Paris is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay

Synopsis

“It’s been seven years since Chelsea Martin embarked on her yearlong post-college European adventure. Since then, she’s lost her mother to cancer and watched her sister marry twice, while Chelsea’s thrown herself into work, becoming one of the most talented fundraisers for the American Cancer Coalition, and with the exception of one annoyingly competent coworker, Jason Knightley, her status as most talented fundraiser is unquestioned.

When her introverted mathematician father announces he’s getting remarried, Chelsea is forced to acknowledge that her life stopped after her mother died, and that the last time she can remember being happy, in love, or enjoying her life was on her gap year. Inspired to retrace her steps–to find Colin in Ireland, Jean Claude in France, and Marcelino in Italy–Chelsea hopes that one of these three men who stole her heart so many years ago, can help her find it again.

From the start of her journey nothing goes as planned, but as Chelsea reconnects with her old self, she also finds love in the very last place she expected.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Review

Cover of Paris is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay
Cover image from Amazon

*light spoilers ahead*

This was my first Jenn McKinlay book but it will not be my last. I absolutely loved this book and how witty, emotional and thoughtful it was.

Chelsea Martin decides to retrace her year abroad by traveling to Ireland, France, and Italy in the hopes of connecting with the three men in each of those countries who she was romantically involved with seven years ago.

As a skilled professional at her job at the American Cancer Coalition, Chelsea struggles with actually stepping away from her work. Instead of taking a leave of absence, she and her boss decide that she will remain available while she is in Europe to advise her colleague, Jason Knightly, who will be taking over a big project for her.

Things I Loved

Setting

No matter where Chelsea was, be it home in Boston, Ireland, Paris, or Italy, the settings were so wonderfully described that I could clearly picture each location. The small Irish village, the shabby-chic Paris apartment, and the Tuscany winery really came alive on the page. They were the perfect locations for her to reconnect with her former self.

“Bad things happen to everyone. Full stop. The only grace to be found was in how you handled it. And so I took in the amazing lights rolling out to the horizon and the blue strobe light sweeping across the cityscape from the peak of the Eiffel Tower, and I thought that of all the places I might find my old self, Paris seemed the most likely. At least, I hoped so.

from Paris is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay

Chelsea and Jason

Chelsea is a very relatable character and my heart really went out to her. I knew she would land on her feet, I just wasn’t sure how it would all come together. She is smart, and witty, and going off to Europe with no firm plans might be intimidating to some people but she really was determined to find herself which was admirable.

Enter, Jason. I really loved Jason! From his super-chill attitude to his unprofessional Converse sneakers, he was the perfect foil to Chelsea. I thought it was so cute how concerned he was about Chelsea’s whereabouts and I was so excited when he showed up in France! His persistence in staying in contact with Chelsea both as a friend and to do the absolute best job possible on their work project was endearing.

As much as he wanted to assist her in her so-called quest, he was also pursuing their possible romantic connection. Things got real after his snafu with Jean Claude, just one of the many bumps along the way. I was very surprised by his background when he finally opened up near the end of the story, and it really sealed the deal that he and Chelsea had an undeniable connection.

Strong Theme

As I mentioned above, I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I guess I was expecting it to be more heavy on the comedy side of “romantic comedy” but there are so many layer within this story that really made it stand out to me. The themes of experiencing grief and learning how to move forward were strong throughout the story and I thought it was done very effectively.

Final Thoughts

I would highly recommend this book if you are looking for a funny and thoughtful read. I really enjoyed every minute of it. I am eager to read Wait for It which is the companion book, coming out later this year.

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