Diana Biller's The Brightest Star in Paris is a thrilling story of first loves and second chances.
She never expected her first love to return, but is he here to stay?
Amelie St. James is a fraud. After the Siege of Paris, she became “St. Amie,” the sweet, virtuous prima ballerina the Paris Opera Ballet needed to restore its scandalous reputation, all to protect the safe life she has struggled to build for her and her sister. But when her first love reappears looking as devastatingly handsome as ever, and the ghosts of her past quite literally come back to haunt her, her hard-fought safety is thrown into chaos.
Dr. Benedict Moore has never forgotten the girl who helped him embrace life after he almost lost his. Now, years later, he’s back in Paris. His goals are to recruit promising new scientists, and maybe to see Amelie again. When he discovers she’s in trouble, he’s desperate to help her—and hold her in his arms.
When she finally agrees to let him help, they disguise their time together with a fake courtship. Soon, with the help of an ill-advised but steamy kiss, old feelings reignite. Except, their lives are an ocean apart. Will they be able to make it out with their hearts intact?
"I foresee years of excellent storytelling from Diana Biller; the certainty of that excites me." - Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
A prima ballerina in 1870s Paris is haunted by the ghosts of wronged women in this atmospheric sequel to Biller's The Widow of Rose House. Amelie St. James has made herself into a living saint in the eyes of the public in order to cover up her ballet company's scandals. Exhausted and with an untreated hip injury, she's grimly enduring the two remaining years until she can retire. Then she starts seeing the ghosts of women she once knew: Lise Martin, a murdered ballerina; Rachel Bonnard, who was executed for arson; and Violette, a cabaret singer and Amelie's former neighbor. The only person who can help is Dr. Benedict Moore, Amelie's first love, with whom she shares dark memories of the horrific traumas of the Franco-Prussian War; the Siege of Paris, which ended the war; and the 1871 Paris Commune, an insurrection that followed. The anachronistic-feeling Moore family offer significant mood whiplash, as their 21st-century sitcom antics do not mesh well with an otherwise dark story. Historically minded readers especially will take issue with how these characters speak, think, and act like modern Americans. Still, Biller's fans will enjoy the feminist romance filtered through familiar gothic tropes.