Hope in Paris is the debut novel by Donnalyn Vojta (Previously called Saved in Paris). This is another book I purchased from seeing on Instagram. I swear that’s the only way I buy books now. If I see it on there and the cover or review grabs my attention, I’ll buy it!
Anyways, I saw this book posted and a little bit of the description and thought, hey why not, it sounds different let’s give it a go.
I can honestly say that I have never read a book like this before. While I do love a good mystery or suspense novel, I gear more towards darker crime novels or true crime novels. I knew this one was going to bring me out of my comfort zone a little bit, and I was looking forward to that!
If you’re looking for a cute read, that is different but touches on some deep adult themes; I recommend you give this book a chance. I don’t think it’s necessarily for everyone, but if you have an open mind, I think you could enjoy it.
In this highly-rated first volume of the extraordinarily unique suspense series (for ages 16+), unexpected, sweet narrators tell how a young, educated Chicago woman, Kelly Donovan, must escape from her luxurious home to get away from her sociopath boyfriend, Mark Flannery, before he takes her to a woodsy cabin for a little “anniversary get-way.” She must plot, lie, and pretend to be happy before she can flee her relationship and her own home, alive. Unforeseen obstacles frustrate Kelly’s efforts to escape, and her family and friends, strangers to one other, must perfectly work together to help her live a life free from threat. The diverse group includes an insecure drama teacher, a brilliant pharmaceutical engineer, and an international businesswoman with a secret that comes in very handy at one critical point.
This story is uniquely narrated by inanimate household teddy bears, which, notwithstanding their immobility, have interesting thoughts and perspectives on the shocking events and intriguing relationships which form before their plastic eyes. These plush bears also get a healthy dose of an entertaining blooming romance when Kelly’s plight takes everyone overseas to Paris. While in France, more scheming, racing to stay steps ahead of Mark, and even physical violence ensue – violence which does not always involve a damsel in distress. To complicate matters further, some of the characters are not necessarily what, or who, they seem. Once the plot’s feverish pace decelerates, the group starts to feel some hope, but is the race really over? The genre-mixing mind-bending narration style makes this novel a sensational ride. Enjoy!
What I liked
The Plot – I thought the plot of this book was engrossing. Not only did you have a little bit of mystery thrown into it, but it was also a well thought out, and it progressed well over the course of the novel.
Subject Matter – I also really liked and appreciated that Donnalyn decided to touch on some pretty big issues. This book has strong elements of domestic abuse and mental illness. While both these topics can be challenging to portray, I feel like she did an excellent job of it.
Characters – I enjoyed the characters in this book, both human and the teddy bears. I felt like they were relatable and fleshed out well. She did a great job portraying how a woman can get stuck in an abusive relationship, while not making her weak while showing how genuinely manipulative people can be. The teddy bears each had apparent personalities which I thought was cute.
What I didn’t like
Narrative Voice – I’m not going to lie, I struggled with the narrative of this book a little bit. It took me quite a few chapters to get on board with teddy bears being the voice of the book. The concept is unique, and after the first few chapters where I was like, what have a gotten myself into passed and I let myself become immersed in the story, it definitely got better. My only main issue with it was that while the book focused on adult themes, the narrative at times seemed to childish. There were times when the teddy bears would go on these tangents that I didn’t feel added to the story.
Have you read Saved in Paris? What did you think? Leave a comment below!