Leah and Robert have been together for 18 years and have two teenage daughters. Their marriage is relatively happy and normal, even if sometimes Robert disappears for a few days to write, but he always leaves behind a note. Until one day, he doesn't. Leah doesn't know what to think and the police can't find any trace of him, so when she finds out that he had booked tickets for Paris, a place they always dreamt to visit together, she thinks that this is a sign he is there and she flies off to Paris with her daughters. What was supposed to be a three-week holiday in search of her husband turns into a permanent stay as Leah finds a job in a bookstore, a flat to live in, and she enrolls her daughters in a French school. She doesn't stop looking for Robert because she finds signs that he is there in Paris with them.
Leah and Robert bonded over their love for a French film for her, The Red Balloon, and a children book for him, Madeline, and it was fascinating to explore not the touristic Paris with its famous landmarks, but the Paris of the film and the book. The author focuses on Leah's struggle to find her husband, keep her family together, and start a new life in a completely different country, so the narration is slow, but I still found this novel heartbreaking, moving, and completely riveting. (NP)