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  • Second Chance Romance with a Twist

    I fell in love with the Moore family after reading The Widow of Rose House and was so excited to see that Benedict would be getting his own book. I couldn’t resist this childhood friends to lovers, second chance romance. The Brightest Star in Paris was an interesting mix of historical fiction with a paranormal twist. Diana Biller is a talented writer and she wove an intricate tale of lost love, survival, and second chances. Ben and Amelie’s story unfolds thanks to a mix of present day and flashback chapters. I felt the story lost momentum around the middle, however, which made the book feel too long and the ending rushed. I grew frustrated with Amelie and all of the back and forth. After so much will they/won’t they tension and build up, the lone intimate scene felt awkward and out of character. The paranormal plot line was intriguing, but also quite confusing. The twist and reveal at the end was interesting, but I felt the ghost aspect overshadowed the romance too much. Diana Biller makes readers work for Benedict and Amelie’s happy ending and I’m not sure I was fully satisfied with how things ultimately played out. I did like seeing the Moore family again though, and I’m hoping for a book featuring Maggie and Henry in the future. CW: death of parent (syphilis related, mentions and flashback scene), grief, food and shelter insecurity, poverty, murder, mentions of morphine use and overdose, discussion of death and post traumatic stress related to war, physical injury resulting in loss of job, prostitution, and severe illness. The author also has a list of content warnings on her website that I encourage readers to view as well. *I voluntarily read an advance review copy of this book*

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  • Fantastic second chance romance in 1880's Paris

    There were so many things to love in this book. First, it's the continuation of the Moore family adventures, this time featuring Benedict Moore, another swoony, dreamy hero, who wants nothing more than to smooth the way for his lady love, Amelie St. James, a prima ballerina in Paris, who he met, fell in love with, then was pushed away by, one memorable summer 12 years ago when they were both just coming into adulthood. The setting, in late 1800's Paris was lovingly evoked and realized. Diana Biller has a real knack for bringing her settings to life in a way that I rarely see in romance, where the setting is often just a pale backdrop. Not only did she make me feel like I was there, she packed in quite a French history lesson in just a few paragraphs scattered throughout the book. As a ballet lover and former dancer, I was also thrilled to have a ballerina heroine, especially one as strong and determined as Amelie. The romance between Ben and Amelie was touching and beautiful and their connection to each other was almost tangible. I think the one element that wasn't as well integrated into the story was the paranormal aspect of the story. This started out strong, with Amelie suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, gaining the ability to see and interact with ghosts. At first, this was a major plot driver and I was completely sucked into it, however, about halfway through, it seemed like this aspect was just dropped. Ben and Amelie's romance took center stage, which wasn't a bad thing, but it was a bit jarring to have the major storyline up until that point disappear. Near the end of the book there was a resolution of that storyline, but it seemed almost tacked on to resolve the plot. Overall, I really liked the book, but I think the paranormal aspects were better expressed in the author's previous novel. I'm going to guess that the third book will focus on Ben and Sam's sister, Maggie, but I'm also going to put in a plug for a book set 10 or 15 years in the future and featuring Amelie's adorable younger sister, Honorine. Whatever the next book is, I have no doubt that I will read it.

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  • Light and fun historical fiction

    Four Stars and a half ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭒ I really enjoyed The Brightest Star in Paris by Diana Biller. It’s not a heavy historical fiction novel, but it’s light and has a nice heartwarming story. Yes, it does go into some of the horrible conditions of that time in Paris, but the sad details of life are sprinkled in throughout the story so it doesn’t all bombard you at one time. The story also has a sweet paranormal twist that lightened up the story but wasn’t unbelievable. Amelie St. James is a sweet, virtuous prima ballerina in the Paris Opera Ballet and is called the Saint by the Paris press because of her impeccable high standards of personal behavior. Amelie has only two years left to continue the charade of being the perfect ballerina both on and off the stage until she can safely retire and her younger sister can finish her schooling. I thought The Brightest Star in Paris was very well written with all the historical facts Dr. Benedict Moore is an American doctor who is visiting Paris for a convention to study brain issues. He wants to recruit scientists for his new Brain Institute he’s starting up in Washington D. C. and to possibly meet up with his first crush, Amelie. When they meet up in the Paris Opera Ballet house, the attraction is still there, but there is still the impossibility of a relationship because he lives and works in America, and her life is in Paris as a ballerina and she must finish raising her younger sister. that I love in historical fiction books, plus a light paranormal twist with the ghosts visiting Amelie and a nice sweet, but intense romance. I was pulled into the mystery right away as I wondered how these two would ever get together and overcome the obstacles, and I wondered about the ghosts and why they were haunting Amelie. I enjoyed the authors’ description of Paris both in 1878 and in the earlier timeline of 1866 when Amelie and Ben first met. I highly recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction who do not mind a light paranormal story. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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