Friday 2 October 2020

Paris by Starlight by Robert Dinsdale - Book Review

Amanda Kennedy


Dinsdale's previous novel, The Toymakers, is a particular favourite of mine, which I read in the lead up to Christmas as the magic contained within is of that particular type.

His new novel, Paris by Starlight, is written in the same vein. No particular time in history is offered for the setting, though I would suspect it's before the advent of smartphones and portable technology. 

There are two main protagonists: a young woman who finds herself drawn to Paris in search of her father, and a young man:  refugee from an unnamed country which no longer exists. The couple find each other in Paris and are drawn together by their parallel themes of family and loss.

The magic in this book comes from the young man's ancestry, and the legendary stories his family share from The Nocturne, a volume of fairy tales. As the refugees settle in Paris, they retell stories from the Nocturne of times past when the country lived by starlight and magical flowers bloomed and glowed in the evening light. Soon these stories begin to come to life, first around their new-found home, then spreading outwards across the whole city.

At first, the native Parisians find the nighttime blooms enchanting, but as more seek refuge and to live by Starlight in their city, Paris finds it's inhabitants divided, and so do the star-crossed couple...

Paris by Starlight is certainly an enchanting book, with themes we may find parallel to our own experience and feelings towards real-life asylum seekers who seek safety at our shores. Love and magic are the prevalent themes here, and while I don't find this novel quite as unforgettable as The Toymakers, it is certainly a beautiful novel in which to lose oneself in the depths of imagination.

Paris by Starlight by Robert Dinsdale will be published on 5th November, 2020.

Reviewed by Amanda Kennedy on 30th September 2020. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Amanda Kennedy / Book Blogger, Writer & Editor

Amanda is a lifelong learner and book lover who lives in the North of England with her family and several cats. She writes book reviews, literary news and bookish articles here on All My Pretty Books.

To learn more about Amanda's own work, visit her personal website.


  1. The cover is gorgeous. I really like your review. I think I'm putting this on my TBR.

  2. Lovely review. I'm currently reading this - loved The Toymakers.


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