Book Review: ‘Paris By Starlight’ by Robert Dinsdale

Every city has its own magic… Every night on their long journey to Paris from their troubled homeland, Levon’s grandmother has read to them from a very special book. Called The Nocturne, it is a book full of fairy stories and the heroic adventures of their people who generations before chose to live by starlight. And with every story that Levon’s grandmother tells them in their new home, the desire to live as their ancestors did grows. And that is when the magic begins… Nobody can explain why nocturnal water dogs start appearing at the heels of every citizen of Paris-by-Starlight like the loyal retainers they once were. There are suddenly night finches in the skies and the city is transforming: the Eiffel Tower lit up by strange ethereal flowers that drink in the light of the moon. But not everyone in Paris is won over by the spectacle of Paris-by-Starlight. There are always those that fear the other, the unexplained, the strangers in our midst. How long can the magic of night rub up against the ordinariness of day? How long can two worlds occupy the same streets and squares before there is an outright war?” (Amazon)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my e-copy of this book.

Review of Paris By Starlight by Robert Dinsdale

My rating: 4.5/5

It was a pleasure to read Paris By Starlight. What drew me first to Robert Dinsdale’s Paris by Starlight was the cover and the title. I’ve been in Paris twice, and I still have so much to discover, and the plans to visit this magical city again this year has sadly been cancelled due to the pandemic. So reading Paris By Starlightwas the next best things. Books are a great escape, a way to travel to different worlds even when you can travel physically. They are even more important this year with everything that’s happening.

Paris By Starlight is a story of many people, their lives entangled and affected by the old world reappearing again in Paris. But it follows predominantly Isabelle, a young woman on a quest to find her father, and Levon, a refugee from the old world, a magical place that ceased to exist, doing everything in his power to keep his family safe. But they find more they have expected. 

Paris By Starlight has been enchanting, magical read, and what I enjoyed the most about the book, was the atmosphere of it. It drew into the story, into the place, and allowed you to get lost in this magical world, a world not without its problems and struggles, but enchanting, nevertheless. 

The middle section of the book somehow slows down, and it feels like the action doesn’t move forward. Isabelle has already found her father, and Levon’s family is safe for the moment, but inevitably all that follows, all that happens after this moment of peace, is even more heartbreaking as a result. The magic of the People isn’t enough to keep them safe and to even keep them together. I think that the reason while the latter part of the book was so moving and so heartbreaking is not only because the readers have already grown attached to the characters, but rather predominantly because despite the magical setting, Paris By Starlight deals with inevitably relevant and hard situations. Underneath the magic, there is a story of a refugee family and a girl from a broken family. And it’s not a magical danger they encounter, but rather people fearing the outsiders, people threatened by new settlers and new ideas coming to their country. 

Who is the book for: I would definitely recommend Paris By Starlight to anyone looking for an atmospheric read. You can get your copy here.

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