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A Paris Apartment

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Bienvenue à Paris!

When April Vogt's boss tells her about an apartment in the ninth arrondissement that has been discovered after being shuttered for the past seventy years, the Sotheby's continental furniture specialist does not hear the words “dust” or “rats” or “decrepit.” She hears Paris. She hears escape.

Once in France, April quickly learns the apartment is not merely some rich hoarder's repository. Beneath the cobwebs and stale perfumed air is a goldmine, and not because of the actual gold (or painted ostrich eggs or mounted rhinoceros horns or bronze bathtub). First, there's a portrait by one of the masters of the Belle Epoque, Giovanni Boldini. And then there are letters and journals written by the very woman in the painting, Marthe de Florian. These documents reveal that she was more than a renowned courtesan with enviable decolletage. Suddenly April's quest is no longer about the bureaux plats and Louis-style armchairs that will fetch millions at auction. It's about discovering the story behind this charismatic woman.

It's about discovering two women, actually.

With the help of a salty (and annoyingly sexy) Parisian solicitor and the courtesan's private diaries, April tries to uncover the many secrets buried in the apartment. As she digs into Marthe's life, April can't help but take a deeper look into her own. Having left behind in the States a cheating husband, a family crisis about to erupt, and a career she's been using as the crutch to simply get by, she feels compelled to sort out her own life too. When the things she left bubbling back home begin to boil over, and Parisian delicacies beyond flaky pâtisseries tempt her better judgment, April knows that both she and Marthe deserve happy finales.

Whether accompanied by croissants or champagne, this delectable debut novel depicts the Paris of the Belle Epoque and the present day with vibrant and stunning allure. Based on historical events, Michelle Gable's A Paris Apartment will entertain and inspire, as readers embrace the struggles and successes of two very unforgettable women.

378 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2014

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About the author

Michelle Gable

12 books1,387 followers
Michelle Gable is the New York Times Bestselling author of A PARIS APARTMENT, I'LL SEE YOU IN PARIS, THE BOOK OF SUMMER, and THE SUMMER I MET JACK.

Michelle grew up in San Diego and attended The College of William & Mary, where she majored in accounting, as most aspiring writers do. After a twenty-year career in finance, Michelle now writes full-time. She lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, with her husband, two daughters, and what is quickly becoming a menagerie: one cat, one bunny, and a lab/jindo mix recently rescued from the dog meat trade in Thailand.

Michelle can be reached at www.michellegable.com or on Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest at @MGableWriter.

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5 stars
3,831 (23%)
4 stars
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3 stars
4,639 (28%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,617 reviews
Profile Image for Sandy.
656 reviews22 followers
May 13, 2014
Well, I'm obviously in the minority here, but the only reason I stayed with this book was the Paris setting. I was intrigued by a story about an appraiser of furniture for an auction house and a mysterious Paris apartment, but April Vogt did not appeal to me as a character at all. I found her too self- absorbed for my taste and her obsession with Marthe Florian seemed contrived. The flashback sections provided by Marthe's journal entries held the same flatness for me. I just couldn't work up the emotional involvement I would need to enjoy a book.
Profile Image for Holly in Bookland.
1,075 reviews438 followers
September 1, 2016
Just really didn't like the characters, which kept me from liking or caring about what happened to them. Loved the premise and looked up Marthe de Florian after reading this book. Such an interesting life she would have lived. I hadn't known about her apartment being locked for 70 years, which I can only imagine what that apartment must have held. Unfortunately, this book just didn't hold my interest. The word provenance was used entirely way too much, very quickly became annoying. April was also very annoying, well, all the characters just didn't do a thing for me.
51 reviews
June 29, 2014
This book had a lot of potential. Then it didn't.

What Went Wrong:

-April: As usual, a shitty protagonist with non-existent character depth; selfish in 900 different ways and bitchy about it. April is supposed to evaluate the furniture for this abandoned apartment in Paris for it to be auctioned and all she does is get hung up on the original apartment owner's private diaries. This would be okay if she actually did her job, but nooo, April only does 3 things: Read the diary, burp champagne and cheese (seriously why the fucking CONSTANT mention of her burping??? EXPLAIN)and pursue the only viable male around; Luc. She talks about herself nonstop, does little to confront her one-time cheating husband, encourages the advances of someone she's known(and instantly disliked) for like 2 days and then gets everything she's wanted done for her automatically + receives praise for a job she hardly did. I hated April. I hated her sick obsession with saying French words; she just sounded like a person who can't wait to get out of her skin. I couldn't believe and had to reread the part where she explains that she had to change her clothes into something more acceptable to French society and how she read an article on how to 'look French'.I find that horrible. Is she so insecure about her origins? Are there actually articles that explain how to look French? Do people read them? Do people proudly explain that they are trying to look less like their cultures? Do people in the states wear anything conspicuously American? ALL of them? I know this is an insignificant point but really why? This is almost as irritating a slip as all those mentions of burping. There are more scenes in this book describing her restaurant visits, her trying to look and sound French moments and her diary-reading rituals than there are of her handling anything professional which just kills me.

The drama of April's mom's Alzheimer's:

Oh dear God. This is by far the WORST portrayal of Alzheimer's in a book. April abandons her family because her mom is sick and whenever anyone in the book mentions her mother she changes the subject in a way that makes it seem like her mother had died. What kind of daughter walks out on her mother when she's that vulnerable? What kind of daughter blames her father for caring about her mother? The kind that runs off to Paris, tries to 'look french', doesn't do her job, cares more about dead prostitutes than about her family, gets back at her cheating husband in kind and STILL gets praise.The only use of mentioning Alzheimer's in this book is so April could get sympathy whimpers from sleazy Luc for like 10 seconds.

There's no winning in modern literature; April hates that her husband has cheated on her and told her about it directly. Had her husband not directly come clean about the affair, she would have hated him forever and claimed that he had lied by omission, had he cheated again, she would have killed him and wailed about it in 200 or more pages;but what do we get? blame AND deliberate romance/ one-night stand with Luc WITHOUT coming clean to her husband- what is this book trying to tell its readers?
April lives half her life secretly (and probably openly if her behavior is any indication) blaming her father for 'abandoning' her by caring for her sick mother; had he abandoned them/ died/gone off with another woman/ drunk his pain away/ dumped the mother in a caring home alone, we would have never heard the end of it.I'm just starting to get tired of literature (if that's what this is).

The thing is, the diary of Marthe is well-written and even endearing at times, certainly her tragic existence is a lot more fun (sorry not sorry) to read about than April's half-hearted attempts at living a life. I just don't understand why the author interjects this absolutely superfluous romance of April and Luc, and April and Troy, and April and April. I just didn't care if April lived or died. Really.

Profile Image for Roberta.
1,135 reviews9 followers
November 11, 2014
I'm so disappointed in this book. It sounded great, the reviews seemed good and I love to read anything (almost) about Paris.

What went wrong? It's an intriguing idea - the closed apartment full of treasures, the two story lines, the parrallels and mysteries between the mother stories, even the marriage angst. It could have, should have, been a great read.

But no. It made me reflect on how some writers can find the exact correct word or phrase to make a story come alive, how sometimes a sentence is written so well it almost hurts. It's also painful when the opposite happens; when the words and phrases are clunky, unsuited, forced. The writing in this novel seems to be that of someone whose second and very new language is English.

It started early. A character "smirked" constantly even though it didn't suit the personality the writer seemed to be trying to create. Then other characters started to smirk and the word rapidly became a signature. Characters "thumped" down stairs, collapsed against building and used language, salty and otherwise, that just didn't suit them or the situation (Dude! Buddy!)

And the last few pages - so pat and trite, they were unreadable. Why did I? Read it that is? I'll never know.
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,235 reviews144 followers
May 15, 2022
When a great premise runs amuck— c’est ne pas jolie!!

I was looking for the other novel of a similar title when I stumbled across this on Overdrive. One look at the blurb and I was hooked!!

Forgive the bad high school French but I hung in with this book so much longer than I should have because the dual timeline fascinated me. (I remember the article about a similar real-life apartment that must have inspired this novel.)

Unfortunately the modern timeline was nothing but a mess— kind of like our heroine… and our Belle Epoch heroine devolved as well!

But that apartment, the City of Love and a certain French gentlemen gave me hope!

Ugh—I should have just left this apartment door closed!! “Fermez la fenetre… or is that the window? Lol”
Profile Image for Deborah Ledford.
Author 30 books166 followers
May 13, 2014
A bit of truth mixed with the imagination of a gifted author spotlights Paris past and present in this exceptional debut novel. Sure to be a bestseller, A PARIS APARTMENT captivated me from the first page. Every character and setting is crafted with the precision of a master artist.

The intriguing element of brilliantly composed 1890s Paris journal entries (written by a most fascinating female character) adds a layer of intrigue as the story weaves leading lady April Vogt’s contemporary journey as a Sotheby’s furniture specialist seamlessly with the escapades of a renowned courtesan who became the subject of Belle Epoque master, Giovanni Boldini’s recently discovered masterpiece.

It wouldn’t be fair to pin down an overall genre for this fresh and inventive piece of literature, however the gamut ranges from literary to historical to mystery. Ms. Gable’s writing style is bright, fresh, original—a talent I look forward to putting at the top of my list for future releases.
Profile Image for Shannon.
266 reviews10 followers
June 3, 2014
I was a history major as an undergrad. There's a reason for that: I love history, in all its forms. I enjoy conjecture in my history, too, so long as its based on evidence. What I don't like, however, is when a fictional story is spun around someone who actually lived. That's what happened here.

Of course I'd heard about the apartment in Paris that had been closed for 70 years and was discovered just a few years ago. What an incredible find! And I remembered that a valuable painting had been found there. What I didn't remember, however, is the name of the apartment's original inhabitant, nor did I remember the names of the people who examined the apartment's contents. Michelle Gable did, though, and they're all here...only they aren't.

Was Marthe de Florian truly the illegitimate daughter of Victor Hugo? Did she work for the Folies Bergere? Did she have an affair with Giovanni Boldini, the artist who painted her? Did she have an illegitimate child with the spouse of Hugo's legitimate granddaughter?

There was a story there, in the actual apartment. Did Gable have to make one up? Couldn't she have imagined a different apartment, a different (fictional) person? Why be so...well, lazy? She's a good writer, of that there is no doubt. I enjoyed her writing style tremendously. But I couldn't get past this issue of real people being given a false history. What's the point? Have all the good ideas been used?

Another quibble: April, the modern-day protagonist, is quickly attached to Marthe's story, which she learns via Marthe's journals. Too quickly. So much so that, within a day, she's crying over the fact that Marthe's collections won't be treated in the way that April believes they should be. I understand that April is written to be emotional, to be someone who displaces her emotions to avoid dealing with the things that truly matter - her crumbling marriage, her mother's health - so this makes sense, but it's still off-putting to come across her emotional instability so quickly.

Finally, when April first beings reading the journals in her own Paris apartment, she does so over wine and cheese. Sorry, but nobody who knows anything about rare manuscripts, or late 19th-century paper, would ever do such a thing. Cheese is oily, wine can spill and stain, and the paper from this era tends to be brittle. It just wouldn't happen.

I was left wondering where Gable did her research. Was she advised at all? She's a good storyteller, and it appears she knows turn of the century Paris history, but how? There were no acknowledgments of having spoken with librarians or visited research facilities. I'm just left with a bunch of holes.

Maybe is shouldn't matter so much, since this is fiction. But this was a real person. Isn't she owed more than this?

2.5 stars, rounded to 3
Profile Image for Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews.
1,080 reviews1,412 followers
February 13, 2017
Paris in the late 1800's​ during the Belle Epoque​, antique furniture and paintings, and journals from an apartment's original inhabitant. All of these things made A PARIS APARTMENT a book that will keep you glued to the pages.

Who wouldn't want to go to Paris? April was an art history major and an auctioneer. When her boss told her she would be going to Paris to put value on an apartment's contents that had been closed up for 70 years, she couldn't pass up the chance even though her marriage was a bit rocky.

When April found the journals of Marthe de Florian, they made the apartment’s contents even more valuable and the book quite enticing. The journals told about Marthe de Florian's life and her connection and relationships with artists and other famous people.

Famous people such as Victor Hugo and Giovanni Boldini were part of the book's intrigue. Marthe de Florian had quite a colorful life.

A PARIS APARTMENT was a bit rough getting started, but once the journals were found, they and the Parisian atmosphere ��drew you into the era and its living style.

​A PARIS APARTMENT is based on a real apartment and a real person. Ms. Gable did a great deal of research and weaves the story so masterfully that you don't even know it is history, but it definitely revealed a wonderful hidden part of Paris.

For a debut novel, the writing ​and storyline were marvelous. A PARIS APARTMENT has beautiful, descriptive writing, and the journals made it oh so good.

April’s rocky marriage seemed to be a side story, but the apartment, its contents, and the journals are historical aspects that I thoroughly enjoyed and what kept me reading.

The ending was marvelous as April met an eighty-seven-year-old family member of Marthe de Florian who fills in the gaps of Marthe’s life.

ENJOY, and don't give up too early. :) 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Book Barmy (Bookbarmy.com).
112 reviews3 followers
March 31, 2015
I admire any first time author who has the courage and fortitude to keep writing and get a novel (any novel) published, so it is with mixed feelings that I must tell you I tried to look at this debut from several different viewpoints, but there is no getting around my disappointment.

Perhaps I had unrealistically high expectations - what a great story could be told -- the unopened apartment, the story behind the painting, Marthe and the time of the Belle Epoque. Then contrast that with the modern-day story of the antiques experts who must have been agog at the opportunity to research the priceless antiques and delve into Marthe's journals.

The actual Marthe started out as a bartender at the famous Les Folies Bergères, became an elegant courtesan known for having famous lovers, including a few prime ministers, a French president and the artist Boldini. Marthe left the apartment to her granddaughter, Madame de Florian, who shuttered the apartment and fled Paris at the start of WWII.

So,I was seriously excited to open this book and settle in for a good read.

The chapters alternate between Marthe de Florian's story told through fictionalized diary entries and April Vogt, a current-day American furniture expert from Sotheby’s who is called to Paris to help prepare the contents of the apartment for auction.

Marthe's storyline was at times fascinating and the author (thankfully) took much from her actual life -- how she created her name, her elegant persona and how she dug herself out of a brothel into the high class society during the Bell Epoque. In contrast, the modern day story of April Vogt reads like poorly written chic-lit. I found my self slogging through April's chapters and only somewhat enjoying Marthe's.

There is some magical writing - the description of the famous chandelier at Les Folies Bergères is wonderful. The Paris setting(s) are beautifully and deliciously described. However, Ms. Gable stumbles in re-telling Marthe's story, her diary entries seemed staged and she lets modern day language creep in. Sadly April is completely one-dimensional, so much so that this reader ended up disliking her character and her storyline was so predictable that I found myself imagining other outcomes. The novel borders on the raunchy and is written with such tactlessness that I cringed for the real Marthe de Florian. I found the ending almost ridiculous and in need of major editing - or perhaps, even completely deleted

Sigh -- The Paris Apartment gets many 4 and 5 star reviews on both Goodreads and Amazon, so I am in the minority here. (Perhaps you'll like this novel - go and seek it out if it interests you.)

Unfortunately, I wanted more -- more richness, more depth, better writing - not this breezy and shallow version of what in reality must have been a fascinating story. The discovery of the forgotten apartment and its contents, the true life story of Marthe de Florian -- they deserve a more intelligent telling

** SEE ALL MY REVIEWS at http://www.bookbarmy.com
Profile Image for Melliott.
1,447 reviews81 followers
July 12, 2014
This book was a disappointment to me. I adored the concept--an apartment is found in Paris that hasn't been opened for 70 years, and a furniture curator from New York gets to go spend a month there, going through it, working with Sotheby's to put together an auction for the heirs. Journals are discovered in the apartment, written by the former occupant, and the book is told from two points of view--the owner of the things and the cataloger of the things. And, oh, set in Paris of the late 1800s and 2014.

But. I found the writing repetitive and convoluted. The main character is irritating in most aspects, and I also disliked many of the other characters. The story has an arc, and then kind of peters out with a soft resolution. I loved all the details about Paris; but setting alone just can't make a book. I gave it three stars for effort, but really it's probably 2.5.
Profile Image for Diana Stoyanova.
604 reviews129 followers
June 29, 2021
3.6 ⭐

Имам тази книга от години, толкова дълго, че бях забравила за съществуването й. Пренареждайки библиотеката си, установих, че е останала непрочетена. Нещо, което рядко ми се случва. И ето, най- накрая, дойде и нейния ред...
Не се учудвам защо съм купила книгата навремето. А именно, защото тя съдържа онези елементи, които ме притеглят към определено четиво- реално събитие, в съчетание с тайнственост около него.
Не мога да кажа, че историята блести с дълбочина и притегателна стилистика, но и не мога да отрека, че беше интересна.
Сюжетът ни връща назад във времето, в навечерието на Втората световна война. Млада жена( Лизет, внучка на куртизанката Март дьо/де Флориан) набързо напуска Париж, изоставяйки наследствен имот в опит да избяга от опасността. Годините се нижат, а апартаментът продължава да пустее. След смъртта на наследницата, жилището е отворено и заедно с него се отваря тайнст��ената врата към изключителни находки.
Ейприл е от Ню Йорк и е експерт по старинни мебели. Животът й е подреден, поне така изглежда на пръв поглед. Има всичко, за което е мечтала. Само копнежът й да посети Париж още тлее в сърцето й. До един момент, в който нейното експертно мнение я изпраща именно там, в онзи изоставен апартамент, в Париж, където тя открива ценни реликви, а покрай тях и осъзнаването, че всъщност животът й е пълен хаос. Тя е запленена от атмосферата в жилището, от старинните красиви мебели, но един предмет я притегля с голяма сила- картина на млада жена в розова рокля. Оказва се, че това е необикновено платно, нарисувано от известният художник Джовани Болдини, което е вдъхновено и посветено на медмоазел Март Дьо( де) Флориан( реално картината е открита през 2010г. и впоследствие продадена за внушителната сума от близо 3 млн евро).


Ровейки се из вещите в апартамента, Ейприл се натъква на дневник, на самата Март, в който открива вълнуваща история за елита на Париж през 90-те години на 19в. Всъщност дьо Флориан е свързана по много интересен начин с Виктор Юго и в книгата се разнищва също така и тази взаимовръзка. Дадена е схема (родословно дърво), която е много полезна и любопитна.

Както обикновено, четейки книги, които се основават на реално събитие, си набавям допълнително информация. Покрай това се запознах с живота и творчеството на Джовани Болдини, както и прочетох истинската история на апартамента, разходих се виртуално из него.


От тази гледна точка, " Парижкият апартамент" е не само интересно четиво, но и много обогатяващо.
Profile Image for Mo.
1,626 reviews163 followers
July 7, 2016
What do you do when you are reading a dual timeline story, and you love one of them and are bored to tears by the other one? How do you rate the book?

The author took what could have been a fascinating true story and blew it. Not only did she play fast and loose with historical facts, but she fleshed out the present day story with an onslaught of unrelenting angst from the main character. Will she, won’t she… can she, can’t she… should she, shouldn’t she… could she, couldn’t she… blah, blah, blah. Wow, what a drama queen April was. For the love of God, get over yourself!

I came here to read the story behind the apartment, not about some annoying woman’s marital woes. I ended up doing quite a bit of online research and enjoyed that quite a bit. Here's just some of it:

Portrait of Marthe de Florian

A thick layer of dust covers everything.

A time capsule of the Belle Epoque, with damask on the walls, Louis-style painted furniture and Oriental rugs

The formal dining room was still fully stocked with glassware and pots and pans

A beautiful vanity under a thick layer of dust

A stuffed ostrich, Mickey Mouse and Porky Pig
1 review
April 28, 2014
This book hooked me from page one -- and I ended up staying up almost all night in order to finish it. I loved the story line and the clever imagining of how that apartment in Paris came to be locked away, seemingly forgotten. It was so clever and well done. I was quickly taken in by April's story and her own personal pains, only to have Marthe's layered on top of that. And this is a first-timer? I look forward to seeing what Gable comes up with next!
Profile Image for Judy Collins.
2,677 reviews375 followers
May 10, 2017
A PARIS APARTMENT by Michelle Gable, a fantastic debut novel, making you yearn to return to beautiful Paris, and all the French has to offer. From the inviting front cover to its escape within the journals of the former owner, Marthe de Florian in the 1900s, and the engrossing mystery – A winner!

April, works for the auction house Sotheby’s, as a continental furniture specialist, and travels to Paris to evaluate the contents of an apartment which have been vacant for over seventy years. She also wants to escape her own life and her marriage, which is in shambles (like the apartment).

Instead of concentrating on the furnishings, she is obsessed with the discovery of this charismatic woman, and the secrets she held. However, as April learns more about Marthe’s life, she has to take inventory of her own life and control.

With the help of a somewhat appealing solicitor, April begins to uncover the truth about the owner of the apartment, and why it has been kept locked for so many years. Alternating between Belle Epoch and modern-day Paris, the novel is quite engaging for both readers of historical and contemporary fiction.

You have to love dual narratives which cross time and generations. With April in the present, suffering from her husband’s infidelity and a bad marriage, and Marthe de Florian (1800s), orphaned with determination to rise above her status – both these women’s stories connect with complex relationships.

What is not to love about alluring Parisian life . . . Paris? From the beautiful setting, French bakeries, croissants, fine wine, cheeses, coffees, crepes, champagne, art, history, antiques, culture, romance, and architecture . . . Inspired by true events, a delectable and engaging debut novel about two unforgettable and extraordinary (past and present) women, their struggles, and successes.

Having been a fan of Michelle Gable on Goodreads with her insightful reviews – her writing style is captivating, as reflective in the charming, A PARIS APARTMENT --an author you most definitely will want to follow!

Michelle, LOVE, LOVE, your website, and front cover . . . STUNNING! http://michellegable.com/


Look for Michelle's upcoming I'll See You in Paris Coming Feb 9, 2016!
Profile Image for Morgan .
872 reviews149 followers
November 24, 2021
Having heard the fascinating story about the Paris apartment found untouched since 1942 I could not have been more eager to read this book.

Told in two parts: (1) the apartment, its contents and its owner and (2) the expert furniture appraiser from New York, April Vogt, sent to see to the cataloguing of the items for auction.

The sections dealing with the apartment and Madame de Florian are for the most part taken from history. Her story unfolds through journals found in the apartment, and are made to be intriguing and entertaining. Even knowing the author was writing fiction, I liked what she did with the facts. Despite some writing gaffes with the use of unfortunate words and phrases here and there, this being a debut novel I can certainly let it pass.

Paris itself is depicted beautifully and for one who has never been I truly enjoyed the descriptions.

The problem arises with April's present-day section of the book. I could not warm to April. In these sections the writing changed to what I would consider silly chick-lit. For a VERY well-educated woman, April Vogt, French and Continental Furniture expert, she simply whines her way through her marriage, family relationships, her job, and a fling that absolutely everyone who got to page 24 would have seen coming.
*Read book & wrote review in 2014*
Profile Image for Melanie.
390 reviews34 followers
November 28, 2015
When I started to read this book, I did not first look at the author's page - how silly I was! The story is based on a real apartment, real people, real struggles, and life in the Belle Epoque.

The novel takes an auction investigation into the past lives of a demimondaine, Marte de Florian, whose friends and loves included the artist Giovani Boldini, Marcel Proust, and others whom the reader will recognize. April Vogt, sent to Paris by Sotheby's to assess the contents of a long-sealed apartment, finds Marte's detailed diaries, which are both scandalous and heartbreaking. As she reads them and uncovers more of Marte's life, her own struggles become more complex, and yet more authentic, since both women had absent mothers who left tangled questions behind for their daughters.

I loved this book - the descriptions of Paris, with its ever-changing light, excellent food, and love of its own history, make me want to go there even more, with this book guiding at least some of my steps.

This is one book I will re-read, slower next time, to properly savor it all. Before you read it, check out the author's Pinterest pages - I promise that they will make your time even more enjoyable.
Profile Image for Tiffany.
9 reviews21 followers
May 10, 2023
I went to the library looking for the author's newest book, which they did not have in stock, and saw this one and thought I'd give it a try. What a delight! It's so nice to have no expectations for or knowledge of a book and come away completely surprised and happy.
I enjoyed this book so much. It's not a deep novel but completely pleasant. It delves hundreds of years into Paris's past and surrounds you with detailed descriptions by way of journal entries. I enjoy historical fiction and like when I'm intrigued enough about the events or people to hit up Wikipedia, which is exactly what I did with this novel. I was pleasantly surprised to find the majority of the information true. It's such a surreal story that it seemed more likely to be creative liberty than true history! This fact made me like it even more. This story NEEDED to be told and I'm so happy to have discovered it, all by accident.
The tone and story are light and fun - reminiscent of a romantic comedy movie. It was a breeze to read and I enjoyed both parts of the story - the present day and the past. Loved the way that the stories intertwined in the end. I know this is a story that will stay with me. Reminded me that it doesn't always have to be a deep or serious story to make a lasting impression.
Looking forward to reading more from this talented author.
Profile Image for Karina.
849 reviews
March 8, 2023
And it gets worse. Boldini is suddenly off my charms. He won't even acknowledge me! I've knocked on his door. No answer. I've left notes asking him to call on me, at home or at the Folies. No response. I've waited in the alley behind his studio, which resulted in him tracking down a gendarme to accuse me of assault. (PG 212)

The story was told in the present with the past being a diary. I didn't love the present story of April. I wanted to know more about 19th century Paris and Marthe de Florian. The abandoned apartment with so many expensive historical pieces was fascinating! I loved the name dropping of the Belle Epoque era. I had to stay up googling these people and learned a lot. It seems many of these were the original millennials. Lol. When I looked up Boldini, never hearing of him, I immediately loved his art. It is a rather beautiful style he had.

Michelle Gable did a great job doing the historical story telling. I only downgraded the stars because April's story didn't work for me very well. I found her annoying and constantly wanting her chapters to hurry up and end. Marthe de Florian is an interesting study case as a courtesan and I wish this book was solely about her.

Overall, good book.
Profile Image for Erin.
147 reviews
May 19, 2014
Loved this book by my talented friend Michelle Gable! AMAZING that this smart, finance executive is such a gifted novelist too.

You have probably heard about the real Paris apartment on which this book was based, which was closed up for over 70 years and stuffed with valuable art and antiques. This book is a fictionalized tale of how that apartment came to be. The strengths of this book are the character development (April & Marthe in particular), the full immersion in both modern day and 19th/early 20th century Paris, the dialogue (awesome!), and the plot development. The last quarter in particular was spectacular - Michelle managed to wrap up all of the various character storylines in a compelling, believable and unpredictable manner.

My only minor critiques were questioning why April was so taken with Marthe's journals early on (to the point of obsession) and the overuse of the term "provenance" throughout (although the author also pokes fun of this in the novel).

A great read for anyone looking to be swept away to Paris (and who among us isn't?) and in particular, I think this would make an ideal beach/pool read. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Aurora.
158 reviews3 followers
June 8, 2014
Only made it about halfway through, with effort, and tonight I stumbled into some pretty clumsy writing and refused to spend more time on it. How is this book's average rating almost a 4? The premise of the story has appeal, but I feel like it's already been done, and much more skillfully.
Profile Image for Vionna.
510 reviews2 followers
May 4, 2014
A melodramatic piece of fluff!!!
Profile Image for Christine.
941 reviews34 followers
February 27, 2015
The true story …

In 1942, just before the onset of WWII, Madame De Florian closed and locked the door to her apartment in Paris and fled to the south of France. Although all expenses and upkeep were paid, the apartment was never rented and Madame De Florian never returned to it. Almost seventy years later Madame died at the ripe old age of 91 and the existence of the apartment was discovered. As the auctioneer tasked with taking inventory of the contents opened the door he realized that he had just opened the door to a time capsule. Covered in dust and untouched for 70 years were priceless antiques, untold treasures and some items of pure whimsy.

From a newspaper account of the discovery … “Under a thick film of grime, investigators found themselves transported to early 1900s Paris during the height of the Belle Epoque, when the city was celebrating its cultural renaissance and de Florian's grandmother was the talk of the town. Books and newspapers lined the shelves, gold curtains draped the windows, and a luxurious dressing table held hairbrushes, perfumes, and candle stubs that seemed to await the return of a very glamorous noblewoman. Against floral wallpaper and wainscoting, a stuffed ostrich draped with a shawl stood above two pre-war stuffed animals—a very retro-looking Mickey Mouse and Porky the Pig. The formal dining room, with a low-hanging chandelier over the table, wood stove, and stone sink, was still fully stocked with glassware and pots and pans.

It was, one of the inventorying experts said, like “stumbling into the castle of Sleeping Beauty.”

By far the most extraordinary find was an unknown painting by Giovanni Boldini, which through letters and correspondence, was proven to be a portrait of Madame De Florian’s grandmother, a prominent Parisian les demimondaines.

The actual location of the apartment was never made public and more information has not been forthcoming.

The book …

This is the taking off point for Ms. Gable’s novel. April Vogt works as a continental furniture specialist and because she speaks French is dispatched, on behalf of Sotheby’s, to catalogue the contents of the apartment. She has no idea what she is about to step into. To everyone else it looks like an episode of Hoarders covered in dust and while workers drag items out to be sold as a lot at auction April discovers a hidden cache of letters and diaries. She is quickly immersed in the life of the enigmatic les demimondaines who once inhabited this apartment and takes the reader with her to late 19th Century Paris. As April learns more and more about the apartment’s former inhabitant she comes to realize that every piece in the apartment has a story and a history that make it unique … and very valuable.

I found the original story about the apartment fascinating and would most definitely read a non-fiction account of this discovery; Ms. Gable’s novel serves as the next best thing. She obviously did her research and has written an interesting work of fiction based on actual fact. It was the apartment that captivated me. I was less enthralled with April’s struggling marriage and possible love affair, or as a matter of fact with most of the characters, but they were the white bread that carried the caviar, so I had to take the good with the bad.
Profile Image for Danielle Vemeulen.
3 reviews2 followers
May 17, 2014
It was 4.5 for but loved the whole last third/half so much that I round up. It didn't grab me in the beginning, not to say I didn't like it but it wasn't until mid way that I needed to know more. It is a very real book. I really love reading a book and feeling that I learned something; a new point of view, an empathy for someone I wouldn't normally empathize and an understanding of a perspective different from what I may initially think or feel. Refreshing in many ways. Great read.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,181 reviews30.5k followers
April 12, 2016
The premise of this book was absolutely fascinating. I love that this place truly existed. Great storytelling, and I am looking forward to the author's next book, I'll See You in Paris.
February 16, 2021
Започвайки тази книга нямаше как да избягам от сравнението с Парижка тайна (Карън Суон) - и двете вдъхновени от реално събитие - откриването на апартамент в центъра на Париж стоял заключен 70 години и пълен с произведения на изкуството (и един препариран щраус). Сравняването беше само първоначално - и в двете книги имаше експерт по произведения на изкуството изпратени веднага на място, за да проучат намерените вещи. И в двете имаше непрекъснато редуване на минало и настояще и в двете кураторките имаха сериозни драми в личния си живот. Само, че събитията и откритията в Парижка тайна са изцяло плод на авторското въображение, а тук има известна доза придържане към фактите за апартамента (но само донякъде). Може би това кой коя книга ще хареса повече зависи от това, коя е прочетена първа във времето. Но за мен Суон е много по-добър разказвач, а нейната "версия" много по-вълнуваща. Парижкият апартамент също си има своите достойнства, но на моменти ми доскучаваше, а с някои моменти от съвременната история не бях съгласна (темата за изневярата). Ейприл заминава за Париж като експерт-оценител на старинни мебели малко след като е разбрала, че съпругът й й е изневерил и не се знае дали бракът й ще оцелее. Попадайки в апарта��ента с толкова много произведения на изкуството, тя е запленена най-вече от една картина. (Това разминаване малко ме дразнеше, че експертът е по мебелите, а я интересува само картината, спокойно можеше да е експерт по изобразително изкуство.) Картината е истинска и когато в реалността е отключен апартамента, тя е шокирала света, защото е картина на известният портретист от Бел епок - Джовани Болдини, а никой дори не е предполагал за съществуването й. Изобразявала млада жена, за която се разбрало, че е известната куртизантка от същия период Март дьо Флориан, известна с множеството си любовници сред високите етажи на политиката или изкуството, включително Болдини. Тук вече авторката е развихрила въображението си вмъквайки в историята дневниците на Март с пикантни подробности от светския и любовния й живот. (никъде не открих потвърждение на описаното, животът й е бил малко по-различен) Смятам обаче, че когато се намесват имена на известни личности (дори такива живели преди сто години) е малко неуместно ролята, която им се отрежда да е свързана с нещо скандално. Всеки, който прочете книгата ще прецени за себе си, но аз лично си мислех, че случилото се е било до голяма степен така както е описано в дневниците (които дори не са съществували в действителност) и когато след ровене в интернет нещата не се потвърдиха, донякъде бях разочарована. Освен това няма Бележки на автора, където да е обяснено кое как е всъщност и до къде е реалността и от къде започва измислицата. Иначе самите дневници донякъде бяха скучни, дълги пасажи от тях ми бяха излишни. Паралелната история в настоящето на места беше по-интересна, на места по-драматична, но като цяло и тя не се разви по мой вкус и всичко ми стоеше недовършено. Като цяло съм доволна от прочита на историята, заради отделни исторически аспекти, които ми бяха интересни, но не мога да дам повече от 3-3,5*
Profile Image for Sidonia.
304 reviews49 followers
March 26, 2017
La inceput titlul nu m-a atras, sincer arta nu imi place pentru ca nu o inteleg, insa m-a atras coperta si cuvantul Paris din titlu. Am fost fermecata si cucerita iremediabile de lumea Marthei de Florian, de Parisul din la Belle Epoque, de demi-mondaine, de arta, de cafenele , de strazile Parisului. Mi-a placut si April cu toata framantarea ei interioara, si cele doua plauri temporale curg foarte frumos, nici nu iti dai seama cand se face trecerea de la unul la celalalt. E o carte care te transporta in alte vremuri, si desi incepututul e putin greoi care nu promite prea multe, daca ai rabdare, descoperi ca are tot ce ii trebuie pentru o lectura surprinzatoare: mister, secrete, legaturi de familie, iubire si tradare. Nu stiu de ce persoanele care tin un jurnal, mi s-au parut intotdeauna misterioase, sincere, mereu am vrut sa le descopar secretele cele mai intime asternute pe hartie, fara perdea, asa ca jurnalele Marthei mi-au placut nespus. O recomand.
Profile Image for Sarmīte.
526 reviews12 followers
July 7, 2020
Interesanta grāmata. Sākumā nekādi nevarēju "ielasīties" un vietām traucēja liekvārdība, protams, arī dažas sižeta līnijas jau aizvilka uz labākajiem lubu romāniem, BET! Kas man patika, un ļoti, un kāpēc iesaku šo grāmatu izlasīt - pirmkārt, ticams skatījums uz (vai - no) Belle Epoque Parīzē, demimondas, uzdzīve, mīlestība utt. Otrkārt - nedaudz Belle Epoque noskaņas mūsdienās - dzīve ir jādzīvo, jāpārstāj baidīties, neesam perfekti utt. Un vēl - interesanti, ko nākotnēs cilvēki - nu pēc gadiem 100, teiksim - domās par mūsu ieradumiem, sadzīvi utt. Mēs tagad šausmās saķeram galvu, zinot, kas bija kādreiz kosmētikā - kaut vai tas pats slavenais svina krēms - bet iespējams, nākotnes cilvēki šasmināsies par kaut ko, kas šobrīd šķiet pilnīgi normāli. Un papildu bonuss par normālu galveno varoni, ar viņas šaubām, neziņu, šampanieti :)) un to, ka var un vajag uz lietām un notikumiem paskatīties savādāk, un var izrādīties, ka velns nav tik melns, kā mālē, jebšu - par to nav vērts pārdzīvot! La vie est belle:)
Profile Image for Milena Tasheva.
397 reviews232 followers
February 20, 2017
Горе-долу откакто бях на петнадесет твърдо вярвам, че всяко момиче трябва да поживее в Париж. Едва ли има друг европейски град (не казвам световен, защото по света все пак има градове като Ню Йорк, Лос Анджелис, Хонг Конг, Токио и Сингапур), който да е толкова свързан със себепознаването и израстването в чисто личностен план. Париж е обещание – там никой не е обикновен, самотен или нещастен. Париж е заклинание – в момента, в който се озовеш в магическите му очертания, ти се преобразяваш. Ставаш по-красива, по-изискана, по-загадчна. За съжаление, Париж все още е скъпо удоволствие… Предполагам, че всеки компенсира липсата на достатъчно френски шик в живота си по различен начин – някои учат френски, други се учат да правят макарони (не със сирене, говоря за онези малки, шарени, симпатични сладки), а аз… аз чета книги за Париж.
Нямаше как да пропусна „Парижкият апартамент“ (изд. „Софтпрес“). В първия момент заглавието малко ме подразни, нима след любимият ми „Виенски апартамент“ някой смее да си позволи да напише книга, използвайки подобно заглавие? Когато отвсякъде започнаха да изскачат истории за намерените в апартамента съкровища, за странната и чудна съдба на Март дьо Флориан, любопитството ми наделя и в една мързелива неделя се потопих сред страниците на дебютния роман на Мишел Гейбъл.
Неделята премина в понеделник почти неусетно и ме завари неподготвена за работната седмица – мислите ми често бягаха към Март, Емили и претъпкания със съкровища апартамент, останал затворен близо седемдесет години. Честно казано, в началото Март е толкова възхитителна, а животът й – толкова вълнуващ, че прекъсването на нейните дневници и завръщането в днешната реалност бяха направо дразнещи. Още повече, че проблемите на Ейприл ми се струваха обикновени, скучни и ежедневни в сравнение с раздираното от драми битие на Март.
Всъщност не е така. Ейприл е толкова пленена от дневниците на Март именно заради собственото си минало и трудният период, през който преминава в брака си. Те й осигуряват алтернатива, бягство от света, в който тя е длъжна да се посвети на работата си, да я използва като лек за проблемите си. Дневниците на парижанката от бел епок са крачка отвъд собствения ти свят, възможност да погледнеш в чуждия – където проблемите с любовта, работата и изневерите са поставени в съвсем различна светлина.
Препълненият с вещи апартамент, изоставен в началото на нацистката окупация, крие много тайни – защо от всички вази, чекмеджета и тайници изскачат визитките на най-знаковите личности, обитавали Париж в началото на ХХ век? Откъде Март, обикновена барманка във „Фоли Бержер“, е имала средствата да си позволи всички скъпоценни вещи там? Защо нейната внучка Лизет е затворила апартамента, изоставяйки го за седемдесет години?
Някой отговорите на тези въпро��и Ейприл намира в дневниците на Март, други в разговорите с чаровния адвокат Люк Тебо, който е точно толкова френски и шарматен, колкото подсказва името му. Други няма да разберем почти до края на романа, а когато най-сетне стигнем до тях, те съвсем не са това, което сме очаквали.
По-важно е какво разбира Ейприл за себе си, докато чете дневниците на Март, рови из вещите й и доказва произхода им. Какво открива за връзката си със съпруга си Трой, с баща си и с отсъстващата си майка. Откритията й се изненадващи, особено когато осъзнава, че самата тя носи вина за емоционалното си отдръпване от всички, които се опитват да й бъдат близки.
„Парижкият апартамент“ е от онези книги, които взимат действителна случка – откриването на пълния със съкровища апартамент и портрета на Болдини – и го превръщат във вълнуващо литературно пътешествие. Изключително приятна за четене, тази книга ще ви накара да погледнете колко струва самолетният билет за Париж, да си сипете чаша червено вино и да помечтаете.
March 18, 2020
Michelle Gable's 2014 novel is for anyone willing to let a book show you where it will go. I settled at three stars but the sojourn was pleasant. "A Paris Apartment" popped up via Juliet Blackwell's "The Paris Key". Incredulously, an expensive suite closed for 70 years was discovered recently! This definitely would spark writers' imaginations! Until I indulge in facts, I don't know how many actual relatives Michelle presented, so I will describe this story fictionally.

A furniture expert examines this extraordinary time capsule; enthralled, as are we, with diaries from 1880s lady Marthe De Florian. It is unbelievable that her heiress did not use it. The latest heiress, herself elderly, is selling everything. Other than discussing marital uncertainty too frequently for this novel: the background of protagonist, April Vogt, failed to stick in any regard. She attributes her career to her father selling her mother's possessions for medical care and hoping to retrieve the dresser. The credulity of April "having nothing of her mother's" plummets the moment we meet her warm family. You sense that if she had admitted loving it, her father would not have sold it. After marrying Troy, her father need no longer be pressed for money; like borrowing a neighbour's car. Most importantly: you don't anguish for mementoes of a living person!

I loved the colourful Marthe, in her epoch and rooted for April's campaign, to introduce her as an important Parisienne meriting a solo historical auction. I felt we lacked stories about Marthe's acquisitions. Apart from the painting, we only read that she piled-up pieces. In difficult times, selling a mere few would have been lucrative. An opportunity was missed to create an exponentially more enchanting ambiance by weaving this story in a mystery-solving style. However, bravo to the heart in Michelle's treatise.
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