Susan Conley

“Susan Conley’s Paris Was the Place has the kind of emotional weight you hope for in a novel. Its world, by turns achingly beautiful and brutally unjust, is as vividly rendered as its characters, whose joys and struggles we embrace as our own.”

Richard Russo, author of Elsewhere and Empire Falls

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As you discover the stories embedded in this book, you’ll also ascertain that they transcend Paris; that they truly transcend any single, one moment. And with a cast of characters so divine, you’ll wish you could invite them all for dinner, just so you can be a part of their memories for a little while longer.

The California Journal of Woman's Books, Jennifer Carter

Once it took hold of me, it didn’t let go. I loved all the characters that I met along the way. It will be hard to stop reading this book once you start going. A great first novel for Ms. Conley.

Portland Book Review

Conley’s debut novel is a satisfying cassoulet of questions about home, comfort and love, served with a fresh perspective on a dazzling city.

People Magazine

Captivating descriptions highlight the hallmarks and quirks of the various arrondissements and neighborhoods with a “you are here” immediacy.

The Boston Globe, Karen Campbell

The culture, flavor, keen detail, and literature of Paris, India, and the US are lyrically interwoven in a story about hope, love, family, forgiveness, expectation, risk, loss, and letting go.

The Boston Globe, "Pick of the Week"

The characters in this tale of collegiate expat living [have] deeply felt interactions.

Elle Magazine Readers Prize

Susan Conley believes in feeding her readers. She gives her reader something to bite into and hold onto. Something to feel. And in Paris Was the Place, the delving is delicious and filling, lingering long after the meal is complete.

The Portland Phoenix, Deirdre Fulton

“…Conley adroitly demonstrates her infectious passion for Paris through an extensive and intimate portrait of the inner workings concealed behind its seductive facade.”


“In an affecting debut, Willow Pears learns not only to love, but also what matters when dealing with loss and problems that have no solutions. The sympathetic storytelling and limpid first-person narration succeeds in casting a spell.”

Kirkus Reviews

Susan Conley's Paris Was the Place has the kind of emotional weight you hope for in a novel. Its world, by turns achingly beautiful and brutally unjust, is as vividly rendered as its characters, whose joys and struggles we embrace as our own.

Richard Russo, author of Elsewhere and Empire Falls

Susan Conley's wonderful new novel is about the complicated bonds of family and relationships, and told with glowing compassion and humor that causes the triumphs to shine.

River Run Books, Portsmouth, NH

Conley's breathtaking novel is about falling on and off the grid of life, and rediscovering your intellectual, emotional, and very real human coordinates. A must read!

Essex Books, Essex, CT

The reader is wrapped in a warm cocoon of family and friendship and gorgeous, heart-stopping prose and a story that will remain with them long after turning the final pages of this beautiful novel.

Longfellow Books, Portland, ME

Smart and compulsively readable, Paris Was the Place is a bittersweet meditation on responsibility and family, and on the power of words to save us.

Maryanne O’Hara, author of Cascade

Sensual and seductive, Paris Was the Place pulls you in and doesn't let you go. Find your nearest chair and start reading. With her poet's eye, Conley has woven a vivid, masterful tale of love and its costs.

Lily King, author of Father of the Rain

Willow Pears is an irresistible heroine.

Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

Paris Was the Place is a gorgeous love story and a wise, intimate journal of dislocation that examines how far we'll go for the people we love most. I couldn't put it down.

Ayelet Waldman, author of Red Hook Road

Tenderhearted, earnest, and sincere in ways that make it hard to deny… the heart of the book is the interlocking love stories.

Publishers Weekly

Susan Conley's deft, moving novel is a beautiful love song, as much to Paris as to that tipping point in life when love and loss combine and perhaps, for the first time, both heartbroken and thrilled, you feel acutely what it means to be fully human and alive.

Sarah Blake, author of The Postmistress



Portland Public Library, 5:30 PM

The Portland Public Library has picked Paris Was the Place as their September Book Club choice. Join Susan at the library for their Friday Night Book Club discussion.