Friday, 24 January 2020

Book Review: The Paris Model by Alexandra Joel #BRPreview

The Paris Model
Alexandra Joel

Publisher: Harper Collins Australia 
Publication date: 20th January 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction / Romance
Pages: 352
RRP: $32.99AUD
Format read: Paperback ARC
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Better Reading

Sometimes you have to lose everything to find yourself ... A stunning novel of love, betrayal and family secrets for all fans of Fiona McIntosh and Natasha Lester.
After a shocking discovery, Grace Woods leaves her vast Australian sheep station and travels to tumultuous post-war Paris in order to find her true identity.
While working as a mannequin for Christian Dior, the world's newly acclaimed emperor of fashion, Grace mixes with counts and princesses, authors and artists, diplomats and politicians.
But when Grace falls for handsome Philippe Boyer she doesn't know that he is leading a double life, nor that his past might inflict devastating consequences upon her. As she is drawn into Philippe's dangerous world of international espionage, Grace discovers both the shattering truth of her origins - and that her life is in peril.

Alexandra Joel takes her readers from the serenity and isolation of the Australian outback to the catwalks of Christian Dior in Paris. The story then moves from Paris to the tranquility of the French countryside.

Through a young Grace Woods we experience the isolation of a country wheat and sheep farm. Grace loves the farm but she also loves her visits to Sydney to see close family friend Reuben. From a young age Grace has had an affinity with Reuben but little does she know what a major impact he will later have on her life.

When Grace’s whole future seems to be mapped out before her, marriage to her childhood sweetheart, then children and life on the farm, a chance visit by fashion designer Christian Dior to Sydney sees Grace landing a job as a mannequin and then flying to Paris where she is employed as a Dior model.

Grace was quite a flighty character and whenever she was confronted with any sort of conflict she would run rather than wait for an explanation. This trend to avoid conflict would first see her estranged from her mother and later running from love.

Joel includes events from WWII with Australians enlisting to fight in Britain and then the political unrest in France where Grace finds herself in a life and death situation.
With cameo appearances by Jacqueline Bouvier, Pablo Picasso, Francoise Gilot and Chef Julia Child I found the setting and the drama would be perfectly suited to the big screen.

The Paris Model is fast paced and Joel packs a lot of story into this book so it’s never boring and although some of the plot may be a little too convenient I was swept away by Grace’s story and taken to any place and another time.


My rating  4/5

Alexandra Joel is the former editor of Harper's Bazaar and of Portfolio, Australia's first magazine for working women. She has also been a regular contributor to The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend Magazine. She is also the author of Rosetta, a biography of her great-grandmother – the scandalous Australian who enchanted British society – and Parade: the Story of Fashion in Australia, a social history detailing the development of fashion, style and national identity. 
 More recently, Alexandra has been a practising counsellor and psychotherapist. She is an honours graduate from the University of Sydney and has a Graduate Diploma in Applied Psychology. She has two children and lives in Sydney with her husband. She is a keen student of art, fashion, history and politics and is exceedingly fond of Paris.



  1. Sounds like it would be great for fashionistas and Francophiles, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. It definitely would Shelleyrae. I am neither and I still enjoyed it immensely.

  2. Great review, it's not one on my list, but I'll keep it in mind.

  3. Meeting Dior and Julia? I am jealous. I will have to check this book out.

    1. It would make a fabulous movie. Just looking at all those Dior gowns would be beautiful.