The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash
Hachette Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780733636455
(Age: Adult - 16+) Recommended for romance lovers. Australian country life. Rachael West is 28 and devastated by the death of her mother. Years before she had chosen to care for her mother who suffered from MS and run the family farm, rather than following her boyfriend Matthew to university to study as a journalist. Now she has received an invitation to Matthew's wedding to a rich socialite, Bonnie, in Paris. Determined to put her feelings for Matthew, now a successful doctor, behind her, she sets off for Paris with her best friend Sammy and there is faced with many difficult choices. Can she and Matthew rekindle what was there when she was 17, even though it would break Bonnie's heart, and does she have a future in journalism or fashion design?
What stands out in this novel is not the romance between Rachael and Matthew or the attraction that Rachael feels for the photographer Antonio, but rather the coming of age of Rachael as she struggles to come to grips with her feelings for Matthew and her desire to discover what abilities and future she might still have. After over hearing two women talking about her being left behind she is overwhelmed by the need to uncover her talents as a seamstress or as a journalist. Her caring nature also stands out, even though she is oblivious to the problems that her friend Sammy is experiencing.
Of course the beautiful setting of Paris makes a wonderful background to the story and will ensure that people who haven't visited will want to go, and anyone who has been fortunate enough to visit there will be enthralled by the descriptions of the standout landmarks and also the little back alleys and the world of high fashion as well as the beautiful dresses that Rachael has designed. But Rachael's vivid descriptions of the Australian outback near Parkes to Antonio will also strike the reader with a vision of just how beautiful the Australian landscape can be. The hard work and business acumen needed to run a country farm also come to life as Rachael's struggles with her dilemma of whether to stay on the farm or seek her life further afield.
An easy to read story, the narrative in The Paris Wedding flowed beautifully, grabbing the reader with relatable characters and Rachael's feelings for her first love and the strength of her friendship with Sammy. The book also includes an extract from Nash's bestselling novel The horseman.