Let’s talk spoilers for The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley.
As I mentioned in my above content, I thought The Paris Apartment as ok overall. I enjoyed her previous novels (The Hunting Party and The Guest List) so I was a bit let down by this one, to be honest. I felt it was missing the strong character development of her past novels.
First, a quick synopsis: Jess leaves behind London and arrives in Paris in hopes of a new start. She plans to stay with her half-brother, Ben, but he’s nowhere to be found. The other tenants of his posh apartment aren’t revealing anything. But soon all secrets will be revealed.
The Big Reveal
OK, spoilers, here on out! Reminder, if you haven’t read the novel yet, come back here after you finish it.
Unlike most mysteries, where we wait for the big reveal until the climax or even the very end—we learn fairly early on that the other people living in Ben’s apartment (Sophie, Mimi, Nick and Antoine) aren’t just random tenets but they’re actually a family and this is their house. Sophie, married to Jacques, is stepmother to Nick and Antoine, and Mimi is her daughter.
I was floored! I did not see that coming at all. Did you see that reveal? I thought it was interesting and surprising.
But it also left me with plenty of questions too. If Ben knew just exactly what type of business Jacques ran and how toxic he was—why did he want to stay at the apartment?
You also would think that Nick would have his suspicions about Ben knowing he’s a journalist, right? Or maybe he thought Ben did have feelings for him? Ben did seem to take advantage of Nick’s crush and use him for sure. It appears we were supposed to not trust Nick but also feel a bit sorry for him. While Jacques is an absolute horrible person and father, Nick just didn’t warrant much sympathy for me. Same with Mimi.
I honestly just didn’t care about any of the family members’ perspectives and was more engaged with Jess for sure (even though some of her actions were murky too).
We do get several hints that there is more to Jacques’ wine business. And it turns out it’s a front for a club that provides sex services from women of human trafficking. This is the subject of Ben’s article. As a result, he used all the family members, including having an affair with Sophie to learn more information. Also, I don’t think he cared about helping the women at the club, he just wanted a big story.
I actually would have liked more of Ben’s perspective from the past as he was working on the article. He’s so secretive and some his choices were bizarre. But maybe there wasn’t much to it—he was using everyone and anyone he could to finally have his big break in journalism.
Mimi is also in love with Ben (everyone loves Ben!) and when she’s snooping his apartment, find out the the truth about her family—including the fact that her real mother was a sex worker there as well and died in child birth.
She’s horrified and upset and turns to Nick and reveals what Ben has been doing. Nick tells this to Jacques in hopes of finally getting some kind of father approval but Jacques seeks out to murder Ben instead. However, Mimi stops and kills Jacques instead. Honestly, I had a feeling something like this would happen regarding Jacques but I thought it would be Sophie no Mimi.
Anyway, Sophie sees what happened and covers up for Mimi. We had learned that Sophie had worked at the club and eventually married Jacques and tried to change her entire image. But he was a cruel and evil man and so she hated him and wasn’t too sad to see him gone. However, she did somewhat care for Ben, and decided to keep him alive but hidden.
Both Nick and Antoine thought they were burying Ben when in reality it was Jacques. Also, Antoine really sucked. Ugh.
Instead of some huge climax where everyone is fighting, Jess finds Ben alive but very injured. Eventually, Sophie lets them go so that Mimi can stay safe.
The story ends with Ben writing his big story but not including Sophie, Nick and Mimi in it.
Tell Me Your Thoughts
Honestly, I thought the most interesting reveal was that they were one big family! After that, I thought it was fairly predictable. I just did not care for the other characters and not that I loved Jess or Ben but I thought they were at least somewhat compelling.
I will say, I did appreciate it wasn’t some huge chase/fight at the end and that they actually kind of talked it over—Jess and Sophie. Sometimes these stories really go out there with the climax and it’s way too much. But in the end, not a lot really happened in this book and I do think it wasn’t a surprise Ben was still alive after all.
BTW, it’s so strange how several of the family members fell in love with Ben though but also absolutely hated him. Why did Sophie act like she hated him if she kept him alive? Same with Mimi’s reaction about Ben. And what were they planning to do with him? I don’t know if I missed that or it was never explained. Strange.
What do you think about the novel? Were you surprised by any of the scenes? Do you have any questions about the book you would like to see discussed? Let me know below!