The Paris Affair by Susanne Dunlap
Publication Date: September 30, 2020
Paperback & eBook; 244 pages
Series: Theresa Schurmann Mystery, Book 3
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction
Apparently, false rumors about Marie Antoinette are all the fashion in 1783.
Marie Antoinette is facing hostility from the populace, inflamed by rumors circulated in pamphlets throughout Paris. The rumors claim that she has dozens of lovers, drinks the blood of poor people, holds satanic masses at Versailles, and more, when nothing could be further from the truth. On the advice of the handsome, enigmatic Captain von Bauer, Joseph II–emperor of Austria and Marie Antoinette’s brother–decides that mystery-solving violinist Theresa Schurman is the ideal candidate for a spy to discover the source of these vile slanders.
Theresa is only too glad to get away from Vienna for a while, unwilling to commit herself yet to marrying Zoltan–a Hungarian baron she met when she was fifteen–and running out of reasons to postpone her decision. She is eager, too, to explore a new musical scene and broaden her artistic education. But when the captain confounds her expectations and places her as a bookkeeper in the establishment of Rose Bertin, milliner to the queen, she begins to lose hope that she will ever achieve her musical aims–or the emperor’s goal of exposing the pamphleteers.
A chance encounter with the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, an extraordinary black violinist and expert swordsman, sets Theresa on the path to unraveling the mystery. But will the chevalier’s patron, the powerful duc de Chartres, confound her efforts and put her–and the captain’s–lives in danger?
Be prepared for music, mystery, love, and murder in this riveting tale of pre-revolutionary Paris.
“The settings and situations are enchanting and varied; Dunlap is adept at on-the-fly description and at lacing intrigue with romance…Dunlap proves an arresting tour guide through this rich milieu, summoning up the past without slowing down the storytelling. Author and protagonist alike boast an epigrammatic wit. The touch is light, but the scenery and chatter are sumptuous…Theresa stands as a fascinating protagonist, a woman whose nimble navigation of society’s expectations and several burgeoning romances are exciting and inspiring, even more so than the sleuthing that drives the novel’s plot. The people she encounters are likewise memorable, complex, and surprising, especially the chevalier…This sparkling historical mystery conjures up the salons, fashion, and gossip of Marie Antoinette’s Paris, with a winning emphasis on the power of music and the roles that society allowed women.” – The BookLife Prize
Okay, teenage confession #102: I owned every “Nancy Drew” book that ever graced the shelves of our local bookstore. (Yes, I was at the mercy of our bookstore. Amazon didn’t exist, Y’all.) My days were filled with surviving school, getting through homework and chores, then sitting in the living room with my folks and burying myself in the latest Nancy mystery. (Also Sweet Valley High, but we don’t need to talk about that.) As an adult, I’ve always wished for a Nancy-type mystery series, and hallelujah! I have finally found that with Susanne Dunlap.
The Paris Affair is the third book in the “Theresa Schurman Mystery” series, but can absolutely be read as a stand-alone. The author weaves the story of the previous books...The Musician’s Daughter and The Mozart Conspiracy …seamlessly, allowing the reader to understand what they’ve missed, while also making the reader feel that now, they surely need the first two books to fill in the intriguing gaps. (Job well done, Ms. Dunlap. I shall be purchasing the other two books immediately.)
Theresa Schurman is a fun, stoic, brilliant whip of a young woman, and I loved her immediately. When slanderous rumors start flying about Marie Antoinette, her brother (Emperor Joseph II) hires Theresa with her penchant for solving mysteries, to find out the source of the defamation. What follows is a stunning excursion into Marie Antoinette’s Paris. And what I loved so very much, is that not only do we get to experience the sights and sounds, but the fashion, the culture and the music. Every single page was fun.
History lovers will adore all of the rich, authentic detail, as well as seeing Marie Antoinette in her element. Music lovers will adore the music of the era (Violinists, unite!) (Also, Chevalier de Saint-Georges! We need a book all about him. I’d put a heart emoji here, but I’m trying to adult right now.) And mystery fans! Oh my goodness, you mystery fans. The plot of this book is literally as genius as it gets. The characters themselves are fascinating and memorable and fleshed out beautifully. But the storyline! I couldn’t put the book down, and try as I may, I absolutely could not figure out where the plot was heading.
Bottom Line: Sit back, enjoy Theresa, and relish the twists and turns.
About the Author
Susanne Dunlap is the author of nine works of historical fiction. A graduate of Smith College with a PhD in Music History from Yale University, Susanne grew up in Buffalo, New York and has lived in London, Brooklyn and Northampton, MA. She now lives in Northampton with her long-time partner, Charles, has two grown daughters, three granddaughters, a grandson, a stepson and a stepdaughter, five step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter—that’s a total of four children and eleven grandchildren!
In her spare time she cycles in the beautiful Pioneer Valley.
Blog Tour Schedule
Thursday, October 1
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Monday, October 5
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
Tuesday, October 6
Review at YA, It’s Lit
Thursday, October 8
Excerpt at Turn The Page
Friday, October 9
Review & Excerpt at Bookworlder
Sunday, October 11
Review at Bitch Bookshelf
Monday, October 12
Review at Nursebookie
Tuesday, October 13
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews
Wednesday, October 14
Review at Book Bustle
Saturday, October 17
Review at Reading is My Remedy
During the Blog Tour, one lucky reader will win signed copies of all 3 books in the Theresa Schurmann Mystery series! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on October 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.