The Paris Widow: A Novel

Image of The Paris Widow: A Novel
Release Date: 
June 11, 2024
Park Row
Reviewed by: 

“Secrets are revealed and surprise after surprise unfolds in this suspenseful, unforgettable novel filled with mystery and intrigue.”

Stella and Adam Knox are on the trip of a lifetime. Twenty-one days in vibrant European locales—Amsterdam, Malta, Bilbao, the Amalfi Coast, Luxembourg, Paris. It's a work trip for Adam, he buys and sells historical artifacts. Stella's a tagalong on vacation. They're very much in love, anyone watching them together would be able to see that.

Stella thinks Adam is the man of her dreams.

". . . Adam lives in slim-cut pants and battered brogues, and there's not a shirt in his wardrobe that isn't collared. He prefers restrained over flashy, dark tones over bright patterns of colors. It's another thing I love about him, that he dresses like he stepped out of an Italian movie set in the 1950s. When he walks into an antique store anywhere in the world, the shopkeepers think he's one of them."

It's the last day of their trip. Bags are packed and stashed in their hotel room, but they rush out to a cafe for one last fabulous meal in Paris before leaving for the airport.

"We have allotted an hour for this meal and not a second more. . . ."

Dinner over, they head back to their hotel when Adam suddenly stops and insists on returning to the café for his forgotten sunglasses. Stella reminds him they are pressed for time and goes on ahead to fetch their luggage and check out of their hotel. Adam promises he'll be back in time to catch their flight home.

But before she reaches the hotel the air vibrates with a violent explosion. She turns to see thick black smoke coming from the direction of the café, and runs back to find Adam.

"The alleyway is thick with people—a surge of bodies swarming out of the smoke. I push up on the tips of my toes, but I'm five and a half feet on a good day and all I can see are heaving chests and panicked faces. A steady stream of people coming at me, . . . a human stampede jostling me backward."

Adam is not among them.

During the subsequent investigation, she's shocked to learn that it was not an explosion at all, but a bombing. Not only that, Adam was the target. The French authorities inform her that Adam was not simply collecting artifacts to sell in his shop back home. They tell her that he smuggles stolen goods across international borders, then sells them to wealthy clients willing to pay top dollar for antiquities secretly looted from historical sites.

She doesn't believe them but can't help wondering about some of the items in her own home, gifts and treasures brought in by Adam.

"I'm also thinking about the elaborately carved bronze statue high on a bookshelf, a pot-bellied boy with one chubby arm held high in the air, according to Adam a replica of the original Roman statue . . . the marble bust on the side table in the hall."

Adam claimed they were all fakes. Are they?

Her questions to the French authorities go unanswered, and author Kimberly Belle does a superb job of showing Stella's shock, grief, and pain as she collects clues and searches for information about her beloved husband, a man she thought she knew everything about.

The Paris Widow is gripping from page one, and filled with lush descriptions of vibrant European cities so real readers will feel the touch of sea mist on their cheeks, smell the coffee and pastry scented Parsian air, and live Stella's story during her agonizing search for the truth.

Secrets are revealed and surprise after surprise unfolds in this suspenseful, unforgettable novel filled with mystery and intrigue.