Each book has been fascinating to read the other two are The Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable and The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman , and I love that each book is dramatically different from the others. Karen Swan tells a fascinating and compelling tale with the world of fine art as a background. The 4. The Paris Secret is a page-turner with a satisfying plot and well-drawn characters.
The ending was outstanding, and I certainly did not see the resolution coming. I highly recommend this novel — it is well worth the read. View all 5 comments. Synopsis: Somewhere along the cobbled streets of Paris, an apartment lies thick with dust and secrets: full of priceless artworks hidden away for decades. High-flying Fine Art Agent Flora from London, more comfortable with the tension of a million-pound auction than a cosy candlelit dinner for two, is called in to asses these suddenly discovered treasures.
As an expert in her field, she must trace the history of each painting and just who has concealed them for so long. Flora Skyes is an English art dealer, adviser as well as auctioneer and her mind revolves around her parents, her brother and art, in big bold capital letters, rather than indulging herself in romance or any kind of compassion with an opposite sex. So this career-minded woman lands up in Paris after her boss, Angus's frantic call to handle and find the originality as well as to verify the authenticity of some suddenly discovered artworks, including a rare piece of Renoir in an apartment hidden and tucked away in some forgotten alley in Paris.
That apartment belongs to Madame Vermeil's father-in-law, whose clear instructions say that the apartment and its contents can't be sold off if his wife is still alive. Soon Flora begins her investigation to find out about the hidden artworks and that stumbles her upon a dark Vermeil family secret, that can destroy the whole clan, and within no time, Flora finds herself getting allured to this compelling family, especially the mother-in-law and the two grand kids, Xavier and Natascha, and gets meddled into their dark family affairs.
After reading this reading, I was left with the thought that Karen Swan is an incredible writer, not just her writing is flawless, but her style of spinning the story is also polished and perfect. Firstly, my heart was left arrested by that enchanting and oh so Parisian! And needless to say, right from the very prologue, the story left me wanting for more and to know what will happen next.
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The author's writing style is eloquent and exquisite, laced perfectly with intense emotions and mind-blowing tension. The author narrates the story with the help of layers without giving away too much, but enough to make her readers to stay glued to the story line. The dialogues are convincing and free-flowing as well as articulate enough to help the readers comprehend or lose themselves into it. The pacing of the book is moderate, as this is the kind of book that readers need to enjoy in a subtle way.
The backdrop of Paris is bound to leave the readers awe-struck not only to those who have visited Paris but to also those who are yet to visit or haven't visited. The author has vividly captivated the charm, the perfect flair as well as the essence of a real Paris landscape, streets, restaurants, people, weather, flora as well as the fashion and the culture. The author has brought alive the city of lights with her fascinating words that strikingly portrays the city with its finest details for the readers to visually imagine it in their mind's eyes.
Apart from Paris, the author also depicts so many French cities with careful observation and in proper depth so that the readers can imagine and feel the change in the landscape. The characters from this book are extremely well developed, especially the central character, Flora, who is a no-nonsense heroine, who has a sharp mind like a detective and a fine eye like an artist. Her brave, careful and determined demeanor makes her a perfect role model for the book, who doesn't like to get involve in a love-drama but her caring nature towards this French family will make the readers sympathize and keep rooting for her till the end.
Well I was wondering that the book would be free of any cliched love stories, but anyhow, Flora eventually gets involved as she falls head-over-heels in the love with the badass guy from the book. The supporting characters are much better the central character, as each and everyone from that French family felt multi-dimensional and flawed to the very core, beyond their complex attitude and poshness.
In a nutshell, the story is perfect for a long afternoon escape read and with a glass of red wine, this is surely going to take you places with some intense family drama and brain-twisting and gripping mystery to keep you hooked into it. Verdict: Enthralling, riveting as well as romantic.. Courtesy: Thanks to the publishers from Pan Macmillan India for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. Jul 15, Irena rated it really liked it. I have a confession to make: I never understood the art. You can put me infront of the most phrased art work in the world, and I will just stand there, totally confused, forcing my brain cells to see the beauty everyone talks about.
I was never good at art class. I hated it. Therefore, when it comes to art culture, telling you that I am bad would probably be understate. Main theme of this book is the 3,5 stars to be precise. Main theme of this book is the discovery of an abandoned apartman full of paintings collected during World War II. You can imagine my reaction when everything about it was divulged, all those masters who stood behind those masterpieces. Yes, I was confused, but I also tried my best to keep up.
Although the name of this novel is The Paris Secret, Paris is not the only city Karen Swoon took us to in the adventure she created. We also got to visit London, Vienna and Antibes. However, not one of those places, Paris included, was explored enough to make me feel like I was there or like I was learning something new about those places.
Although the art theme was somewhat miss in my case, I found the story behind the main theme pretty fascinating. All those secrets that were revealed and consequences that came with their revelation gave interestingness to the story. I only wish that the love aspect took a bigger part of this book. I also wish that it was observed more and in my opinion stronger love feature is the one ingredient that missed. From all the characters in the book, there were only two I wanted to know more about: Xavier and Natascha. They were mysterious and I knew from the moment we met them that there is something about them, that there is more then meets the eye.
Although their characters have a part in this novel through the whole story, I honestly wish we got the chance to get to know them even better, especially Natascha. This is the second book by Karen Swan I read. It exceptionally makes me happy the fact that most of her books are taking part during Christmas or are Christmas themed, because I really, really enjoy reading Christmas stories. I would recommend The Paris Secret to everyone who loves art, who likes reading stories about secrets and who enjoys reading family prose.
Note: I got this book for free via Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review. Thank you Pan Macmillan. View all 19 comments. Nov 04, Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews rated it it was amazing. An apartment hidden for 73 years and forbidden by the owner to be known to anyone, but why?
The children didn't even know about it until the apartment was broken into. Once the apartment was revealed to the children, in comes Flora and Angus, well-known art dealers and auctioneers. And what a find in that apartment closed for 73 years Flora was in her domain and in her glory over this, but some things didn An apartment hidden for 73 years and forbidden by the owner to be known to anyone, but why? Flora was in her domain and in her glory over this, but some things didn't seem right with the Vermeil family - the children were obnoxious, and their parents seemed excited but a bit disinterested in the apartment and its contents.
Something else must be behind all of this. We follow Flora as she investigates the contents of the apartment and the path of sales of the Renoir from the painter to each seller. She came to a standstill when she found out that a dealer who dealt with the Nazis was the last recorded owner of the Renoir. If that was where it ended, no one would want the painting. Then when Flora went to Vienna to meet someone who had the companion painting to the Renoir, another surprise awaited her. It was a bit of mystery mixed in with history. I was impressed at how much research goes into checking the authenticity of paintings.
It actually was quite fascinating along with the excitement of recognizing the names of famous painters. This was my first book by Karen Swan and am sorry I have never read anything else by her. The story line is interesting, the writing is marvelous and very descriptive. The secret revealed in the ending pages was excellent.
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Apr 06, Zoe rated it it was amazing. Compelling, emotional and deliciously mysterious! This is a riveting tale that sweeps us into the glamorous world of art and takes us on a journey to find the true provenance of precious paintings that have been concealed for decades. The story is predominantly set in Paris during both the latter part of WWII, as well as present day and is filled with mystique, familial drama, heartbreak, secrets, deception, history, abuse, self discovery, exotic locales and of course a little bit of romance.
The p Compelling, emotional and deliciously mysterious! The prose is precise and vividly descriptive.
The Secret Swan
The characters are complex, independent and affluent. To me her books are like a cosy jumper, every time I pick one up I know I can snuggle down for the whole day and be immersed in a story that will captivate me, make me smile, probably make me laugh, and possibly even make me cry and this one was no exception.
Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. View all 3 comments. From the start, the story engrossed me as Flora, a fine art agent from London, arrived in Paris together with her boss to visit an apartment that has been locked since World War II. What secrets does the apartment have? Why has the apartment been locked and forgotten for so long time? But as Flora begins investigating the history of the paintings that are found in the apartment, she realizes maybe the apartment was left that way for a reason.
My Rating: 4. The neglected apartment reclaimed at long last. The past was stirring and shaking off the dust. The neighbours would soon know, then the city, until finally, when the sale was announced, the entire world. After seventy-three years of silence, the secret was finally slipping out. He ran hi My Rating: 4. He ran his hands through his hair, pulling so tight at the roots he gave himself a momentary facelift.
Flora was seated next to Sylvie, a seventy-six-year-old woman with the skin of a baby who proceeded to regale Flora with merry tales of her widowhood and, in particular, her current torrid affair with the butcher. My Review: Despite taking the required Art Appreciation courses in college, what I have actually retained and know about fine art could fit on a Post-it note, and the same could be said about French geography.
Google a few times for an assist. I was engaged by the premise and intriguing storylines but was captivated by her fluid writing style, cleverly tantalizing pace, and profoundly vivid descriptions. I was continually taken with her agile and sly deployment of unusual and unexpected items that were seemingly peripheral or inconsequential to the scene, yet were intricately detailed in such a vibrant manner that never failed to pluck at my curiosity or heighten my amusement and pleasure.
However, I was conflicted with the integrity of these rather contemptible characters as very few of them displayed admirable qualities, and I was looking hard hoping to find some, but thankfully that problem resolved during the final two chapters with several clever plot twists that caused me to blink and paved the way for a highly satisfying conclusion.
Sigh, Karen Swan has stealthy ninja writing skills… more, please. View 2 comments. Oct 20, Tara rated it did not like it Shelves: life-s-too-brief-for-bad-books. I'll tell you what The Paris Secret is. The Paris Secret is I realized that Ms. Swan is a former fashion editor and that her world then consisted of knowing different desi I'll tell you what The Paris Secret is.
Swan is a former fashion editor and that her world then consisted of knowing different designers as well as various other entitlements of a more rarified crowd than most people will ever become familiar with, but much like an emaciated model wearing a plus sized sweater, this book simply drowns in what I'm sure was intended to be descriptives for her characters and settings. Instead of acting as an accent to enhance and flesh out said characters and settings, they become lost and even replaced by them, to the extent that it becomes tiresome. Excess is the rule and not the exception here.
Everyone is rich, thin, beautiful, and has the ultimate in clothing, shoes, cars, or connections, even those that are deemed "ungettable" or "unobtainable", our heroine Flora and her clique of friends have to the point that it becomes meaningless and sadly, tedious to the point of pretension. It is not uncommon for Ms. Swan to write up to an entire paragraph to describe what Flora or someone within her group is wearing. Which is a great shame, since this story is based on some real events and uses the tragedy of what so many people lost during WW2 as it's backdrop.
I guess this book is written more for people who enjoy a good romance story than someone like me who is more interested in historical fiction. Still, there were some parts of this book that were entertaining and some even beautifully written descriptions of places that most of us will never travel to or see, and reading this piqued my interest in what happened to so many lost or stolen pieces of art during the Second World War. If only Ms. Swan had written her characters more believably instead of the two-dimensional ones we are presented with, because I would have liked to have become more connected and engaged with them.
One and a half stars out of five. Absolutely thrilled when I won this book in the Goodreads First Reads giveaway. This is the third book that I have read by Karen Swan that I have read. Up until earlier this year, I had never read any of her books, but that all changed when I found two in a local charity shop. I very rarely write what a story is about for fear of spoiling for others, but I do highly recommend.
Mar 21, MaryBeth's Bookshelf rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction , favorites , fiction. When "urban explorers" people who enter places they are not allowed find an apartment in Paris that has laid empty since WWII secrets are exposed and a family worst nightmare is realized. Flora Sykes works for an art agency and is called in to assess the hundred of pieces of art, sculpture, and objects found in an abandoned Paris apartment. We come to find out that the apartment is owned by the rich and high powered Vermeil family.
As secrets begin to unfold, a family is torn apart, and a part When "urban explorers" people who enter places they are not allowed find an apartment in Paris that has laid empty since WWII secrets are exposed and a family worst nightmare is realized. As secrets begin to unfold, a family is torn apart, and a part of history is brought to light. I don't want to say too much about this book because I don't want to spoil it for anyone.
Total page turner, I stayed up late into the night to finish it. It has everything I love - history, art, love. It left me wishing I could find an abandoned apartment in Paris myself mostly so I could live in it, but you know what I mean. The writing is sublime and the premise very inventive and engaging. It makes my favorites of list for sure! This book had a lot of potential but it came up a little short for me.
I thought the whole idea was fascinating, nothing like an abandoned apartment in Paris to grab my interest! I really enjoyed how the historical aspect was woven in as well, it really added something extra to the story. An apartment in Paris that has been sealed since WWII is finally opened and it contains a glittering array of priceless art works. Even more mysteriously another apartment is found owned by the same family. It contains one piece of art and it's very existence is a closely guarded secret. Flora Sykes a young and attractive art expert is hired by the family to bring the paintings to auction.
Complicating the matter is the fact that a large amount of undiscovered random paintings found in an apartm An apartment in Paris that has been sealed since WWII is finally opened and it contains a glittering array of priceless art works. Complicating the matter is the fact that a large amount of undiscovered random paintings found in an apartment from the era of WWII smacks of Nazi involvement. The family also has two obnoxious descendants who seem determined to make Flora's life as miserable as possible for no discernible reason.
If all that isn't enough Flora's thoughts are back home with her brother who is facing a charge of rape. As Flora investigated the paintings and comes closer to the truth she finds herself immersed in a love triangle as the secret of the Paris apartment threatens to destroy the Vermil family. It was very difficult to get into this book at first. Every chapter ended in a cliff hanger and the new chapter started on a completely different topic. Once the story finally settled in and stuck to a more progressive build up it got much better.
I was especially interested in the parts of the story as it related to WWII. I think the book could have been improved if it spent more time in the WWII period. Instead we only get a glimpse of the past through brief letters written by the patriarch of the family revealed at the end of the book. I think I would have enjoyed the story more if it had been told in two time periods allowing for more development of the characters in the WWII era. The real life discovery of an apartment not opened in 70 years was the inspiration for this story. While I am glad that I finally finished this book I think there are better novels written about this era.
Jul 30, Tracy Shephard rated it it was amazing. What a wonderful and beautiful tale. I just adored this novel. I love all things French and when the doors of Apartment number 8 were opened for me I just got lost in the dust, the beauty and the art. Along with Flora and Angus, I became engrossed in the Renoirs and the other priceless artifacts that have been lain untouched for 70 years.
I also have to admit that I Googled like mad at every piece that was described and not only did I enjoy the ride, I also learned quite a bit too. Karen Swan is a What a wonderful and beautiful tale. Karen Swan is a creative and brilliant storyteller. She weaves her tale in the most absorbing and thrilling of ways and this stylish and chic story is one that I just didn't want to end. Flora is a gifted and totally relate-able character and I loved her. The war and Nazi theme was interesting and somewhat sad, although this did add a lot to the 'feel' of the story.
It really made the book a thoughtful read. This book is the perfect summer read and one that will kept on my shelf and re-read.
A Swan's Secret.
Mar 02, Elizabeth rated it liked it Shelves: wwii , war. World War II, nazis, intrigue, secrets, romance, fine art, a stolen baby, a locked room—what a story! But despite the amazing content, I thought it was boring. Again, this is only my opinion, and it was only my own experience. That said, the story picked up about halfway through and got a lot better, and I enjoyed most of the rest of the book. I think with better editing this could have been a much stronger narrative. My thoughts: The plot, once it gets going, is really pretty good. There are plenty of twists and turns, and not every character is being honest.
The secrets are nicely set up. The whole book really fell apart for me with the storyline about the brother. The very first chapter introduces Flora, her brother, and their parents. Chapter one ends with him about to tell Flora. In chapter two, I wanted to know. If the main character is bothered by something, readers probably should know about it. A third of the way through, I still wanted to know. Half way through, I felt really distant from all the characters, but I was still kinda curious.
She was trying to sustain the tension, I think, but she killed it. She spends almost three quarters of the book struggling with some mysterious problem, so how she feels or what she does is never really described. She never came alive in the way that other book characters did for me. I have no idea what Flora would do in any circumstance.
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In fact, this book does something very unusual for a WWII novel: view spoiler [It turns an evil nazi into a sympathetic character. This book is like a picture that focuses on the wrong thing. Oct 22, Samantha rated it really liked it. Well written with good atmospheric passages which transport the reader into the heart of Paris, Vienna, Antibes and London. After a property has been broken into in Paris a long-forgotten apartment is discovered that contains priceless artworks dating back to Vichy France.
The building is owned by the Vermeil family who had no idea of the apartments existence until they are informed that the building has been broken into. Madame Vermeil is anxious to know what is in the apartment. We are introduc Well written with good atmospheric passages which transport the reader into the heart of Paris, Vienna, Antibes and London. We are introduced to Flora a fine art adviser and auctioneer who is sent to Paris to verify artworks that might be in the apartment, clearly these art artworks seized during the Nazi occupation which is why they were hidden away for so long.
Flora has to authenticate the artworks but can only trace them back to Franz von Taschelt, a Jew who appears to have swindled fellow Jews out of their collections during Nazi rule. Of course, under these circumstances no one wants to touch the paintings so the collections in terms of selling on is worthless. Flora is set up in Vienna in one of the Vermeil family homes to start cataloguing the collection and meets Xavier the owners son a brooding mysterious character who despite herself Flora is attracted to.
Well written characters, good story subject that takes us back in time to WW11 and the German occupation and secrets that span decades waiting to be discovered along with a romance thrown in for good measure. Lovely introduction to the art world that would be good holiday reading material.
A well deserved 4 stars from me. I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed this book. It probably could have been a lot bigger if there was more details thrown in but I thought the pacing was really good. I always like to learn things about what went on during WWII and now people survived.
I also love Paris so I enjoyed the international feel. I didn't even care that there wasn't much substance to Flora and Xavier's relationship but it made sense with the reaction they had to each other. Sometimes it happens very quickly.
ISBN 13: 9781848766129
The side story about Flora's b I really enjoyed this book. The side story about Flora's brother didn't make any sense until later in the book. I felt like it was thrown in there and then we were left hanging what his dark secret was that could ruin the family. I felt this book was all about Flora and how she reacted to different things happening in her life. The one thing that made me actually laugh out loud was when her boss said enough already, stop trying to quit.
I really enjoyed this book and I will be recommending it to friends and family. I judged this book entirely by its title. I have a weakness for all things French, and I love books set in France. I loved the concept of a secret apartment that hadn't been entered in 75 years. What mysteries would it hold? How would they matter today?
Black Swan (comics) - Wikipedia
The Paris Secret was inspired by the true story of a Paris apartment that remained untouched and unknown for 70 years. It was rediscovered in full of art and artifacts frozen in time. This is despite the fact that the report noted:. The total has already doubled from when the project was first suggested. The water lots for the marina are also leased by the City of Burlington. That lease runs out in Folks, this is an election year — municipal elections are October 22nd If you elect the same characters you will get the same result.
I urge you to raise your voices, find and support good candidates, and vote for change in the next municipal election. In my opinion, it stalls the plan because the Lasalle Park Marina Association cannot afford to build their project. They need public money to do it. Basically, Council hit the reset button on the entire project. The LPMA will continue to manage the marina, but they are no longer leading a marina expansion project. The City now has the responsibility to determine if a marina should continue to operate at Lasalle and, if so, what infrastructure will be needed there.
See the Council's decision below. I have posted the delegation I made on behalf of the Trumpeter Swan Coalition below the excerpt's from Ridge's report below. We would like to thank Gloria Reid from BurlingtonGreen who also made a presentation to the committee. This has been an extremely frustrating five years for us as a thorough public engagement and consultation process never took place and our concerns were always brushed aside.
In fact, the Ministry put many conditions on the project including an additional study and that a stakeholder committee be formed to include the Trumpeter Swan Coalition. All of that is now likely moot as the chance the project will proceed as the LPMA intended is nil. As CAO Ridge noted: the risks are too high; the marina has never been identified as a strategic priority for the Town; if the marina is funded, partially through government grants, that leaves less money in the pot for the city to use for other priority infrastructure projects. We are glad Council has been forced to bring this farce to an end.
But why did it take so long? Where was the due diligence? Why was there no thorough public engagement? We will continue to ask hard questions and put the concerns of residents before the Council. We will keep you informed. Thanks for your continued interest in this issue and support. Council Decision. Direct the City Manager to retain outside consultant services to complete the following:. Direct the City Solicitor and the Director of Parks and Recreation to undertake a review of the Joint Venture Policy JVP particularly with respect to the undertaking and funding of capital projects and report back on any recommended changes.
Finance Staff's Report Yanked From. Corporate Services Committee Agenda. Once again the opportunity for the public to have their say about the proposed permanent break wall and marina expansion at Lasalle Park is being thwarted! See the examples 1. I have attached the original Finance report page 20 to 29 of the original agenda. Please read it and keep this copy. In another twist to this story, the Hamilton Spectator is reporting that some secret negotiations are taking place between Hamilton who owns Lasalle Park , the City of Burlington who leases it and the Royal Botanical Gardens.
There is talk in the story about a land swap. Who knows what that means as this is all being carried out behind closed doors and away from the prying eyes of the public because who really gives a damn about what the citizens think anyway. If you are feeling frustrated and powerless at this point, please remember that we are just over two years away from the next election.
You have the power of the vote. Surely there are better potential candidates out there. Start now, find good candidates and support them. Other communities have unseated politicians who show contempt for the people they serve, you can, too. Just like public consultation was thwarted when the original design options were presented and the public was told it was not the time to talk about environmental issues as that would be taken care of in the Environmental Assessment.
And then the EA was released in the summer with virtually no public notice. So almost no one from the public provided comments. The flawed EA and process led us to request a higher level of assessment from the Minister of the Environment. As the MoE studied that for two years, the Council said they could not discuss any environmental issues with the marina plan because it was with the MoE. Phase II of the study would examine specific sites. Yet, the Lasalle Park Marina Association and their boating buddies got to range far and wide in their presentations and, through long windy answers to friendly councillor questions, got to talk for multiple times longer than public delegates who were held to strict time limits and asked no follow up questions.
Councillors, too, said they wanted to see the business case and seemed quite unhappy that it was taking Finance time to review it. It shows, as we have always suspected, the LPMAs financial house is not in order. So we let all of you know and we prepare to delegate. They pull it from the agenda. The report found that in contrast to their claims that demand for marina capacity is growing, the LPMA's revenues and occupancy rates have been declining for the past five years. To read the report for yourself, read from Page 20 to Page 29 here:.
We crunched the numbers on the information we had and we suspected the LPMA didn't have its financial house in order. It's time Council put an end to this plan, and time citizens demand that they do. Past News.