The Paris Key was a charming novel that allowed me to travel through the streets of Paris with Genevieve. When her marriage crumbled, Genevieve retreated back to Paris to take over the locksmith shop owned by her uncle. Initially, she basked in the fond memories of when her uncle taught her to pick locks as a child, but soon after her arrival, Genevieve applied that knowledge to actually operate the shop.
The best thing about this novel was the care the author took to describe the details of the French culture. Because Genevieve was an American, she stumbled over her use of the proper French words and was often surprised by the food her companions ordered. Her experiences with the language and the food complimented the locales she wandered through and led the reader through small neighborhoods and atop Notre Dame.
All that eclipsed the actual story, which dealt with heartbreak and loss. The story switched between Genevieve in the present and during her first trip to Paris twenty years before, and then also included a narrative of when her mother left her family and went to Paris. The author spent too much time describing events in the past and giving a background to each character rather than allowing them to do something in the story. The story moved along slowly, and 200 pages in, I still couldn’t figure out what the point of the novel was.
This wasn’t a romance, and certainly wasn’t a mystery in the general sense of the word. I was pretty bored, but really loved that Genevieve kept eating chocolate croissants and opening ancient locks.