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The Paris Widow


The Paris Widow

The publisher’s summary of Kimberly Belle's new thriller, THE PARIS WIDOW, was enough to get me excited to read it. Stella and Adam, seemingly the perfect couple, are sightseeing in Europe when, after eating at a small Parisian cafe, Adam runs back to get a pair of forgotten sunglasses, and there is an explosion. Adam is missing, and Stella's life is turned upside down.

It seems (or at least Stella is being told) that Adam was a dealer in stolen, looted antiquities, and he had been under investigation for almost a decade --- long before they met --- for those crimes. There is even speculation that the bomb was aimed at Adam. And while they lived quite modestly and had saved for months for their trip, Stella discovers that Adam had huge sums of money she knew nothing about.

"Action, thrills, a trip through Europe, danger and romance. Kimberly Belle has included it all in this well done thriller."

But Stella had secrets of her own. Because of the prologue, Belle shares that secret, so while Adam might be in the dark about Stella's past, we are not. Stella does not want to leave Paris until she finds out what caused the explosion, how Adam was involved, and if he's alive. She also would like to get to the bottom of his possible crimes and misdemeanors. While everyone is telling her to go home to Atlanta and that she’s putting herself in danger by asking questions about powerful criminals and dealers in stolen art, Stella is determined and --- dare I say --- stubborn.

There is much to be said for the writing here, which includes a believable first person narrative and enough action to keep us reading page after page. There are many characters to remember, but not so many as to confuse us (and none whose names start with the same letter, which is a pet peeve of mine). There are flashbacks from Adam's point of view that provide additional context and make him an entirely sympathetic character in spite of Stella's doubts about him. There are no huge twists, which is fine because the book is quite satisfying without such surprises, and the ending is perfect.

I also was interested to read in the Author's Note that much of what is written in the novel about the looting of national treasures is based on real events, including the theft of Oscar Wilde's gold ring, which is featured prominently in the story. Belle writes, "Too many people pretending to be legit brokers for anonymous donors, too many precious antiquities sneaked over international borders only to land in respected galleries and museums." One of the characters is based on a real man, dubbed the "Indiana Jones" of the illegal art trade, and learning about him is also quite informative.

Action, thrills, a trip through Europe, danger and romance. Kimberly Belle has included it all in this well done thriller.

Reviewed by Pamela Kramer on June 28, 2024

The Paris Widow
by Kimberly Belle

  • Publication Date: June 11, 2024
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Park Row
  • ISBN-10: 0778310728
  • ISBN-13: 9780778310723