Paris by Starlight – Robert Dinsdale [SPOILERS]

Our second #TsundokuSquad monthly book was ‘Paris by Starlight’ by Robert Dinsdale. This was the second book we’ve read as a group. We split the book into each of the ‘books’ following the format of the Hardback. Below is how the discussion went each week, with our final view at the end!

Week 1 – 6th February

Week 1 is always a tricky week to sum-up. The general feel was that for this part it was a little confusing. The writing style is very descriptive, ‘painting by words’. We are starting to get a grip on what is happening and making sense of the story now. Reading as a group actually really helped this aspect as some unknowns we each had were answered by someone else in the group!

We all loved the Grandma and the colourful and magical descriptions of the night. We were unsure about Isabelle and Levons relationship, it seemed a little quick and dubious. There was also a little confusion by everyone in regards to the timeline of the story. There was a mention of the Harp being “Vintage from 1930” but they also have the metro… it would be useful to have some dates of how much time is passing. We had suspicions about the duaghter at the very begining of the book, is it their daughter? and questions on if we thought ector would be found/is from the old country.

We have a couple of 4 star ratings, a couple of 3 star ratings and a few who are undecided so far.

Week 2 – 13th February

A fair few of us thought that the book was a little slow moving and that the beautiful descriptions, were wearing a little thin and feeling like overkill. I personally was not compelled to pick the book back up and a few people agreed with me. We did however all agree that the descriptions are still very beautiful and that if this is your preferred writing style, you’d probably love it!

We are starting to get a better idea of the timelines now. We have had mention of months passing and that they’ve “rid the land of the Nazi’s”, which helps to pin point the timeframe. The story also, is starting to build (albeit slowly). We are feeling like Levon’s dad might be out to cause some trouble but predicting at this stage that the book is likely to have a happy and magical ending with a strong moral story. There have been heavy hints surrounding a racial issue at the heart of the story which we feel might the basis of the two missing dad storylines and the potential comparison.

I’m personally struggling with the magical element as I’m not a huge fantasy fan and a bit of a realist. However, we are all enjoying the small stories at the beginning of each section.

Ratings for this week are one person saying a 3 (me), three people falling at a 3.5 and the rest sitting at a 4.

Week 3 – 20th February

So more happened in this week’s section of the book and we could finally feel the story building to something (hopefully big!). It has a little more direction than the previous weeks but we aren’t sure we 100% on board with where it is going…and that it’s a little cliché.

As a group we are disliking Isabelle, Levon and their relationship, which makes it a little hard to be invested in their stories, and means a few of us keep getting mixed up and confused. We also feel that Levon’s dad is being a Knob (credit to Lucy for the choice of word).

One thing we all agreed on was that the firework attack was absolutly awful!!

A few of us are still struggling as there is a lot of staring wistfully at things and lots being unsaid. We also have grown collectively to hate “by the stars” as a phrase. However, some of us are still really enjoying the imagery and magic.

We all agreed again that we’d love to read the Nocturne book which is featured at the beginning of each section. Janet wondered if she would be enjoying it more if she hadn’t recently read the Toymakers by the same author and loved it.

Ratings for this week are one person at 2.5 (me), one person at 3, most people at a 3.5 and one person at a 4.

Week 4/Final Week – 27th February

One thing thats for sure with this book is that our rating have seemed to slipped week on week! We are all very happy that this one is finished (we even lost a reader along the way with a DNF!)

We felt the story was a weird mix of political/refugee and a romance. Both parts we struggled with together and on their own. None of us particularly warmed to any of the characters in the end, which is a real shame! Especially as there were faaaar too many of them!

We did enjoy the general vibe but by the end but felt a little disinterested and that the ending was anticlimactic!

We felt the overall concept was great and the initial magic was captivating and beautifully described but we ended up needing to use too much imagination and push past the descriptions!

On the whole it was a little too slow, at least for most of us! Below is our word cloud from our last discussion:

Our overall group rating: 3/5

My individual rating: 2/5

As always, remember that just because we didn’t love this one doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same! This might be a 5 star read for you, and that’s great! So don’t avoid it just because of us ♥️

…our March book is ‘The Islanders’ by S.V. Leonard! So keep your eyes peeled for our thoughts!


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