Title: Paris is Always a Good Idea
Author: Jenn McKinlay
Release Date: July 21, 2020
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Romance
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.
I’ve been in such a romance mood lately and I love books about traveling so I of course had to pick up Paris Is Always A Good Idea! The premise of it was cute. Chelsea Martin is retracing her exact European adventure from 7 years ago to find her re-find happiness. After the death of her mother her life has stood still while everyone else’s has moved one. She just can’t let it go though and thinks this trip will give her the final push she needs to move on herself and maybe find love.
I unfortunately had quite a few issues with this book. While I may have summarized it quickly above, that’s what I pulled from the chaos of it. Chelsea thinks falling in love will solve all her problems. She doesn’t want to discuss her grief but erase it. In order to find her happiness she wants to quit her job, the only thing that does bring her joy, to travel around Europe in under a month and maybe fall in love with an ex boyfriend. Because of course it never occurs to her that in 7 years they’ve moved on and become different people.
I couldn’t figure out her endgame because she was telling people this trip was for happiness but in her head we know she’s searching for love. Love can’t fix everything and her grief is never really explored. Instead it magically disappears in some weird moment? It was odd to say the least. I wish we’d spent more time discussing grief and Chelsea seeing how it’s effected her to the point where she’s a workaholic, has no friends and no romantic interest.
I mentioned that she also tried to quit her job. This made no sense to me since she didn’t even plan on being gone that long, she loves her job and then she worked through her entire vacation. Again, odd. Girl was a workaholic. Working for the Cancer Coalition sounded like an amazing and gratifying job albeit busy as heck so her trying to just up and quit didn’t seem to fit and could’ve been removed in all honestly since it didn’t effect the story at all.
Now for the good stuff; the romance. I immediately knew who the love interest would be and he did not disappoint. Spoilers ahead so be warned. It was an office romance (an office vacation romance?) and Jason was so adorable. They had the chemistry and I loved their scenes together. The shorty banter and sarcasm between them had me laughing at loud. Jason is truly why I kept reading this book and I enjoyed the scene where they truly opened up together about their losses to cancer. It was the only time Chelsea really discussed her mother and Jason’s loss was painfully raw. They were cute together though and I truly wish them the best.
The prologue had me cringing though and I truly wish I had skipped it like I’d wanted to. (More spoilers so skip to final paragraph if you wish!). We get to see Sherri’s and Chelsea’s dad wedding day. It was cute and Sherri made a lovely speech to Chelsea’s mom which was the perfect touch, but of course Chelsea ruined it. She proved to call Sherri “mom” which was so cringe and unnecessary like girl you are almost 30 years old you’ve been parented and are all grown up. I’m pretty sure you don’t need to take it to that level. Alas it was though and again I wish it had just been left out.
If you can get over the slight oddities and cringe of this book it’s actually quite enjoyable. Just don’t think too hard about it and go with the flow.