Book Club: Paris Dreaming

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Author: Katrina Lawrence
ISBN: 978-1-4607-5360-6
RRP: $35
Publisher: Harper Collins
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The silly season came and slapped me in the face, I am so far behind on EVERYTHING that there is just no way I am going to be able to get through all the December books in time to get readers feedback links. I am 4 days out from my holiday with no packing, no cleaning and no wrapping completed.


So, I have decided the best way to tackle the holiday season book club reads is to get a post up for readers to leave their feedback on and I will read and review separately. It helps ease the pressure on me and that is what I am in dire need of right now.

Paris Dreaming is a book that would make a fantastic Christmas present for that hard to buy for lady with a love of all things Paris; it is part memoir, part travelogue and it is absolutely gorgeous from cover to cover.

The cover image leaves me thinking of fashion week and designer sketches with it’s gold dot cover text and flowing silhouette. It’s a sturdy black and white striped hardcover under the jacket that is elegant and eye-catching; all the things that evoke the romance of Paris.

Inside, the prose is lyrical and evocative. Lawrence tells us of her love of Paris, from the first visit as a five year old right through to now, across all stages of her life and so many trips that she has officially lost count. Lawrence lives in Australia with her husband and sons but counts Paris as her spiritual home, a place she has never technically lived.

Lawrence talks of the impact Paris has had on her life, her views on beauty and her perspective. Paris Dreaming is all things Paris; there is some history, some biographical info on fascinating Parisiennes and Parisian musings on topics from politics to perfume, fashion, feminism and femininity. This is a book to inspire everyone on their journey to a good life, to appreciate the little things and to bask in the beauty of Paris.

We see Paris through the eyes of a woman at all stages of her life; from the vibrant five year old innocent, the high school graduate, the young journalist, the heartbroken single, the happily married and the mother.

Katrina Lawrence is one of Australia’s most awarded beauty writers, having won two esteemed Jasmine Awards for fragrance journalism. A 20 year career as a beauty journalist has seen Lawrence write for a wide range of women’s magazines and online publications. Paris Dreaming is her first book and shares her love of all things Paris, taking us on an intimate journey around the hidden secrets and the spectacular sights.

Katrina Lawrence is The Paris Dreamer and can be found on Facebook, Instagram and her website.

Paris Dreaming is published by HarperCollins and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to HarperCollins 15 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading Paris Dreaming so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

#christmasgiving #beautyandlacechristmas #bookgifts

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17 thoughts on “Book Club: Paris Dreaming

  1. Paris Dreaming by Katrina Lawrence takes the reader on a stroll through Paris with someone who clearly knows and really loves the city and for whom it has been a significant influence.

    This gorgeous looking book (with its baby pink tonings and fashion model silhouette on the cover) is both a tribute to the City of Light as well as a very personal remembrance of the author Katrina Lawrence’s own life. Paris has been the touchstone for many of her important memories, starting from when she was a child having her first bite of a madeleine ( those yummy little French tea cakes), and realising there was more to life than suburban Australia.

    Interspersed throughout the book are pieces on French history, culture, social changes from the Belle Epoque to the present day, helpful travel hints and favourite places to check out as well as some beauty tips. And all of them are related back to what was happening in the authors life when she discovered them. For example a discussion about the rise of Brigitte Bardot as an icon and her free spirited persona are related back to the author’s own search for her identity as an awkward young teenager transitioning into womanhood.

    This is an interesting and enjoyable book both for ardent francophiles as well as for those who have had little to do with or previous knowledge of the French way or Paris and its many delights.

  2. Paris Dreaming by Katrina Lawrence takes the reader on a stroll through Paris with someone who clearly knows and really loves the city and for whom it has been a significant influence.

    This gorgeous looking book (with its baby pink tonings and fashion model silhouette on the cover) is both a tribute to the City of Light as well as a very personal remembrance of the author Katrina Lawrence’s own life. Paris has been the touchstone for many of her important memories, starting from when she was a child having her first bite of a madeleine ( those yummy little French tea cakes), and realising there was more to life than suburban Australia.

    Interspersed throughout the book are pieces on French history, culture, social changes from the Belle Epoque to the present day, helpful travel hints and favourite places to check out as well as some beauty tips. And all of them are related back to what was happening in the authors life when she discovered them. For example a discussion about the rise of Brigitte Bardot as an icon and her free spirited persona are related back to the author’s own search for her identity as an awkward young teenager transitioning into womanhood.

    This is an interesting and enjoyable book both for the ardent francophiles as well as for those who have had little to do with or previous knowledge of the French way or Paris and its many delights.

  3. Paris Dreaming by Katrina Lawrence takes the reader on a stroll through Paris with someone who clearly knows and really loves the city and for whom it has been a significant influence.

    This gorgeous looking book (with its baby pink tonings and fashion model silhouette on the cover) is both a tribute to the City of Light as well as a very personal remembrance of the author Katrina Lawrence’s own life. Paris has been the touchstone for many of her important memories, starting from when she was a child having her first bite of a madeleine ( those yummy little French tea cakes), and realising there was more to life than suburban Australia.

    Interspersed throughout the book are pieces on French history, culture, social changes from the Belle Epoque to the present day, helpful travel hints and favourite places to check out as well as some beauty tips. And all of them are related back to what was happening in the authors life when she discovered them. For example a discussion about the rise of Brigitte Bardot as an icon and her free spirited persona are related back to the author’s own search for her identity as an awkward young teenager transitioning into womanhood.

    This is an interesting and enjoyable book both for the ardent francophiles as well as for those who have had little to do with or previous knowledge of the French way or Paris and its many delights.

  4. Paris Dreaming by Katrina Lawrence stars as a young five year old who travels to Paris with her parents and is instantly in love with it. So much so she visits too many times to count. Each time she visits Paris it has a different impact on her as she discovers new elements not seen in previous visits. Different styles, past history, people she meets and who leave here with many open thoughts, love and losses.
    Try to find her herself and who she wants to be as a person, her style (which differs over time) and her career. She changes a lot in the early years until suddenly realises who she is and the career she needs to be in. Paris gives her fashion, age, history, character, style and architecture. Eventually she becomes a fashion writer as her love of stains through.
    As Katrina wanders you get a real insight into what life in Paris is really like. Her descriptions as she writes almost makes you feel you are there beside her.
    A lovely book, written from the heart with passion and through travel experience.
    A beautiful novel and if you haven’t had a glass of champagne by now then I suggest you grab and bottle and crystal glass and read this gorgeous story.

  5. “Paris Dreaming” is an indulgent coming of age story of beauty writer Katrina Lawrence, as she grows up and falls in love with Paris and French lifestyle. Katrina escapes to Paris at significant moments in her life, to celebrate, to grow and to heal. She intertwines her love affair with Paris and French lifestyle alongside France’s rich history to make a dense engrossing story.
    The writing transported me to a chic Paris café, sipping on the endless glasses of champagne, the indulgent warm buttery croissants and hot chocolates that the author indulges in throughout her journey. A surprising aspect of the book is the rich French history interwoven throughout, creating another layer of depth than what the pretty pink cover alludes to.
    Overall it is a truly wonderful read and something to be savoured as it awakens that travel bug within, whilst simultaneously reminding the reader to embrace the joie de vivre and the finer things in life.

  6. Paris Dreaming is a fairly easy to read book written in the first person and made me long for the city of love and romance. It is a book filled with love, personal growth and discovery and ofcourse love.
    I like the relationships in the book which seem to develop and change over time.
    This book is filled with thoughts and ideas about Paris, about French women and French living.
    It really feels like I’m in Paris and am chatting to a friend as she discovers herself and her wants and needs. There are also details about French fashion and French culture, which gives us more knowledge into the French lifestyle.
    It is also about family and relationships, making it very relatable and easy to understand.
    There is ofcourse the city of Paris and romance of this beautiful city interwoven in the storyline, which makes the book romantic and a pleasure to read. There is also a good amount of French history which gives a nice background and depth to the storyline.

    This book would suit anyone who wants a good book to read filled with travel, experiences and self discovery. Perfect to read on hot lazy summer afternoons by the pool and pretend you’re in Paris too!

  7. The exquisitely beautiful cover of Paris Dreaming is shown above and sets the tone for the book by Katrina Lawrence. Definitely part memoir, part travelogue and part blog the memories are interspersed with incredibly well researched historical fact.

    Katarina first fell in love with Paris aged 5 and there is a beautiful photo of her at that age in Paris at the beginning of Paris Dreaming. Each chapter, apart from the last, is prefaced with a lovely and appropriate black and while illustration relating to the particular memoir to come.

    I would have loved more detail relating to the weddings, especially Katrina’s best friend’s when Katrina was bridesmaid and also her own but that wasn’t part of the story. French phrases intersperse the memories and the often detailed historical fact relating to places visited makes for interesting reading. My only problem was that I had such high expectations for this interesting book that the actual reading didn’t quite live up to those expectations and I was left a little disappointed. I’m sure that is my problem, rather than a problem with the book.

    Thank you, Beauty and Lace, Harper Collins and Katrina Lawrence for the opportunity to explore this beautifully presented book.

  8. Thank you to Beauty and Lace, Harper Collins and Katrina Lawrence for the opportunity to read Paris Dreaming.

    This book is beautiful and thoughtful memoir of Katrina Lawrence’s times spent in Paris, and what the city and people mean to her. She is able to describe the events that take place in Paris so vividly, and explain how they effect her life.

    While this book describes the love that Katrina Lawrence has for Paris, it is also interspersed with French phrases (I’m glad I have done a little French at school), and some French history. It is an interesting read, and not exactly what I had expected.

    A delightful book for all who love Paris and all that is French

  9. Paris Dreaming is a book you will easily fall in love with on first sight. When I first opened my parcel from the publisher which contained this book from Harper Collins Books Australia, I was taken aback by just how beautiful this book is on the outside. It features the silhouette of a fashion model, adorned in a stunning blush pink dress. The title of the novel and the outline of the Paris skyline are embossed in gold. I will admit to spending a lot of time before opening the book to read fawning over the cover!

    Inside the book Paris Dreaming, written by beauty journalist Katrina Lawrence, is the story of a young girl who fell in love with the city of lights, Paris, at just five years old. Since this life changing family trip, Katrina has made many return visits to the most beautiful city in the world, often at pivotal turning points in her life. These include visits that coincided with her high school graduation, the beginning of her career in journalism, to falling in love and taking a vacation as a mother of two. In this unique travel memoir and testament to Paris, Lawrence shares her thoughts on the way of life in Paris. Lawrence includes vignettes on feminism, politics and includes some interesting historical events, as well as information on key Parisian figureheads. Tied together with these influences are Katrina Lawrence’s offerings on the not to be missed sights of Paris, the food, fashion and cultural aspects of this rich locale. Most of all, after Lawrence shares a few special moments about Paris and she guides the reader to a ‘good life’, which she believes can be taken directly from the experiences in Paris Dreaming.

    As a self confessed Francophile since I made my maiden voyage to the city of lights in 2009, I have read a lot and I stress a lot of literature on Paris. This has ranged from fiction, to non fiction, historicals, travel guides and biographies. I loved the fact that Paris Dreaming, by Katrina Lawrence, offered a fresh take on a city of thought I knew so much about. Boy was I mistaken! Through Katrina Lawrence and her delightful genre hybrid Paris Dreaming, I was able to glean much more about a city I have loved for many years.

    Katrina Lawrence is the ultimate tour guide, her approach to selling the sights and sounds of Paris is touching, insightful and original. Throughout your time with Paris Dreaming, expect to be hit with plenty of historical fact, told in an engaging way. Expect plenty of beauty tips and fashion, plus fashion icons and trends of the Parisians. Expect anecdotes on feminism, politics, art and culture. Expect to taste and drink in the wonderful food and culinary delights Paris has to offer. Most all, expect to come away from Paris Dreaming learning a thing or two, or thinking a little differently on what the good life constitutes.

    Paris Dreaming is an exquisite book inside and out. I adored the structure of this book very much. Each chapter in the book correlates to a stage in the author, Katrina Lawrence’s life. Readers will be astounded by the stunning black and white illustrations that open each chapter. I desperately wanted to hang these images on my walls as I loved them so very much! The extra special touches added to this book are clearly a reflection of the thought and care that has gone into the production of Paris Dreaming. A beautiful map of Paris at the front, personal photographs and a note on use of font in the book (adobe garamond – an elegant font inspired by the work of a 16th century Parisian punch cutter) demonstrates Lawrence’s devotion to getting the finer details of this book just right. Combined with an impressive bibliography at the close, Lawrence’s depth of research cannot be faulted.

    Paris Dreaming is the ultimate coffee table accessory and it is a beautiful book to add to your personal library. It would make the perfect gift, especially for someone who has a passion for Paris, is about to embark on a trip to the city or simply dreams of visiting one day.

    *I wish to thank Beauty and Lace/Harper Collins Books Australia for providing me with a copy of this book for review purposes.

  10. what can I write that has not already been written… Now that is a very hard question on this wonderful book. I may never get to see Paris, but I can see it through the eyes of another person…. one Katrina Lawrence… she has a wonderful memory and can go right back until she was only 5 years old and made her first visit. I think that we can all do this in different ways, I mean I can go back to when I was a child and visited the same place every year with my parents, and they loved to go fishing… In fact that is why I guess I still love to fish. The Paris story has a wonderful cover, and you cannot help but wonder what is inside the covers , so the best thing to do is sit and read it. It is a really fascinating book, and one that brings you , the reader right into Paris and what is was and is like. I know I did a little study years ago, as I was taking up painting in oils and watercolours, and so many of the wonderful paintings cover the Louvre and those that lived in and around Paris itself. I can only suggest to the readers, do not take my word for it, but do you rself try and get a copy to read, and then slowly assimilate all that is in it about Paris and the people, ao on this I give it a rating of 5 and sign off for now……… thank you for sending me the book to read Michelle, enjoyed it, and will read again in a few months time, to be able to assimilate it more……

  11. My first impression: such chic packaging! Katrina Lawrence is clearly a very intelligent, well read author. I enjoyed lots of the little facts which made me smile and sometimes laugh about Paris that are thrown in around her autobiography and travel guide. However, a lot of the facts were repeated which was a bit dull. I have also been to Paris many times so I found the way it was written as a travel guide at times boring and at others found myself taking note of places to visit in the future that I had never heard about. I do think it’s presumptuous to write about Parisiennes when you have only gone to Paris as a tourist. If the author had actually lived there and immersed herself in the culture that would be a whole different (and much more interesting) story. That said, I did enjoy the book as an escape. Katrina’s prose is lovely and draws you in and I look forward to reading more from her.

  12. Paris Dreaming by Katrina Lawrence is about her time growing up in Paris having parents with different opinions about the city of Paris.
    A good read if you are going to Paris or living there.

  13. Paris Dreaming by Katrina Lawrence is a book that I was really excited to get my hands on.
    Katrina shares with the reader her amazing knowledge of the city of Paris. A city that she obviously has a great and enduring love for. Her love of Paris began at age 5 and that is where we start our journey as she then takes us through the various life stages and many trips to Paris and shares with us all her adventures and knowledge. I was really excited that the story started with a lovely photo of Katrina aged 5..in Paris of course but I was a little sad that there was not more wonderful photos scattered throughout the book but thats me wanting to be nosey.
    Katrina walks us though various aspects of Paris from the food, fashion, beauty, history, etc…..Its all there and reading this book had me wanting to jump on a plane and go and see for myself…shame that my bank balance said “No”
    If you dream of Paris, are heading to Paris or would just like to learn about Paris then this is the book for you.
    I must admit that a big reason I was enticed by this book was because as soon as I saw the name Katrina Lawrence I knew I had to read her book. Many years ago….and I really cant remember how long ago it was ….my path was lucky enough to cross with Katrina’s when she became the new Editor for an online magazine that had a forum on their website. Katrina was amazing and in the time that she was running the site we had several conversations and I was very sad when she moved on. I harped on for years about how things were not the same since Katrina left. So finding out that she had written this book meant that it became a must read for me and Im so very glad that I have read it and perhaps one day I will get to venture to Paris and discover some of these wonderful places for myself.

  14. What an exquisite book Katrina Lawrence’s Paris Dreaming is! Just gorgeous to look at and some of the most fabulous armchair travel when you delve inside.

    I loved how Lawrence explored her experiences of and relationship with the city over many different stages in life and how they evolved over time. She also includes many interesting facts, historical tit bits and amusing anecdotes. I was entertained, educated and enriched all at once.

    Reading this book has certainly made my itchy feet worse! I will pass it on now to my francophile daughter with whom one day I will stroll the streets of Paris!

  15. Lovely- I soooo enjoyed holding, keeping and reading this book, in so many ways. 5 Stars. The book is lovely to behold, quality binding and papers, soft pink with gold picking out the Paris skyline. It would make a lovely gift for a female friend or relative as it is unique mix of the telling of a girl growing up dreaming of Paris and all things French and how that dream panned out in real life. The book is really fun to read, lots of illustrations all with the stylish Parisian twist and interesting facts about French history and life in Paris mixed in, jazz it all up. The Paris side is what gives it appeal but on another level it could be taken on life and growing up and and how we view things as we mature, for child, to idealistic teenager and through womanhood.

  16. From the moment I saw Paris Dreaming, I knew that I would love every page of it. The cover of the book drew me in with its dusky pinks cover, exuding high fashion and beauty.

    I felt like I was in Paris walking down the tiny cobble stone lanes, leading to areas bustling with cafes and pastry shops. Yes every second I read this, I was imagining my visit to Paris, it really took me back.

    Although I enjoyed the elements of beauty and fashion, what drew me in more was the historical content. In particular I found myself looking up some of the events and architecture after Katrina Lawrence shared her story of the area or building and added them onto my bucket list.

    Thank you Katrina Lawrence, because you have re-sparked my love for Paris and I can’t wait to return again one day, with more understanding for the city and Parisian lifestyle.

  17. Thank you to the Beauty and Lace Book Club for giving me the opportunity to read this interesting book.

    Its not the kind of book that I would usually pick up and read but I enjoyed it.

    Its a mixture of biography and travel log of Katrina Lawrence who has a great love of France and all things French.

    A well wriiten book and a good read.

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