I’ll See You in Paris
Gable’s new novel is the follow-up to her bestselling A Paris Apartment and is written in much the same style. The novel is a blend of perspectives and time periods, with the protagonist, Annie Haley, searching for answers to her past. She accompanies her enigmatic mother, Laurel, to England on a business trip and quickly becomes enamored of a local legend, Mrs. Spencer. Known for her eccentric habits, Mrs. Spencer may have been the “Missing Duchess” otherwise known as Gladys Spencer-Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough. As Annie works with a charming aristocrat to uncover the truth, she discovers the missing pieces to her hidden past.
The concept of I’ll See You in Paris is intriguing. Gladys Spencer-Churchill was an American raised abroad by her wealthy, scandalous parents. Painted by the likes of Giovanni Boldini and John Singer Sargent, she was pursued by both European royalty and famous writers before marrying the Duke of Marlborough at age 40. Their marriage was tumultuous, and when the duke evicted her from Blenheim Palace, Gladys settled in a farmhouse in Oxfordshire, where she eventually went mad. This is the primary time period covered in the novel, so readers looking for a play-by-play of Gladys’ exotic early life will be disappointed. The narrative is a bit disjointed, often switching time periods, perspectives, and even methods of writing. These shifts can be jarring at best, confusing at worst. But Gable excels at creating compelling, nuanced characters, so readers who enjoy differing points of view will be satisfied.
I’ll See You in Paris is definitely more of a women’s fiction with a historic twist, and would best be enjoyed by readers who prefer that genre.