Bree T's Reviews > April In Paris, 1921

April In Paris, 1921 by Tessa Lunney
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bookshelves: arc, historical-fiction, cultural, espionage

I have some mixed feelings about this one.

I love the idea. The 1920s are an interesting time – the war is over, it was a time of regrowth, some decadence, etc. It’s still a bit early for the threat of Germany to rise (although there are rumblings) and there was good clothes, music, dancing, eating, drinking, laughing etc. I don’t really care about Paris as a setting – someone told me recently that Paris sells books and I know it’s super high on a lot of people’s wish lists and loves. But I don’t really have much of an interest in it and I’m not drawn to it, so that part of the story didn’t really fill me with excitement.

Kiki (short for Katherine) is an Australian woman who has fled her wealthy family back to Europe, landing in London to link up with a friend whom she hopes can help her out with a job. Kiki’s father wants her to find a suitable husband and he’s cut her off from the family funds until she does. So Kiki gets herself a job as a sort of gossip columnist in Paris, attending lavish parties and writing about them for a London paper. It’s a whirlwind of dresses, cocktails and beautiful people.

But Kiki also has a bit of a secret past in the war. She worked as a nurse but also as a spy for an enigmatic ‘handler’ type who immediately knows when she’s back in Europe and sends her a message. He’s holding something over her head in order to get her to comply with his wishes for her to flush out a mole within his ranks.

Kiki is exhausting. I found the constant whirlwind of dances and drinking and events and socialising trying to be honest. They wake up late, meet in a cafe and drink and eat then go home and get dressed up for some event or other and spend more time drinking until the wee hours before stumbling home to bed and repeat forever. I’m not really into drinking, I get super bored reading about characters where all they do is drink from the time they get up. I find it incredibly tedious and although it’s probably true to the time it just becomes very repetitive and I tend to lose focus on the more important aspects of the story.

The spying plot was really interesting but it got bogged down a lot in Kiki’s phone interactions with her handler Fox which basically involves them quoting Romantic poetry at each other. I’m not sure why that’s a thing – Fox seems like one of those “cruel to be kind” type people who breaks someone before rebuilding them in his own mould. Kiki definitely has a lot of mixed feelings about Fox. She claims to not want anything to do with him and that if not for the blackmail she wouldn’t but there’s no denying she gets a rush from the spy work and that she’s quite good at it. Kiki is much more intelligent than she probably gets credit for – perhaps that’s all part of it. The pretty blonde partying Australian woman, the last person you’d suspect. I really liked reading about Kiki investigating, planning, extricating herself from situations, putting everything together. That was really enjoyable. By far the best part of the book. Despite the fact that I don’t really enjoy the character of Fox, I want to know more about him (not in relation to Kiki, just in general). Kiki does suffer in this book from the “everyone they know falls in love with them” sort of thing – even Fox, it would appear. This seems the first in a series, because several things go unresolved at the end, so I’m sure Kiki will reappear in another adventure in the future.

I liked parts of this but I found some sections a little bit of a struggle. However I think I’d probably read another Kiki book just to see where things go.

***A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher for the purpose of an honest review***
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Reading Progress

June 14, 2018 – Started Reading
June 14, 2018 – Shelved
June 14, 2018 – Finished Reading
July 20, 2018 – Shelved as: arc
July 20, 2018 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
July 20, 2018 – Shelved as: cultural
July 20, 2018 – Shelved as: espionage

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