“Paris Was the Place by Susan Conley is an absolutely stunning work of fiction. With her luminous prose she takes us to Paris but not the Paris of the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre but a Paris of Indian restaurants and refugees from wartime strife and other sorts of abuse.
Her main character Willie Pears — an American who teaches poetry at a French college — is asked to help out at an asylum for girls who may be deported for being in France illegally.
Here she becomes involved in the stories she hears them tell especially with Gita — a girl who desperately doesn't want to be sent back to India but who also can't go live in Paris with the family she has there. Willie meets Macon the lawyer for the girls and sparks seem to fly but
Willie has lots of her own issues to deal with and though she has great friends and a brother who also lives in Paris she is still a lonely soul. Willie makes a decision that impacts her relationships with her friends and Macon. Ms Conley has given us a rich tale of friendships and consequences. Her characters are so well drawn that we feel we know them intimately — she takes us to the places they inhabit and pulls us into their ups and downs. I loved being in this Paris — a place of richness and sorrow, of hope and despair and a lot of love.”
Portland Bookstore — USM
““Stunning imagery coupled with strong sensuality bring Paris, India and the California desert to life. New babies, falling in love, illness and brotherly love are combined in a masterful telling with characters seeming so real, one might awaken thinking about them. Conley gets the sense of place and totally gets the French.””
Vero Beach Book Center, Vero Beach, FL
“Susan Conley's Paris Was the Place has the kind of emotional weight you hope for in a novel. Its world, by turns achingly beautiful and brutally unjust, is as vividly rendered as its characters, whose joys and struggles we embrace as our own.”
Richard Russo, author of Elsewhere and Empire Falls
“Susan Conley's wonderful new novel is about the complicated bonds of family and relationships, and told with glowing compassion and humor that causes the triumphs to shine.”
River Run Books, Portsmouth, NH