The premise of A Paris Apartment sounded vaguely familiar and wholly intriguing when I saw it featured on ibooks, but being the francophile/history lover that I am, I clicked buy and didn’t think much else about its familiarity until after I had started reading the book. I was google searching images of Paris apartments (as I do) and stumbled upon this article in the Telegraph that I remember reading a few years ago about a shuttered Paris apartment left in mint condition with millions of dollars in pre-WW2 antiques and paintings. As I re-read the article, it became clear that this book is a fictionalized account of a furniture appraiser in the apartment of the same (very real) woman, Marthe de Florian.
It took some time to get into the book and three weeks to finish (which, for me, is just ridiculous). I found the chapters about Marthe a lot more interesting than the chapters about April, but then Marthe’s self-preservation and wittiness turned into full-on narcissism and quickly became cloying… and April – her personality was always cloying. I understood where she was coming from, but she’s just not someone I could picture being friends with, and I think I needed a protagonist that I could be friends with in this one. The book went long in the beginning and middle and somewhere changed pace as it hurtled towards a conclusion in the final chapters. I stuck with it because I enjoyed the antiques, history, and the mystery behind Marthe and her heirs who were selling the contents of the apartment, so I have mixed feelings about this book. However, if you are a francophile, a fan of the Belle Epoche, or history and antiques, then you may really enjoy this book. You should definitely read the articles about the actual apartment and then look at the photos.
Have you read A Paris Apartment? What were your thoughts? What were the parts you loved? Were there parts you disliked?