Carol, John, Anjali, and Phillip are all expatriates living in Paris. Carol is a British mom who moved to the city for a prestigious filmwriting gig; John is an American running his investment company’s Parisian office with a high-spending wife and sullen daughter; Anjali, who works for John, is visiting before her planned marriage to a Hindu boy back home in India; and Phillip is a pastor of a new church who is married to a Frenchwoman. When Phillip starts the writers’ circle, he hopes to form a positive environment in which aspiring writers can have their work critiqued by other hopefuls. But as life throws wrenches into the plans of each member, they open up to one another on the page and in discussions of the hardships and troubles they’re each facing. Ultimately, they find reason to open up and change thanks to the kindness of these strangers who become much more.
The writing is strong and smoothly carries the reader along. Each character is nuanced and fully realized, and the reader suffers with each of them equally, through failed relationships and worries about money and the future. While each character is going through a dramatic, upsetting upheaval of their lives, they hide bits of what they’re working through in the pages they bring to the writers circle, a clever way to show their true colors. Watching these flawed characters break down the walls of those around them is uplifting and inspiring. The author has also captured Paris and the experience of living there temporarily with beautiful detail.
The ending is a little too sweetly tied together with a bow, although some plot points are left unresolved (a recurring chapter-ending cliffhanger involving the IRS is dropped).
THE PARIS WRITERS CIRCLE is the uplifting, transformational tale of four expats suffering dark days in the City of Light who form an unlikely alliance when they meet twice a month in a café to discuss writing techniques and their lives.
~Danielle Bukowski for Indie Reader