It Started With Paris – Cathy Kelly – Blog Tour.

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Back of the book :

one night, three little words …….

In Paris, The city of romance, at the top of the Eiffel Tower, a young man proposes to his girlfriend. In that second, everything changes. Not just for the happy couple, but for the family and friends awaiting their return to Bridgeport, Ireland …

leila , the bride’s best friend, is nursing a broken heart.

Vonnie, cake-maker extraordinaire, is just daring to let love back into her life, although someone seems determined to stop it. 

And Grace, a divorced head teacher, finds her son’s impending wedding means she’s spending more time with her ex-husband. After all those years apart, is it possible they both made a mistake ? 

What I think : 

Leila is best friends with Katy, (The Bride) Her own marriage ended 6 months ago when her husband left her for another woman. She hasn’t really got over it. Leila’s sister Suzie is a single mother to Jack, and she’s a bit of a bitch to Leila.

Grace is Michaels mum. (The Groom) She’s headmistress at the local school. She’s divorced from Michael’s dad Stephen, but they still get on. She has a lovely best friend Nora.

Vonnie is a Cake-maker, She is a widow with a small son, Shane. She’s originally from Boston in America but moved to Ireland a year after her husband died in a car accident. She has a new boyfriend now but he has a ex-wife who is having problems accepting their marriage is over and is causing a bit of trouble.

The books starts with a marriage proposal in Paris. you don’t really know who it is yet because no names are mentioned. You later find out that it’s Katy and Michael.

This is a really big book with a really big cast of characters. They are all intertwined together in one way or another, however some of the relationships are not immediately apparent. For instance, Vonnie, I really wasn’t sure where she fitted in for quite a while as she wasn’t directly related to any of the other characters, But then about half way through the book you find out that she is making Katy and Michaels cake.

There are also side stories as well as the main one, there is one involving Leila and Suzie’s mother and her car accident, that brings it home how it could happen to all of us and as a family you need to stick together.

This is another excellent read, full of normal family problems and tender moments. And, as usual Cathy’s excellent writing skills were present to make this is another unputdownable book that picks you and sweeps you along.

As a big fan of Cathy’s, this book was a treat, I was so excited to be asked to be on the Blog Tour and I wasn’t disappointed, her best yet !

I give this book 10/10

A very big Thank you to Lucy Richardson at Orion books for sending me a copy of the book to read and review.

Published on 09 October 2014 by Orion.

Extract…

PROLOGUE.

love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing  Goethe

He had the engagement ring in his pocket. He was terrified it would fall out – all through the ride up the Eiffel Tower lift, with people pressing against him, he thought of what he’d do if he lost it. Proposals on the Eiffel Tower should not be memorable because of the would-be groom crawling around on the floor feeling for a ring box.

No, the memorability was the venue, with Paris sparkling around them, with other people smiling at the joy of it all. Paris was the city of love – not the city of I had the ring and it fell out someplace – let’s find it, for heaven’s sake!
Ever since they had got out of the cab, smiling with relief because the Parisian cab drivers were all racing car drivers at heart, he’d been clutching the box in a death-grip, having secretly taken it from its hiding place in the camera holdall.
Too distracted by the sights to notice, she kept beaming at him, her cheeks flushed the same colour as her peony pink scarf. Even cold-nosed and with a runny nose that was taking a pack of tissues an hour, she was beautiful.

Doe-eyed, his mother had called her and, as usual, his mother was right.

She did have the look of a deer, but a happy deer. A deer who grazed in Santa’s paddock and who expected all things in life to be magical.
Even among the Parisian beauties with their hauteur and chic clothes, people still looked at her admiringly: she wasn’t tall, but she was slender with the bearing of someone who’d done ballet for years and still walked as if she was about to go on stage in her teenage ballet school corps. And she was his. His girlfriend, his about-to-be fiancée
He said a fleeting prayer, something he hadn’t done in years, and asked for help. Let her say yes, please.
He’d told nobody he was going to ask her to be his wife.
Not his father, though he’d nearly said it to his mother because he’d been sure she’d hug him and say, ‘Go ahead, I love her like a daughter, you know that.’
His friends might say that he had loads of time to settle down but then they’d have recalled how luminous she was, how easy-going both as a person and on the eye, and how clever yet never showing off her cleverness.
None of those were the reasons he was asking her to be his wife. He simply loved her and had done ever since they’d met all those years before when they’d been put at the same table in junior infants school.
Turning those big dark eyes on him, she’d shown him her new-fangled eraser with the strawberry scent and gravely told him he could borrow it anytime because she liked the dots on his face.
‘Freckles,’ he’d informed her. ‘You get freckles when you’re special.’
‘My daddy says I’m special but I don’t have fleckles,’ she’d said, sounding shocked at this betrayal.
‘I’ll draw some on,’ he’d said, getting out his pencil.
The first two freckles had hurt too much so he’d stopped and hugged her the way his mother hugged him.
‘Will you be my best friend?’ she’d asked him, sniffing.
She’d had him at her feet then and ever since.
The Eiffel Tower lift came to a discreet halt; holding the ring box in one hand as if it was a grenade, he managed with his height and big frame to make a space for her to get out without being squashed. The tourists in Paris were maniacs, he decided: all mad to see everything first.
‘Thanks, love,’ she said, when they finally made it out of the lift. ‘I thought I was going to be flattened.’
She hugged his arm and he felt the surge of protectiveness he always felt for her, even though she was anything but a fragile little flower of a person. Small or not, she had plenty of toughness in her.
‘Look,’ she said now, holding his free hand and racing over to the railings to gaze at Paris spread out in front of them: as if the tower were the centre of the universe. He looked and saw nothing.
Let her say yes. Let it be like a movie where she loves it and says yes and the other tourists clap. She could say no, she might say we’re too young and we have plans and—
A tour guide was pointing out the different arondissements and areas of interest to a group, and she listened in.
A Spanish couple asked him if he’d take a photo of them with their camera. Looking over from where she eavesdropping on the tour guide, he could see her grin and wink at him. This was always happening to him. With his tall frame, smiling, charming face and the chestnut hair that looked as if someone had just ruffled it, he was the picture of honesty.
Afterwards, they walked around the observation deck and she pointed out landmarks.
‘Do you think that’s where our hotel is?’ she asked, squinting.
Their hotel wasn’t the bijou beauty near central Paris they’d been promised. The bedroom was bijou, all right, so bijou it was easier to climb over the bed to get to the door than risk your kneecaps on the bed frame.
And it was near central Paris only if you happened to be an Olympic sprinter gearing up for a run. But now was not the moment to ruin things with such matters.
Unable to take it any more, he grabbed her by the waist to stop her, turned her to face him, then sank to his knees. The box – thank you! – was in his pocket and he pulled it out, held it up the way he’d seen it done in the movies a hundred times, and said; ‘My darling, will you—’
‘YES!’ she shrieked, throwing herself at him and hugging him. With him kneeling down, there was a reversal of their usual height difference and she had to angle her head to kiss him.
‘Really?’ he said, hardly believing. He knew she loved him, but this – this was everything, and they were young and—
‘Yes, yes, yes!!!’ she said, and then kissed him as though he were dying and she needed to bring him back to life.
He sank into the embrace and felt his heart pulse with sheer joy.
She’d said yes .

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