In Kincer’s (Trail Mix, 2014, etc.) novel, a divorced mother of two flies off to Paris to chase after her runaway teenage daughter and rediscovers herself in the process.
This enjoyable romp through Paris and Marseille combines the terror of a possible kidnapping with chick-lit–style romance. On Sadie Ford’s 50th birthday, she discovers that her 17-year-old daughter, Scarlett, hasn’t gone to spend the first two weeks of her summer vacation with her father, Drake, as planned. She has, in fact, flown off to Paris with the intention of losing her virginity to Luc Rollande, a foreign exchange student she knows from high school. Sadie books the first flight out of St. Petersburg, Florida, but Luc and Scarlett aren’t at Luc’s address. When Sadie finally connects with Luc’s father, Auguste, the two join forces to track down their missing offspring. In the midst of their angst and fear about what’s happened to the teenagers, Sadie and Auguste find themselves magnetically drawn to each other. As if this isn’t enough drama, Sadie receives a frantic phone call from her older daughter, Evangeline, who’s landed in a New Orleans hospital in the throes of a panic attack. What’s a mother to do? There’s more sparkle in this novel than one may expect from the general plot description. Even in her desperation to find Scarlett, Sadie is entranced by Paris, and through her wanderings, readers get a first-rate tour of the city, complete with the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that make it unique: “The sounds of a Paris street engulfed me. A faraway church bell rang. Cars accelerated, all stick shifts.” Then there are Sadie’s observations of the (admittedly upscale) cultural differences that confound her as a displaced Floridian—including the time that locals devote to the details of every eating experience and the ubiquitous, sometimes-infuriating, tendency of Parisians to shrug in answer to questions. Kincer also has a knack for depicting the delicate line that parents walk when trying to simultaneously protect teens and respect their independence.
A pleasant diversion with an appealing lead character and just enough tension to propel the narrative.