We're people, and people look after each other...
I loved Robert Dinsdale's The Toymakers (it's one of my all-time favourite books) so I couldn't wait to get my hands on Paris by Starlight - and that cover is gorgeous!
Every night on their long journey to Paris from their troubled homeland, Levon’s grandmother has read to them from a very special book. Called The Nocturne, it is a book full of fairy stories and the heroic adventures of their people who generations before chose to live by starlight. With every story that Levon’s grandmother tells them in their new home, the desire to live as their ancestors did grows. And that is when the magic begins…
While Paris by Starlight is a fabulous fairy tale of refugees inadvertently recreating the magical flora and fauna of their home country (I imagined it looking like something out of Avatar), there is a grittier story hidden beneath it, of dispossessed people suffering cruelty and harassment as they try to find sanctuary. Some want to recreate their old world, others just want to blend in. They meet those who want to learn more about their ways and customs, and experience the magic they've brought with them - and those, less friendly, who want them to leave and will do anything to achieve that.
Paris by Starlight is a very clever mix of magic realism and social commentary - which means it might not be for everyone. (It's quite dark in places.) Robert Dinsdale writes beautifully and has an incredible imagination. I loved his 'starlight' world and the sweet romance between Levon and Isabelle as they struggled against all odds. Engaging and very moving, Paris by Starlight is one of my favourite reads this year. Recommended, particularly for fans of magic realism and authors such as Alice Hoffman.
Thank you to Robert Dinsdale and Del Rey for my copy of this book, which I requested from NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.