The Paris Secret by Angela Henry
Paris, romance, and murder are an intoxicating mix.
Maya Sinclair is in Paris, the most romantic city in the world, on her own after breaking up with her boyfriend. A series of events ends up with her as the prime suspect in a murder and a target of the real killer. When she is attacked in the garden of Versailles, sexy French journalist, Simon Girard, rescues her. Simon is investigating the death of his brother, an art forger with connection to the woman Maya is accused of killing. Their search leads them to a secret society, a missing crucifix and a centuries-old book, the Arum Liber, that holds the secret to eternal life. Together they follow the trail across Paris, barely one step ahead of the killer who has an agenda all her own.
Setting: Paris – I want to go. The book was like a tour of Paris, the food, the sights, the atmosphere.
Mystery: There was a lot going on- murders, the missing crucifix, a secret society. Henry did a good job holding it all together, keeping the suspense going. There definitely weren’t any slow spots.
Romance: Maya and Simon are both recovering from broken hearts, but they’re a well-matched couple. He’s passionate, grumpy at times, dedicated. She’s independent, feisty, and a librarian. Their relationship is not smooth sailing, but at least they don’t spend the first half of the book denying the attraction. The sex scenes were steamy without being overly graphic.
Historical: Ah, the philosopher’s stone – sought after for centuries. What if the secret did exist? What would someone be capable of doing to protect it, or abuse it?
Paranormal: There were a couple of mini-scenes that I could have done without. During their investigations, Maya and Simon learn about the Black Nun of Moret, the woman who was originally entrusted with keeping the Arum Liber safe in the 17th Century. While wearing a ring that supposedly belonged to this nun, Maya has a couple of flashbacks/dreams where she is the nun and sees small bits of her life. It just didn’t fit with the rest of the story to me. I could understand why Maya felt a connection to the nun, but the book was realistic and Maya was pretty sensible. The dreams seemed to come out of the blue, at least to me.
Overall it was an exciting story, heavier on the suspense than the romance, and I enjoyed it.
Just one more comment: The Black Nun of Moret did in fact exist. Louise Marie-Thérèse was a Benedictine nun in the abbey of Moret-sur-Loing, but the tidbit I found interesting was her birth date. It was November 16, 1664, exactly 310 years before I was born.
Published January 17, 2011 by Carina Press
3½ out of 5 stars
Challenge: Mystery and Suspense
I received my copy from the publisher for review and the above is my honest opinion.