Paris. In rue Jacob a man braces himself against the cold wind on his way to the Fedex office. He was to send out four white envelopes delivered within the next twenty-four hours to four distant cities. As the man handed out the envelopes to a clerk and walked back out to the street, "he had no way of knowing that he had just set in motion a chain of events that would have far-reaching effects. Because of his actions, lives were about to be changed irrevocably, and so profoundly they would never be the same again."
Four women, four stories, four lives meandering to interweave under the romantic light of Paris. There's Alexandra, the set designer and a leading figure in New York's theater world; Kay, who marries, moves to Scotland and designs a successful line of clothing; Jessica, an interior designer based in California; and finally Maria, still in her native Italy continuing to work in her family's textile business.They used to be students at the prestigious Anya Sedgwick School of Decorative Arts in Paris. Under Sedgwick's caring and demanding guidance, their various artistic talents were developed to the fullest. Once best friends, they part enemies and after graduation go their separate ways, pursuing careers in different corners of the world. That is, until they received an invitation to celebrate Anya Sedgwick's eighty-fifth birthday.
Though I am not quite familiar with Barbara Taylor Bradford's body of work (I think I read Everything To Gain before but it was a long time ago and forgot what it was about), this has been considered a vintage Bradford book. The author's descriptive prose lets the readers envision the colors and texture of the scenes. There's romance, some mystery, women conflicts and of course, there's Paris.
The appealing thing on this novel is the idea of these women being accomplished in their own chosen endeavors and in the heart of it all, the wisdom of a beloved mentor whose presence echoes through their working years. But as much as I love the descriptions and the women in their places, something about it leaves much to be desired. I rather think that the great conflict which befell the friendship and ripped them apart is somewhat not exactly what you would have in mind.
Still, the lovely setting almost saves the story and the possible thought of a reconciliation between these ladies. That they have grown into strong and capable women, with a little help from the most endearing Anya, is without a doubt. It is a nice bit of light reading and an enjoyable one at that, rich of details and the decorative beauty of Paris.
Title: "Three Weeks in Paris"
Author: Barbara Taylor Bradford
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Published: 2002 Hardcover
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Rating: ♨♨♨ - Stories set in Paris is most often appealing. Settle in to to read about old loves, past angst, women in tailored pant suits and silk shirts, grace and celebration.