REVIEW: Kissing Adrien by Siri Mitchell
Claire Le Noyer, 29, wants a do-over. She wants the life where she majors in history, not accounting. Where she takes two-hour lunches, not ten minutes in front of her computer. Where her pastor boyfriend treats her like an attractive women he’s deeply in love with, not like a nice pet dog.
But for now she’s a Seattle numbers-cruncher with a wardrobe from REI sent to fashionable Paris to check out an apartment left to her parents by a mysterious cousin. When her childhood crush– handsome, pleasure-loving, and very French Adrien—introduces Claire to the City of Lights, she cautiously begins to embrace another way of living.
Dear Ms. Mitchell,
Looking around for the next book I wanted to read, I came across this book I had loaded on my ereader awhile back and thought why not take a (literary) trip to Paris? Adrien and Claire proved to be wonderful tour guides and the story almost turns into a love letter to the city. While I enjoyed their reunion, I did get a little bit tired of Claire’s second guessing herself. But then I suppose she need to completely reevaluate her life before moving forward.
The opening scene shows us certain important things: Adrien is the type of suave, flirty man who has women falling over themselves around him, Claire feels she’s immune to this as she’s known him for so long and seen him in action far too many times, and Adrien can drive like a demon on the roads to and around Paris.
As Claire tells a new friend she meets, she used to have a crush on Adrien when she was a teenager but she’s grown out of it now. Or has she? She also tells this friend that she’s discovered that Adrien is like a case of malaria – just when Claire feels she’s over him, her emotions creep back up on her. So maybe not the most romantic way of putting it but we watch as Adrien is (mainly) charming and Claire sinks deeper into her “they’ve never gone away” feelings for him. But does she dare risk telling him how she feels? Adrien flirts – or is he merely being courtly? He tells her he’s missed her – but they’ve been friends since they were children. Could there be something more – or does Claire risk losing what they do have which means so much to her?
There are enough sound reasons for Claire to be cautious. She has her life in Seattle waiting for her, the one she’s carefully crafted as she’s always done the right thing in life and looked to her future. But what has that got her? A boyfriend who doesn’t kiss her like he means it, a nice ranch style house that she’ll have paid off in 28 years, and a job that pays the bills but doesn’t fulfill her.
Living in Paris shows her what she might have and how to treat yourself for today rather than living for the distant future. Month long vacations, two hour lunches, divine food to be had anywhere, clothes that actually fit and earn her some second glances and head turns. Then there is the mystery of the relative who left her father a rundown apartment filled with priceless antiques, fine wines, first edition books, and some amazing haute couture gowns. What was Mademoiselle’s story and will it inspire Claire to live life on her own terms?
Part of the growing relationship between Claire and Adrien are conversations that strike sparks as they discuss everything from self image, to religion, to wine, to politics and debate which country does things best. Adrien’s reactions to Claire’s sometimes sulky responses and attitude tell me early on how he feels about her but he has his moments of hesitation, too. In fact, as the pages ticked down and both seemed afraid to say anything – or anything more in Adrien’s case – I wondered. But yes we do get a HEA, a charming hero who doesn’t match the stereotypes Americans have of Frenchmen, and a heroine who does do some difficult self examination and has the courage to reach for what she’s discovered she wants. B