Like imaginative authors everywhere, Ella Carey based Paris Time Capsule on a real-life occurrence. In late 2010, a Paris apartment that had been uninhabited for 70 years was opened after its owner’s death. She had left Paris during World War II and never returned. Yet, the rent and utilities were faithfully paid.
It was her descendants who first reopened the apartment. And what Carey does in this novel is imagine a twenty-something New York woman as the apartment’s main beneficiary. Her deceased grandmother was the recently deceased owner’s dearest friend in the years between the World Wars.
The young beneficiary, Catherine Jordan, is a humble, middle-class photographer who’s also dating a banker with high society ties. Cat jets right over to Paris to sort out the unexpected bequest with lawyers. As it turns out, the apartment’s owner also had a daughter and grandchildren. Cat and the grandson Loic are drawn together as they unravel the mysteries of this time capsule apartment.
I picked up Carey’s book because of the Paris setting, and the intriguing true-life premise. It was free to me because of Kindle Unlimited. Good thing, too. I would have been more disappointed if I’d actually purchased the book. It’s not especially memorable beyond the apartment itself.
My first issue was with Cat. She’s horribly malleable, and doesn’t think for herself enough. Her low self-esteem is frustrating, as she follows the whims of people around her. Thankfully, she does grow some balls but it was too late to save the book for me.
Second, I just positively hated her boyfriend. He was every kind of controlling and self-centered. Truthfully, Carey must have written him this way so that we liked Loic even more. Wrong. I thought Loic was less bombastic, but he still wanted Cat to do what he wanted.
Lastly, I was hoping for more Paris and less romance. Carey does build a suitable mystery, but her use of the setting is minimal. Cat is always popping off to a boulangerie, but that’s the most Parisian thing she experiences.
I’d recommend Googling as much of the real story as you can lay your hands on. Marthe de Florian is fascinating, as is her apartment. But skip this particular novelization.