Haunting Paris: A Novel

This lyrical love story (288 pages) was published in May of 2019 by Anchor. The book takes you to 1980s Paris. Melissa read Haunting Paris and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.


Bookshop.org is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support independent bookstores and give back to the book community.


Haunting Paris

A Novel

Mamta Chaudhry

Pianist Sylvie recently lost Julien, the great love of her life. What should be a celebratory time — it’s 198, the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution — is a season of mourning for the life she and Julien had together. Music usually whisks her away to another place, but not even the piano can provide an escape from her grief.

One day in her flat on Île Saint-Louis, she finds a mysterious letter in Julien’s desk, and she feels a spark of something that begins to bring her back to life. The handwritten note seems to hold a clue to a mystery that plagued Julien as long as she knew him. Sylvie sets out to find the author of the letter and to unravel the secrets of Julien’s past. She’s soon confronting dark memories of the Nazi occupation of Paris and the Holocaust.

While Sylvie follows the clues across the city, she’s watched over by Julien’s ghost; their love for each other has created a bond that not even death can break. Julien is a spectral flaneur, wistfully wandering the streets of Paris alone, keeping an eye on his true love, and drifting through the capital’s history. We experience the city’s landmarks and past through his eyes: romantic, exhilarating, lonely, and sometimes shrouded in the gauzy haze of memory.

Author Mamta Chaudhry has written a ghost story that’s tender and wistful — an examination of how guilt, grudges, and secrets can haunt our waking lives. But the ghosts in this story have only good intentions. Their hauntings ultimately shine light in shadowy corners, bringing peace and justice to both the living and the dead.

[T]he city lies spread out at my feet, a symphony of spires and domes and towers. Here and there, monoliths of glass and steel thrust themselves like brash adolescents into a conversation they don’t quite understand. People said the same about the Eiffel Tower when it went up for the first centennial, but I admire the way its sequined lights shine like early stars in the dusk, the filigreed ironwork making it seem for all its substance to float weightlessly, an inspired emblem for the City of Light — in both senses of the word — not just luminosity but also lightness, which we prize above all, in wit, in art, in life. — Mamta Chaudhry

keep reading

We've said it before, but it bears repeating: Paris is always a good idea. That's why we're recommending 13 books that are like a magic portal to Paris. Wouldn't you enjoy a virtual trip to the city by the Seine?
In this lyrical novel of love and loss, our heroine Sylvie embarks on a quest through the beautiful City of Lights to find a child gone missing during WWII and to lay to rest the ghost of the great love of her life.

sharing is caring!

Wanna help us spread the word? If you like this page, please share with your friends.

our mission

Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.

our patreon

Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.

get our newsletter
We'll never share your email with anyone else. Promise.

This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.

no spoilers. ever.

We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.

super-cool reading fun
reading atlas

This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.

get our newsletter
We'll never share your email with anyone else. Promise.
follow us

Content on this site is ©2024 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.