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New Normal by Michelle Paris

An engrossing and poignant coming of age story that registers profound feelings. 

Paris weaves in a tender story about grief, love, and second chances in her debut novel. Struggling to come to terms with the unexpected death of her beloved husband, Emilie Russell is trying her best to move forward. Her well-meaning friend, Viv, strongly believes Emilie should begin dating, the only way to move past her tragedy. She sets Emilie up with her handsome and charming new neighbor, widower Colin. Their shared grief brings them closer, forming a strong bond of friendship. Soon, Emilie embarks on a rollicking journey of self-discovery with Colin as her mentor and best friend. The book’s pace is leisurely, and Paris’s characterization is top-notch: both the main and secondary players feel true to life. Emilie, in particular, is fully believable and relatable as a middle-aged widow trying her best to come to terms with her husband’s death. Colin and Ida are thoroughly additive. The third-person omniscient narrative voice works brilliantly, placing readers in Emilie’s head and unraveling her struggles with her grief (which give extra depth to her character). Through the brilliant character of the wise old Ida, Emilie can finally see the path to come out of her tiring circumstances. Just as impressive are Paris’s profound examinations of finding love again with much food for thought on grief, the nature of memories, and how they shape us. Though the subject matters of widowhood and grief are heavy-handed, Paris offers a hopeful ending for her likable heroine. An engrossing story that serves as both a contemporary romance and an insightful study of grief and second chances.

New Normal

Michelle Paris

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Loyola College/Apprentice House

Pub date May 2 2023

ISBN ‎ 978-1627204521

Price $25.03 (USD) Paperback, $38.22 Hardcover, 7.37 Kindle edition

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