THE PARIS SECRET – Karen Swan
A Perfect 10
London and France – Present Day
Flora Sykes is a fine arts agent who works for a firm in London. She isn't “attached” to anyone, in fact professes to never having been in love. Flora is independent and free spirited, but in reality is grounded and pragmatic about her life. At the moment she is trying to deal with a shocking incident that affects not only her brother, but her whole family. Thanks to her flamboyant father, a retired but popular auctioneer, the Sykes family is well known, so anything affecting them will be big national news. So when she is assigned to assess the contents of a long abandoned apartment in Paris, Flora is relieved to be able to distract herself from her family's issues.
The apartment has been locked and left alone since World War II, and the Vermeil family, who were recently told that it belongs to them, wants Flora and her boss, Angus, to evaluate everything inside. What Flora and Angus find is a literal treasure trove of valuable and priceless articles, from paintings to sculptures. The Vermeils, wealthy and with family problems of their own, include Flora in their lives. Their out of control and outrageous daughter, Natacha, and the moody, darkly handsome son, Xavier, prove to be thorns in Flora's side. Natacha takes an instant dislike to Flora, and Xavier's wordless stares unnerve her, but she has a job to do.
Flora's research of the objects in the apartment soon reveal something that could prove scandalous for the Vermeils. Thrown into a soon to be shocking revelation, Flora knows she must dig deeper into the history of one painting in particular to discover how the Vermeil family originally got it, not to mention why this apartment was closed and locked when it was.
THE PARIS SECRET is an excellent and beautifully written tale that is based on a true story (Google it for photos!). Flora is a troubled, but focused professional who is suddenly thrust into being a detective, while trying to deal with family emotions, and the brooding Xavier who confuses her with his behavior.
I highly recommend this exciting story. The characters are well written and realistic, and the beautiful fashions and stunning scenes in the south of France are brought to life in readers' eyes. A Perfect 10 in my own eyes.