A Stranger in Paris by Karen Webb
Paperback published 11th August 2020 by impress books
Aberystwyth University, 1986 – and another year of torrential rain. Bad hair days and a rugby-fanatic fiancé are part of her drab existence so who can blame Karen for falling into the arms of a handsome Parisian?
Hastening across The Channel with stars in her eyes, she speeds to the city of light only to discover that her lover is nowhere to be found. Nor what he seemed.
Life takes a turn for the better when her old school-friend Jessica makes a dramatic entrance, encouraging Karen on a downward spiral of adventure – including a brush with the Parisian underworld which places both girls in peril.
Karen’s childhood is a constant anguish reminding her that when things go wrong, not everyone has a home to return to, as the dark shadows of the past merge with her troubled French life.
Where to go, when there’s no going home?
Based on a true story, A Stranger in Paris is the first of a three-part series. This honest memoir recounts with humour and poignancy the search for love and family.
A Stranger in Paris is everything you want from a memoir it’s honest, brave witty very funny. Karen Webb doesn’t hide away anything, she bravely tells us all about her relationships and much more.
This memoir is set in Aberystwyth and Paris.
I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Karen at the beginning with her landlord who threatened her with eviction as no rent had been paid. It is easy to feel sorry for Karen as it is now for people during these Coronavirus times, where people have no jobs and no money and they can’t pay their rent and landlords are trying to evict single people and families. Thankfully the government are trying to help those people not loose their homes.
I know Karen didn’t want to open her bank mail as she was overdrawn, and I think that was very brave of her, I get the impression that she just didn’t really know what to do about it and that perhaps she decided to hide them so she didn’t have to see them.
After being evicted, with no where to go in the pouring rain she turned up a students basement. Luckily the Students Welfare office gave her a small room.
I loved how Karen was open about the highs and lows and her loves of her life. Karen explains everything that happened to her, it felt like to me part of a romance fiction story.
Karen was engaged to Steve from South Wales. But she was having fun with Frenchman, David. As David goes back to Paris , Karen follows her heart and sets off to Paris to see David.
When a love affair ends, will a new French life begin?
With her O level French she enrolled on a French course in rue de Rennes. All she had to do was find a way to live in Paris and fund her language lessons.
Jessica‘s friend is off to live in Paris and is working as an au pair and was also going to study at the same place as Karen.
This gave Karen an idea to buy a copy of The Lady magazine and there was an advert for an au pair. This is a page turning adventure of Karen as an au pair looking after three children in Paris.
I found this book very hard to put down, it has been one of those memoirs that traps you until the last page.
I highly recommend reading A Stranger in Paris as there is so much more Karen Webb will be revealing.
As I like reading memoirs I really enjoyed reading about Karen Webb’s life in A Stranger in Paris A French Life part 1 so much that I’m now wanting to read the rest of the trilogy.
I would like to thank Kelly at @lovebooksgroup for sending me this very interest memoir to read and review and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour today.
About Karen Webb
Karen graduated from Aberystwyth University with a Degree in English Literature. She then moved to Paris, where she worked for 16 years as an English language teacher for business professionals before settling in rural South West France. With few employment opportunities other than stuffing geese or picking melons, she qualified as a licensed real estate agent.
Karen then attended Lancaster University where she graduated with a Masters in Creative Writing in 2015, after which she set up a series of Creative Writing retreats, “A Chapter Away”, inviting world famous authors, literary agents and publishers to teach aspiring novelists. Inspired by the comments of tutors on the memoir writing course, she began “A Stranger in Paris.”
Passionate about theatre, and script-writing, Karen has also written plays, several short stories and a novel – all of which are lurking in the bottom drawer. “A Stranger in Paris” is her first published work, and is the first novel of the trilogy La Vie Française.
Karen now lives in Gascony with her husband and son, and has a grown-up daughter who works in London. Much of her writing is inspired by the North West of England where she grew up, and France which became her country of adoption.