It all started with Paris. At the top of the Eiffel Tower, a young man proposes to his girlfriend, cheered on by delighted tourists. In that second, everything changes, not just for the happy couple, but for the family and friends awaiting their return in Bridgeport, Ireland. Leila’s been nursing a badly broken heart since her love-rat husband just upped and left her one morning, but she’s determined to put on a brave face for the bride. Vonnie, a widow and exceptional cake-maker, is just daring to let love back into her life, although someone seems determined to stop it. And Grace, a divorced head teacher, finds the impending wedding of her son means that she’s spending more time with her ex-husband. After all those years apart, is it possible she’s made a mistake?
Cathy Kelly was another new Irish author that I discovered this year and even though it seemed to take me a long while to finish it, I did enjoy the Irish tale.
The story sweetly starts as a young man proposes to his girlfriend at the top of the Eiffel Tower, it then flows on with much excitement and preparation for the big day, but doesn’t flow as smoothly as Michael and Katy initially expected, when they return back to Ireland.
The book revolves around the lives of Grace Rhattigan, a divorced headmistress who’s life revolves her two children, newly engaged Michael and tomboy sister Fiona. She has never really looked at another man since her ex husband Stephen. Leica Martin, Katy’s best friend who’s heart is only beginning to heal after her husband Tynan walked out on her and she throws her life into her busy job. Vonnie Reilly is an American baker who has moved to the small town, a promise to her deceased husband, she has fallen in love with Ryan and looks forward to a new beginning with him but this proves impossible with his ex wife Jennifer Morrison causing trouble for the couple.
This story is quite a captivating story that flows along at a leisurely pace. As the story is seen from various perspectives, it gives an insight into relationships spanning different generations and how they developed and went wrong. I liked all the characters but there was no-one that I particularly preferred, they were all unique in their own ways.
Grace was fun and easy going, she occasionally missed the company of a relationship but never went looking for one. Her primary love was her children not only at home but at the school. I enjoyed Leila, whilst nursing a broken heart, her mother has a fall and whilst recuperating, Leila was left in charge of her dog Pixie and I thought these scenes with the dog and Leila and how unused to a dog she was made for lovely lighthearted reading. Vonnie is baking Katy’s cake and she’s used to demanding brides but one she isn’t used to is angry ex wives determined to wreck her relationship, Jennifer Morrison is a volatile woman who won’t let her husband go easily even though he ended the relationship before he met Vonnie. Jennifer was definitely my least favourite character of the story, self absorbed and petulant, she was caught up in her own world unaware of the pain she was causing to those around her particularly her oldest daughter Ruby, who was bearing the brunt of Jennifer’s grief.
I enjoyed this story, I liked the gentle flow of the narrative and dialogue particularly some of the Irish way of talking which I could relate to. It was warm and humorous in parts and could definitely be a book that could be read at any age.
With a beautifully glittery designed cover of the Eiffel Tower, ‘It Started With Paris’ is an enchanting story and with a delightful and unexpected twist at the end, I will definitely be looking into Cathy’s other books.
You can buy It Started With Paris from Amazon and is avaiable to buy from good bookshops.