Ilyse Charpentier, a beautiful young chanteuse, is the diva of the 1894 Parisian cabaret scene by night and the unwilling obsession of her patron, Count Sergei Rakmanovich, at every other waking moment.
Though it has always been her secret desire, Ilyse’s life as “La Petite Coquette” of the Paris stage has turned out to be anything but the glamorous existence she had dreamt of as a girl. As a young woman, Ilyse has already suffered tragedy and become estranged from her beloved brother, Maurice, who blames her for allowing the Count to drive them apart.
Unhappy and alone, Ilyse forces herself to banish all thoughts of independence until the night Ian McCarthy waltzes into her life. Immediately taken with the bold, young, British expatriate, Ilyse knows it is time to choose: will she break free and follow her heart or will she remain a slave to her patron’s jealous wrath for the rest of her life?
My Thoughts: This was really a sweet a little story. It was short but had a fun, exciting plot and interesting characters. Sometimes historical fiction can feel really heavy, but this was a nice light read.
I haven't read very much about France in the late 1800s but I loved the way that the author portrayed Paris. I have never really wanted to go to Paris but I kind of want to visit the Paris portrayed in this book. It seemed so beautiful and surreal to read about a Paris where the Eiffel Tower was new and exciting and nightlife was brilliant and exciting. Even the descriptions of the poorer sections of Paris were fascinating; the author just made Paris seem to be an amazingly dream-like place.
The character, Count Sergei Rakmanovich, was awesomely evil. To be honest, I thought he was the best character in the book. His obsession with Ilyse was so crazy; at first I thought he was just a really mean and controlling person but as more was revealed about him it was obvious that he was a complete psycho. I know it's weird to say that he was my favorite character but I felt like he was the most interesting and well-developed character in the story. I liked Ilyse and Ian but I thought they could have had more depth. They were borderline cheesy and I would have liked to get to know them better, especially Ian. I also really liked Maurice and would have loved to know more about his life during the six years he and Ilyse were estranged.
Overall, City of Lights was a fun read with a wonderful setting and the perfect villain. If you are looking to relax with a light read, you should definitely check this book out. 3 stars
About the Author:
I write historical fiction, suspense, supernatural thrillers, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, short stories—you name it, I write it! I love to read just about anything and everything and am particularly fond of historical fiction, the classics, mysteries, epic fantasy, history, and non-fiction. I am also a classically trained soprano/violinist/pianist and have been performing since the age of three. Additionally, I hold a BA in Management and an MBA in Marketing.
I am a HUGE fan of Psych, most British drama, comedy, and mystery shows, and am always up for a movie quote challenge. Jaws is my favorite movie of all time, with The Lord of the Rings being a very close second. Tell me something about yourself, and I'll most probably be able to "Six Degrees of Separation" it back to Gandalf.
Lastly, I love to spend time with my family and friends, and I absolutely adore traveling. Not only is it great to experience other cultures, but travelling expands my horizons as a writer and sets my imagination reeling with a million different ideas for stories. If I hadn't decided to become a writer (And there's a Gandalf story for that, too.), I would have become a marine biologist, but after countless years spent watching Shark Week, I realized I'm very attached to my arms and legs and would rather write sharks into my stories than get up close and personal with those toothy wonders.
I am currently working on the sequel to my supernatural thriller/historical novel Corcitura, a collection of comedy/horror/fantasy stories set in Eastern Europe in the 1800s, and the first book of a planned fantasy duology. To learn more, please visit www.booksinmybelfry.com.
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