Saturday, July 18, 2020

ARC Review: Paris Is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay

Paris Is Always a Good Idea
Author: Jenn McKinlay
Publication: Berkley (July 21, 2020)

Description: A thirty-year-old woman retraces her gap year through Ireland, France, and Italy to find love—and herself—in this hilarious and heartfelt novel.

It's been seven years since Chelsea Martin embarked on her yearlong postcollege European adventure. Since then, she's lost her mother to cancer and watched her sister marry twice, while Chelsea's thrown herself into work, becoming one of the most talented fundraisers for the American Cancer Coalition, and with the exception of one annoyingly competent coworker, Jason Knightley, her status as most successful moneymaker is unquestioned.

When her introverted mathematician father announces he's getting remarried, Chelsea is forced to acknowledge that her life stopped after her mother died and that the last time she can remember being happy, in love, or enjoying her life was on her year abroad. Inspired to retrace her steps—to find Colin in Ireland, Jean Claude in France, and Marcelino in Italy—Chelsea hopes that one of these three men who stole her heart so many years ago can help her find it again.

From the start of her journey nothing goes as planned, but as Chelsea reconnects with her old self, she also finds love in the very last place she expected.

My Thoughts: When fundraiser Chelsea Martin is surprised by her widowed father's wedding announcement to a woman he's only known two weeks, she doesn't take it well. After her mother's death due to pancreatic cancer, Chelsea put her life on hold to raise money to cure cancer. She's become a workaholic and has lost her joy and almost lost her family.

In order to try to regain all she feels she lost, she decides to recreate her gap year travels when she met and fell in love with three different men before being called home to her mother's bedside. She knows she might be opening the door for her work rival and polar opposite Jason Knightley to take her place at work but finding herself is much more important to her.

Her first stop is Ireland when she discovers the boy she loved is now a married man with three children. He's married to another young woman Chelsea knew from her time in Ireland. But reconnecting with the two of them despite some entertaining catastrophes does let her regain her laughter.

Her second stop is Paris where she reconnects with budding fashion designer Jean Claude. Of course, Knightley has tracked her down to get her input on a current quest to get a $10 million donation from an eccentric billionaire. Jason is there to pick up the pieces when her meeting with Jean Claude shows that he isn't at all the way she remembered him. She and Jason begin a romance but Chelsea is single-minded has in her desire to retrace her whole gap year and she can't quite believe in this new Jason who is so different than he seemed as her rival at work.

Chelsea's final stop is in Italy where she reconnects with Marcellino at the winery he now owns. But Jason has tracked her down there too on the pretext that the eccentric billionaire wants to hold a meeting at the winery.

Jason has his work cut out for him convincing Chelsea that she can never be the carefree girl she was before her mother's death and needs to accept herself for the strong woman she is now. It is time for her to put aside her grief and live again and he'd like to live the rest of his life with her.

The story was in turns funny and touching. I loved Chelsea's ability to overcome obstacles on her trip. I loved Jason too. 

Favorite Quote:
"Here's a question. Whose brainiac idea was it to spring this on me in a bridal salon I mean, there was no warning, no prep, no easing me into the idea that Dad's going to throw his life away by marrying a perfect stranger. I mean, really, do you people not know me at all?"
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.


  1. Curious that the character shares a last name with George Knightley, the character who finally marries Emma in the Jane Austen novel. Are there other connections? I haven't read this book so I know only the name and the one coincidence.

    be well... mae at

  2. Happy to see your thoughts about this book. Thank you for sharing your review.


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