Sunday, July 21, 2013

BOOK: Paris to Die For by Maxine Kenneth

Paris to Die For by Maxine Kenneth, 337 pages

Paris in July

In 1951, a young Jacqueline Bouvier doesn't want to settle down with the Social Register stock broker her mother wants. She's looking for some adventure, so when a family friend from the CIA offers her a mission (you have to just go with it!) she jets off to Paris to meet with a potential Russian defector. Jackie is a natural, at attracting men, and getting out of bad situations. She even manages to evade an assassin intent on killing her, many, many times! He never graduates to more than a knife, and seems to be the worst assassin in the world. But just go with it!

And that is what I had to do everytime some unbelievable event happened - just go with it. I don't think this book is meant to be a true adventure/spy novel - it's a lot more fun than that. Books can't be judged for what they are not meant to be, as I kept reminding myself throughout the book. Jackie seems as intent on falling in love with her assigned French, dashing agent of the CIA as completing her mission. Hey, why hasn't another agent been assigned, since everything went wrong the first night? No, don't think about that. Hey, Jackie fell from a second floor building, she shouldn't have survived, no, don't think about that. Hey, Jackie and Jacques break into a famous art gallery, and evade all the local police and security? No, don't think about that.(Plus, post 9-11, security is much different) Jackie runs into every famous person in Paris, before they become famous. No, don't think about that.

You don't read this book for the character development, or the realism. You read this for a fun look at a debutante life in 1951, flitting around Cold War Paris, getting in (and miraculously out of) scrape after scrape. It was a fun tour of Paris, and many of the famous name drops are done from a looking back point of view, especially with Jackie. (After watching Maria Callas sing opera, she imagines the fight Maria would put up if someone took her husband, heh)