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I've recently been on holiday and I wanted something light-hearted to read on the coach journey. I'd seen some great reviews of this particular book so I decided to go with this one.
Evie has lost her job and in quite a bit of debt. It's time for a change so when she spots a job for a tour guide role, she decides to go for it. There's just one slight problem: Evie has no credentials as a tour guide! No problem. She just does a bit of exaggerating on her CV and next thing you know, she's landed a job as a Paris tour guide. Things are looking up and they get even better when she meets hunky driver, Rob, who she'll be working with her on the tours. They click straight away but there's just the small matter of getting through the first weekend tour. Not least because Evie's knowledge of Paris is entirely non-existent and is mostly regurgitated from books.
As you might expect, there's quite a lot of scope for amusement here as Evie bluffs her way through her job. She is so enthusiastic and bubbly, it's impossible not to be endeared to her. I liked the character straight away and was willing her not to mess up and ruin things for herself. It's true that some of the plot is just not realistic but being brutally honest, I can't say that I read chick lit books for her realism!
While I loved Evie's character, I can't really say the same for Rob. It's not that he was hugely unlikeable but Evie has bordering on being obsessed with him and he just never seemed that special to me. In fact, there were times when I found him quite annoying and found myself thinking that a vibrant girl like Evie could surely do a bit better as his personality wasn't too endearing. Despite being fairly central to the plot, I could live with this as Evie and some other characters made up for him not being all that.
Speaking of the lesser characters, there were some good ones. I enjoyed quite a few of the tourists on Evie's coach and found them quite amusing. Evie's friend and flatmate, Lulu, was also pretty entertaining. Her character is not a million miles away from Evie's and she was good fun in a supporting role.
It's written in the first person, which I usually find helps me to connect well with main characters and this is no exception. The writing style is very chatty and informal and it's like we're being taken along on the ride with Evie.
If you like your chick lit, I'd definitely recommend this one. It's a light-hearted but fast paced read and it's ideal escapism material. Yes, Evie would probably irritate anyone who doesn't like this kind of read but if you're not a chick lit fan, I imagine you'd run a mile from this book anyway!
I bought this book about 3 months ago in Sainsbury's as I needed an easy to read book to relax with and found many novels on offer 2 for £7 or £4.99 each.
----- Plot -----
'It happened in Paris' was written by Molly Hopkins, an author I've never heard about, and is about Evie, a mid-twenties girl who likes expensive lifestyle, drinks too much and is constantly concerned about the size of her waist. Evie has just been made redundant from work. Unfortunately, even her job at an advertising agency didn't afford her the lifestyle she lives and Evie ends up with a debt of £9,000. Trying to find money to live, she thinks about changing her career and becomes a tour guide in Paris. Not that she has any qualifications to do it - she doesn't even know a thing about Paris, but she just skilfully enhances her CV and has got enough luck that no one questions her experience...
Evie's first tour doesn't start well as she's so excited that she forgets her handbag with all the essentials, including passport. Her luck changes though when she finally meets her handsome coach driver Rob. How is Evie's live going to develop with this sexy driver at her side and wine in abundance?
----- My opinion -----
I really enjoyed this book for its light-heartedness. It was very entertaining reading about Evie and her adventures. She was creative and believable that she could lie herself out of almost any situation. I found this book very funny (I burst out laughing out loud a few times) and this is mainly because the main character was written very well. From time to time, Evie's housemate comes into the picture and it brightens up the story. Lulu is a caricature of a nurse, who also likes alcohol a bit too much and falls out of love as quickly as she falls in love, depending on the wealth of the guy she meets. There are also a few other supporting characters and they complement the story well.
As much as I loved reading about Evie and Lulu, I found Rob's character very bland. He was presented as this perfect boyfriend and 'sex machine' at the same time - all very boring and would never happen in real life. Rob was in my opinion a disappointing character (or no character at all!), which spoiled the book a little bit.
The pace of this book was very appropriate - made me want to keep reading to find out what happened, but it wasn't so gripping that I couldn't put the book down. The chapters (56 in total) were all numbered and varied in length, but they weren't too long. The style of writing was light-hearted and made the book very suitable for times when you just want to relax, rather than analyse complex storyline.
There is a sequel to this book called 'It happened in Venice', but I don't think I'll bother reading it. I think it wouldn't bring anything new to the whole story, as for me that would be too much forced.
----- Recommended? -----
I would definitely recommend this book for holidays or other times when you just want to read a chic lit. There is quite a lot of reference to sex and drinking, so if this is not what you want to read about, then better choose something else.
Author: Molly Hopkins
Paperback, 458 pages
Price: from £4.33 (on Amazon)
Published by Sphere 2011
Evie Dexter, 26, is in pursuit of a career as a European tour guide. Heart set on success and buoyed on by booze, she begins 'enhancing' her CV and soon lands a job with Insignia Tours, guiding their Paris breaks. Bursting with professionalism, Evie quickly checks her copy of Vogue Paris to remind herself where France actually is. Task accomplished, she's determined to become a cultured and respected chaperone. And she would be, if only the French wine weren't so delicious and Rob, her sexy coach driver, so deliciously distracting ...Join Evie on her maiden voyage as Tour Guide Extraordinaire. It's going to be one hell of a ride.
I'm a bit of a sucker for new Chick Lit authors and I think it's always amazing when I discover the debut authors for each new year that comes. Molly Hopkins is one such an author, and I was instantly intrigued when I saw It Happened In Paris on Amazon. It sounded brilliant and I was even more excited to read it when I saw the jaw-droppingly good book cover. So you can probably imagine my delight when my mailman brought me a copy of the novel. I rued the fact I was already reading a book and that I still had a few books to finish before I could get to it, but come Good Friday, I had cleared my books backlog and the first book on my list? It Happened In Paris.
I loved It Happened In Paris. It's rare these days that a Chick Lit book blows me away, it seems to happen less and less because it's gotten to the point where I've read so many Chick Lit books that it takes a lot to impress me but It Happened In Paris is one such book. I loved the plot, the writing, the characters, and I truly didn't want to put the book down for even a moment. But do you know what I really loved? More than anything? The fact that Evie and Rob get together before page 100. I'm a sucker for romance, and it kills me that when I'm reading a Chick Lit novel the coming together of the two main characters doesn't happen until the end of the book, as they spend the first x amount of pages arguing and fighting. But Evie and Rob hit it off immediately and are in bed together 9 hours after meeting. It was total whirlwind stuff and I lapped it up. Sure, an inevitable stumbling block did eventually come their way, but I loved that it didn't take until the final page for them to get together.
I thought the plot itself was inspired and I continually found myself laughing as Evie tried to turn herself into tour guide extraordinaire when her only knowledge of Paris, where she's being a tour guide, comes from a guide book. Sure it was a bit untenable, particularly since there's a passport debacle where I did think "Can that really happen?" but to be honest I was too caught up in the story to care too much about whether it was real enough or not. The book moves along at quite a pace, there's always something happening and I loved all of the Parisian descriptions. Personally, I'm not a fan of Paris - I don't like French people so the thought of visiting Paris doesn't really appeal to me - but I thought Molly Hopkins described Paris beautifully and it actually made me forget about my dislike of the French and I found myself actually wanting to visit Paris and see all the sights.
I adored Evie. She's just completely larger than life, and I loved how she blagged herself the job as a tour guide. I thought she was so fun and so full of life, and she made me smile. She carries the book brilliantly, I'm not joking and her personality just keeps you reading. I'd just like to say now that I have a huge crush on Rob. He sounds amazing, and although he has a few issues, I'd forgive him. He and Evie get on so well, making it so easy to be into their relationship despite how quickly it all happens. Lulu, Evie's best mate, is also rather larger than life, and I just thought she was incredibly amusing. She's prone to ranting about the men in her life and loves a drink, but she's also such a sweet and brilliant friend (when she's not drunk and slurring). I thought the supporting characters were brilliant, too, from the coach trippers Evie and Rob look after, to the Greek family who own a bar opposite Evie's flat. The Greek's in particular are hilarious! And they totally deserve their own spin-off. It would be laugh-a-minute stuff.
It Happened In Paris is told from Evie's perspective, which works brilliant and as I've already remarked, she carries the book beautifully. The obstacle Evie and Rob have to navigate, wasn't entirely a surprise mainly because I am incapable of not reading synopses so like a div, I went and read the synopsis for It Happened In Venice the sequel and, er, inadvertently spoiled it for myself. I didn't see how their relationship would survive or carry on, and I was interested to see how it was going to be resolved. I'm thoroughly looking forward to It Happened In Venice, and I'm very much hoping it carries on the same way. What really made me love It Happened In Paris so much was indeed the romance between Evie and Rob, so I'm cautiously hopeful the sequel won't screw all of the good work of this book up. I'm looking forward to being with Evie, Rob, Lulu and co. again and, really, March 2012 cannot come around soon enough for me. I'd hugely recommend It Happened In Paris, I loved it and it's one of my favourite reads of 2011.