to find a way out of penury. Reluctant to rely on charity, she instead finds a position as a live-in lady’s companion to Sylvie Morel. However, she soon dis ...more
Dorothy Goebel
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful book that drew me in from the beginning. Lushly written with words that painted a Paris in my mind that was beautiful and cold and mysterious. The story line is not predictable and held my interest through to the very end. A truly beautiful book and now one of my favorites! I highly recommend The Paris Winter.
Jan 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
I love Robertson's Crowther and Westerman series. Beautiful writing, solid plots, believable and real characters. This read like a cheap Sarah Waters knock-off. Maud is a dish-water heroine; dull, despite her travails. The big plot twist can be smelled a mile away, and the time and place of the setting isn't my cup of tea. ...more
Erika Robuck
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must have breathed while reading THE PARIS WINTER, but I could not say when. Robertson’s dark tale in the City of Light will haunt the reader long after closing its pages.
Hanna Rehnstrom
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I actually started reading this because it was pretty boring. I was working in a hospital and read it when I sat for long hours monitoring/observing an immobile patient, who didn't need me to have my eyes on him constantly, just small interventions sometimes. It was perfect, just entertaining enough to pass the time, better than scrolling on my phone, but just boring enough to not let me lose concentration on the sounds of the equipment in case something would need my attention. That is, up unti ...more

I've had this on my list for years, and didn't realise when I picked it up that it involved a group of women painters at an academy in France, so I wanted to love it because of that, since I've recently gotten into painting. It was a slow start, however, but just after a third of the way through, things picked up, and I was engrossed.

But the ending was a little bizarre, and I think it rather let the rest of the book down. Still an enjoyable read, for the most part.
Alexis (hookedtobooks)
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was not what I was expecting at all. I love books set in Paris during the early 20th century, but this book had so many great components to it, including art, love, mystery, and scandal!
Maud came to Paris to study art in the hopes of becoming a great painter. She is struggling to make ends meet, and eventually finds a place with a brother and sister. She gets paid to be a companion for the sister, and she gets room and board on top of her wage. This seems like a dream come true for Mau
Nov 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
The Paris Winter Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a review copy of the book.
This book was another case where I wasn’t sure where to begin. My verdict was simple however: I didn’t like it, not a single part of it. Getting through it was challenging enough and I consider that to be an accomplishment in itself. “The Paris Winter” was another shining example of a book that doesn’t live up to the promise of its summary, and the loud praise printed on the back cover mad
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
The novel describes accurately the beginning of the “Belle Époque” bringing vividly to life through the characters, the start of feminism, the recognition of the talented woman painters their hardship to find a place among the starting of the impressionists and art nouveau an interesting and intelligent historical fiction.
Joanne Guidoccio
The young women in The Paris Winter are battling against poverty, overbearing relatives and other constraints that existed in early twentieth century Paris.

The protagonist Maud Heighton is a middle-class Englishwoman, determined to continue with her study of art, even if she has to go hungry during another Paris winter.

We are given glimpses of the desperation she must have endured the previous winter when “she had been feeding herself too little, been too wary of lighting the fire when the damp
Actual rating:3.5 stars
This was a clever read! I almost gave up on it 1/4 of the way through, but I am so very glad that I didn't! The art sections started to bore me, but read them all! There is a point to them all in the end. A very clever conclusion to this book!
I absolutely loved the female characters in this novel! Tanya, Yvette, and Maud were quite the crew! I loved how this was a historical fiction, but I didn't feel a distance between myself and the main characters. Many times in HF, I f
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Maud Heighton is one of the female students at the Lafond Academie, a Parisian art school in the early 20th Century. Lessons in the segregated school are not cheap, and Maud is running out of both money and food at the beginning of the tale. When she takes advantage of an opportunity to earn some extra money, as well as having room and board, by teaching a young French woman to speak English, she falls into a situation of intrigue over which she has no control. With her two friends, Tanya and Yv ...more
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Imogen Robertson grew up in Darlington, studied Russian and German at Cambridge and now lives in London. She directed for film, TV and radio before becoming a full-time author and won the Telegraph’s ‘First thousand words of a novel’ competition in 2007 with the opening of Instruments of Darkness, her first novel. Her other novels also featuring the detective duo of Harriet Westerman and Gabriel C ...more

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