Buy It, Borrow It or Bag It: The Paradise by Emile Zola

The Paradise     I am really on the fence about this week’s review. I picked up this book totally on impulse because I fell in love with the cover and the way it felt in my hands. (True readers totally know what I am talking about when I say that.) Also, I was excited that the book was the companion piece to PBS’ latest offering for fans of Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife.

The problem for me happened when I started reading the book at the same time I started watching the show and discovered that these two things are only loosely related. Think Little House on the Prairie…sure it was based on a series of books, but the TV show went in a lot of different directions than the books didn’t. This makes things complicated for readers especially when character names are changed, the setting is switched (the book takes place in France, the show is set in England.) I’ve read a lot of reviews about this book and most are very favorable so I think my less than stellar opinion of it stems from the fact that the visual I have is based on the show and I was not allowed to take the book at its own merit first.

It’s good…don’t get me wrong-well written, etc…but I expected it to be more connected to the show and to expand in those plot lines at an equal pace and it didn’t. So my advice is this: If you have not seen the show yet, Buy or Borrow the book. If you have seen the show, Borrow the book and see what you think. If you aren’t into period dramas, then you can Bag it.


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