Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mini-Review of "Paris Noire" by Francine Thomas Howard

I love "film noir," and this novel, "Paris Noire," evokes the feeling of this film genre. Francine Thomas Howard clearly knows Paris well, and her love for the City of Lights - as it existed at the end of World War II -comes through loud and clear in this beautifully written story. The cast of characters includes American blacks, African emigres, Caribbean ex-pats and long-time denizens of the various arrondissments of Paris.

This complex tale revolves around Marie-Therese Brillard, born in Martinique but now a French citizen because of her marriage to a Frenchman. Living in Montmartre with her grown daughter, Colette, and her son, Christophe, she seeks to guide her family through the ups and downs of wartime Paris, and through the vicissitudes of complex romantic entanglements.

The story is often violent, sometimes surprising and always entertaining. The Josephine Baker-type character of Glovia adds just the right mixture of spice to the already powerful ingredients that the author brings to this story.

I stayed up later than I had planned to do in order to find out what would happen next. A reader cannot ask for much more from an author.


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