Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Summer in Paris, by Michele Ashman Bell

Having sailed many a summer aboard the Shoosey-Q, I was particularly interested in reading Summer in Paris . . . Paris, Idaho, that is. . . a charming town just north of Bear Lake, which sits on the Utah/Idaho border and is claimed by both states. Michele Ashman Bell captured the town delightfully in her story about Kenzie Williams, who is sent to Paris to live with an aunt, uncle and two cousins while her parents go through some financial and marital difficulties.

At the opening, Kenzie is portrayed as a "spoiled rich girl" from New York City, whose summer in Paris, Idaho, teaches her about a whole new world previously unknown to her. For instance, she had no idea how shallow her friendships were back in the city, where she was accustomed to chauffeurs and unlimited credit cards. While spending the summer in Paris, Idaho, Kenzie discovers that true friends are treasured people who actually care about her.

In Paris, Kenzie learns the value of work as she tends her aunt's garden and does odd chores around the house. Amazingly, Kenzie is surprised that soiled laundry doesn't automatically appear cleaned and restocked in her dresser drawer every day, like it did back home.

But, there's also a mystery within the pages of Summer in Paris, and romance. Being the kind of reader who likes to guess who the criminal is, I found myself entirely surprised at the outcome, and thoroughly satisfied with the conclusion. And, being a hopeless romantic, I couldn't help hoping for a certain someone to come through for Kenzie.

Mystery and romance aside, I was also pleased with Kenzie's determination to fulfill her dreams . . . dreams that started in New York and are realized in Paris.

If you enjoy laughter, fun, friendships, love and intrigue, Summer in Paris is the book to read this summer.