One Evening in Paris by Nicolas Barreau

PARIS
One Evening in Paris by Nicolas Barreau
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (278 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Alain Bonnard, the owner of a small art cinema in Paris, is a dyed-in-the-wool nostalgic. In his Cinéma Paradis there are no buckets of popcorn, no XXL coca-colas, no Hollywood blockbusters. Not a good business plan if you want to survive, but Alain holds firm to his principles of quality. He wants to show films that create dreams, and he likes most of the people that come to his cinema. Particularly the enchanting, shy woman in the red coat who turns up every Wednesday in row 17. What could her story be? One evening, Alain plucks up courage and invites the unknown beauty to dinner. The most tender of love stories is just getting under way when something incredible happens: The Cinéma Paradis is going to be the location of Allan Woods’ new film Tender Memories of Paris. Solène Avril, the famous American director’s favourite actress, has known the cinema since childhood and has got it into her head that she wants the film to be shot there. Alain is totally overwhelmed when he meets her in person. Suddenly, the little cinema and its owner are the focus of public attention, and the red-plush seats are sold out every evening.

But the mystery woman Alain has just fallen in love with seems suddenly to have vanished. Is this just coincidence? Alain sets off in search of her and becomes part of a story more delightful than anything the cinema has to offer

Alain has inherited a small art cinema in Paris. It’s an old fashioned nostalgic cinema and so are the films he shows. The great romance films of the past bring him peace and complete his life. He knows most of his patrons, but when he notices the girl in the red coat who always sits in the same seat each Wednesday night, he decides he’d like to know her better…

Mr. Barreau writes a delicate romance with Paris as a backdrop. He names old classic films, creates irascible characters and makes his main character a lonely man who doesn’t realize he is. It’s a smooth story I’d love to hear him read out loud. The story flows, the characters follow his direction and misdirection, and everyone is happier by the end of the story.

Alain is finally brave enough to invite her out to dinner. He’s amazed when the shy young woman says yes. He’s more amazed when he doesn’t get home until the wee hours of the morn. When they started talking, they couldn’t stop!

When Alain is approached by a director and his beautiful star and they ask to use the theater as the “set” for a new movie, Alain says yes. There will be some improvements to his cinema and it’ll be good advertising. But as soon as he says yes, his mystery girl doesn’t return. Why?

There are a few too many coincidences here to make me find it realistic, but it does make a good story. There is more than one Melanie missing. Finding his is challenging and almost impossible, but he doesn’t give up. They may have had only night of talking but he knows he loves her. How can you not like a book that believes in true love?

This is an easy read, an excellent story, and has lots of subplots to go with his girlfriend search. I’m glad I was given the opportunity to read it. Why not grab a cup of tea and a couple of cookies and go to the cinema yourself? Alain is waiting for you.

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