Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Romance Review: Maggie Finds Her Muse by Dee Ernst

Maggie Finds Her Muse by Dee Ernst
Published: April 20th, 2021

Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat rating: 🔥🔥

# of pages: 304

My rating: 4 stars

Acquired this book: From the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for honest consideration

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Buy: Amazon Canada || Amazon US || Indigo

All Maggie Bliss needs to do is write. Forty-eight years old and newly single (again!), she ventures to Paris in a last-ditch effort to finish her manuscript. With a marvelous apartment at her fingertips and an elegant housekeeper to meet her every need, a finished book—and her dream of finally taking her career over the top—is surely within her grasp. After all, how could she find anything except inspiration in Paris, with its sophistication, food, and romance in the air?

But the clock is running out, and between her charming ex-husband arriving in France for vacation and a handsome Frenchman appearing one morning in her bathtub, Maggie’s previously undisturbed peace goes by the wayside. 

I had really high hopes for Maggie Finds Her Muse: an older heroine who’s a romance writer travels to Paris to find her muse? Sign me up! I love books set in Paris, but many of them feel like they’re lacking in some way, leaving me wanting more. I’m thrilled to say Maggie Finds Her Muse didn’t disappoint - it was funny, compelling, charming, and I really felt like I was there in Paris with Maggie.

Maggie Bliss, 48, has a horrible case of writer’s block. The third book of her bestselling trilogy is due soon, but she hasn’t even started writing it. Between feeling completely stuck and breaking up with her boyfriend, something’s gotta give. When her agent invites Maggie to join him and his partner at their home in Paris for the next several weeks, she agrees, hoping the change of scenery will unblock her creative flow.

This book was such a light, fun, feel-good read. Maggie had realistic struggles, but they weren’t drawn out or overdramatized for the sake of it, which I appreciated. I loved her explorations and observations of Paris, felt like I was vicariously consuming tons of delicious food and wine, and enjoyed the variety of characters from Solange, Maggie’s agent’s wise and wily housekeeper, to Solange’s son Max, a sexy Frenchman who instantly piques Maggie’s interest, to Maggie’s adult daughter, Nicole, who had Asperger’s. Oh, and Solange’s snorty, farty bulldog, Jules, won a special place in my heart too.

I’m used to reading about characters in their twenties and thirties, so I really appreciated that Maggie was 48, had been married and divorced, and had a long career. Despite the fact Maggie is eleven years older than I am, I connected with her easily and found her relatable. I enjoyed the romantic elements in the story, from Maggie’s break-up with her self-centred boyfriend to reuniting with her ex-husband to meeting Max. She didn’t come to Paris looking for romance, and she felt strange about the romantic stirrings she was feeling because she’d just ended a relationship. Still, those feelings were there, and it would have been easy for her to go back to comfort and familiarity with her ex-husband - who had changed and seemed like a better match for her now than he was way back when - or pursue something with Max, who was very French, seemed like a lady’s man, and represented the new and unfamiliar. I loved watching Maggie grow and learn, figure out what she wanted at this stage of her life, and go for it.

Maggie Finds Her Muse left me with a big smile on my face. Between great characters, a fun premise, and a beautiful and vivid setting, this book was a definite winner for me, and I know I’ll be recommending it to many fellow romance lovers. 

Have you read Maggie Finds Her Muse? Do you enjoy books that feature older characters? How about books set in Paris?

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