Book Review: Paris, Rue des Martyrs

paris montmartreThe neighborhood of Montmarte. So many famous (and infamous) names have passed through this notorious arrondissement of Paris. It’s not just the beautiful architecture of the Sacre Coeur, and the markets at the top of those million steps. Yes, the view is spectacular. And yes, there are plenty of tourists. But keep in mind, people actually live here too. What about them? What are their stories? What is daily life like living in one of the most visited spots in one of the most visited cities?

I for one love reading novels based in my favorite city. Many times these come into the “expat adjusts to life in France” model. These are highly enjoyable, and relatable for those of us who have taken that leap. But what about the actual Parisians? Don’t they deserve their own page in the literary collection. of their own city? In her debut novel, Paris, Rue des Martyrs, author Adria J. Cimino introduces us to several shades of characters who call this corner of the city home.

Some encounters make a difference.

Four strangers in Paris. Each one is on a quest: to uncover a family secret, to grasp a new chance at love, to repair mistakes of the past. Four stories entwine, four quests become one, as their paths cross amid the beauty, squalor, animation and desolation of a street in Paris, the Rue des Martyrs.

Rafael’s search for his birth mother leads him to love and grim family secrets. Cecile’s view of herself as an unsatisfied housewife is radically changed by the promise of a passionate liaison. Andre, an aging actor, troubled by the arrival of the son he abandoned years ago, must make a choice, to either lose his son forever or put aside pride and seek redemption. Mira travels to Paris to begin a new life and forget about love… or so she intends.

Four strangers, four stories, one riveting novel.

I’ll admit, the description had me intrigued when I first came across it. When I sat down to read the novel, I read it in one sitting. My flight from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale went by exceedingly quick that day. The characters, while not all native Parisians, have a personal tie to the city. And as it turns out, personal ties to each other. Paris is a big city, but Cimino does as expert job of capturing the sense of community that still exists in the various pockets of town. This pocket, Rue des Martrys, sees the same characters each day. They have their routines, their dramas and their intrigues. Yet everyone is familiar to each other, even if they can’t quite place how or why. It was this overall theme of unity that kept me turning page after page, excited to see how the pieces would fall into place.

The characters each capture a real human quality – none are perfect, each has their own flaws and weaknesses, yet they are all likable in their own way. I really wouldn’t be able to choose a favorite because I found myself relating to several of them, each for different reasons. I won’t give the plot away here (you’ll have to read on your own!) but I can tell you this: I couldn’t stop thinking about those characters and their stories. I wanted to keep reading, learning more of how their stories intertwine as I vicariously live a Parisian life through Cimino’s words.

If you find yourself in desperate need to put this novel at the top of your reading list (which I highly suggest you do) you can purchase it through the Amazon Kindle Store, the Apple StoreNookPress, and Kobo. I also recommend taking a look at the author’s website, Adria J. Cimino, and her blog, Adria in Paris, for little sneak peaks into her own Paris life. Go ahead, satisfy your inner Parisian. You know you want to.

{Image courtesy of Adria J. Cimino}

*I received an advance copy of this novel for review at no cost. All opinions and thoughts stated are completely my own in order to provide the most honest, informative and beneficial review possible.

  • Adria J. Cimino

    Thank you, Amy! I’m so glad you connected with the characters and enjoyed the daily Paris life perspective of the novel… I’ve always found it interesting that, in many cases, there are “small towns” within big cities!

    • Yes, it’s that daily life of locals that I find so intriguing everywhere I go. Something that scratches beneath the surface. And thank you for sharing your novel with me – it was truly a joy to read! 🙂

      • Adria J. Cimino

        You are so right… and thanks for your interest in my work! 🙂

  • The description is definitely intriguing and your interview of her makes me more interested. I’ll have to add it to my list.

    • I really enjoyed it – it was one of those novels when after you finish, the characters are still on your mind! And I could pick up on the nuances of the French, which was pretty cool too. Made me feel like a local again. 😉