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Reclaiming Paris

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  76 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews

Miami Herald prize-winning journalist Fabiola Santiago tells the story of a woman who switches perfumes every time she changes lovers along her journey to heal from the loss of family and country.

An exuberant poet and historical archivist living in contemporary Miami, Marisol, like her adopted city, is a sensual free spirit. Reclaiming Paris is a paean to place and mem

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 16th 2008 by Atria (first published September 12th 2008)
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Oct 17, 2008 added it
Glorious! An olfactory road map through a life that reminds me of the various fragrances that evoke different times and people from the various moments my history. Totally lush with love and romance for places and people.
Merridy Pugh
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found this moving, thought-provoking and beautifully structured and written. The central character, Marisol ('sea + sun') is complex and her personal story evolves through the events of the book to a satisfying ending.

I identified with the emigrant/exile theme – in this book, Cubans exiled to the US – because of my background coming from South Africa to Australia. I liked the exploration of cultural and personal identity through Marisol's perfumes, her different relationships, the different c
Jun 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I found this book quite by accident, but will make sure to recommend it to all my friends. I couldn't put it down. First, it deals with a subject I'm interested in all the time - human beings, their lives & how they cope with adversity & the bumps along the way. The heroine in the story is such a well-rounded woman who any woman from any culture will admire greatly. The story takes place in Miami, in the culture of Cuban immigrants. Survival & building a life are prominent goals, but ...more
Stacey Peters
Apr 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: why-i-bothered
The author writes well, although I found 2 extremely blatant typos myself, which really surpised me. The author was searching to understand (thanks commentor) and know her lost culture back in Cuba. It was interesting that she could discover her heritage no matter where she lived (Paris and Iowa of all places). What confused me was that she was willing to stay with a man (for 10 years) who said there was no way he ever planned to marry her and have kids. None of the guys she dated had any redeem ...more
Sep 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of my book club enjoyed this book - the story of a sensual, vibrant, mature (up to age 45?)woman who was born in Cuba and is part of the Cuban community in Miami which yearns for the old country. She uses a device of different perfumes to separate her love affairs, and we thought that worked - we all began telling stories of our fragrances and when we used them. I only mentioned college - Jungle Gardenia - need I say more?
The best part was the knowledge I gained of the Cuban exiles and thei
Aug 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
An interesting part was hearing the voices of Cuban exiles expressing their feelings of longing for the old days, when Cuba was the "Paris of the Caribbean."

A tedious part was putting up with her different lovers, most of whom were not admirable people.

A contrived part was having her different lovers come together. Quite unlikely.

I loved the idea of having a perfume representing different loves.

I agree with reviewer Kaitlyn Barrett that the book needed editing.
She didn't like the way the story j
Apr 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I enjoyed the story line in this book, especially growing up in Florida, (the main character spends most of her time in Miami) and also because I had a lot of Cuban friends so the Cuban culture described in this book reminded me of happy times.

The only problem with the book was the plot moved a little slowly for me- I was looking forward to finishing the book even as I enjoyed it. I would recommend this book.
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I didn't just read this book. I had a relationship with it. Some lovely turns of phrases in nearly every sentence made my eyes well up with my own memories. The author has managed to combine into one book my two favorite things on this planet: perfume and Paris. Having one without the other, in my life, is a half lived life. On the matter of love. Well, that's more ephemeral than either perfume or Paris. In my experience, anyway.
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
The author is technically a talented writer, but the book needed more substantive editing. Too much detail about her relationships, crazy bombshell personal history revealed toward the end that isn't telegraphed at all, and the main character is too thinly drawn. What saved it for me is Cuba, since the protagonist's memories of Cuba are so similar to my mother's, and I could connect well with that. Overall, plot-wise, it just felt too amateurish.
Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Can't think of much to say about this book. It wasn't terrible, but not particularly captivating, either. The story seemed to meander like the narrator's stream of consciousness. There was nothing in it to really pull the reader in, to garner any sympathy for the narrator or even any particular dislike for her. My review? Skip it.
Aug 12, 2010 rated it liked it
A fun read about relationships and culture. I couldn't relate to the main character's dependence on men but loved how at the end she let's loose and decides to just live, come what may. I loved the author's prose and how I felt transported to beautiful Cuba! I really feel like I've been there :)
Sep 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny and endearing. I love Fabiola's writing style.
Jane L.
Jul 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
Just didn't make it for me...the main character didn't seem real to me. Just how do authors expect EVERY woman to be amazingly beautiful, sexy and brilliant?
Jul 25, 2009 rated it liked it
I don't usually read romance but I loved the idea of having a perfume representing different loves.
Jun 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Much fun to read, especially in Miami! Great author!
Jul 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
What I liked about this book was it didnt take the direction of a typical chic lit book. The ending was unique, not the typical girl gets married and has a baby ending.
Alma Garcia
I started reading, but didn't finish. Just could connect with the story. Maybe another time.
Sep 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book because it truly gives you a sense of the complex emotions that cuban expats and their families go through. It was also a bittersweet love story with beautiful imagery.
Mar 10, 2009 marked it as to-read
Can't get passed the first 2 pages...still have to read.
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Cuban girl grows up in Miami, goes to U of Iowa for college, has Cuban lovers, ends up in Paris.
Feb 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
Actually, not read. The first fifteen pages turned me off completely. I was quickly reminded why I don't wear perfume nor read romance novels masquerading as magical realism.
Nicole Falls
Actually more of a 3.5. I really enjoyed this novel though it was a bit slow for me in the beginning.
Nov 30, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
Just not grabbing me. Not getting anything like the reviews read. Oh well - on to the next book!
Daniela Bosque
rated it did not like it
Jul 06, 2011
rated it it was ok
Sep 26, 2011
rated it did not like it
Dec 05, 2011
rated it really liked it
Aug 04, 2013
Ana Maria
rated it it was amazing
Jun 05, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Mar 06, 2013
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Fabiola Santiago is author of the debut novel “Reclaiming Paris,” a story set in contemporary Miami to the backdrop of the city’s Cuban culture and history. Published by Simon & Schuster and chosen for a Mariposa Award as Best First Book at the International Latino Book Awards of 2009, “Reclaiming Paris” was translated into Spanish and debuted this summer as “Siempre París.”

Born in Matanzas,
More about Fabiola Santiago...