Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Antoine Laurain's Vintage 1954 Book Reviewed

Antoine Laurain's Vintage 1954

I usually know exactly how I am going to start a book review before I even put the book down. However, that was not the case with the book Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain because I was concerned that speaking of any of the individual moments in the book would ruin the fun surprises.

Inspired by the tagline on the front of the book I decided I would simply ask, “What would you do if you could travel to the Paris of your dreams. In 1954?” That is exactly what happens in this book though it is definitely a case of time travel for entertainment purposes and not a scientific look at time travel.

Four residents of a Parisian apartment building meet and, after sharing a very special bottle of 1954 Beaujolais, they discover that it has, as the back cover of the book says, special properties. They wake up the next morning in 1954 with some of them temporarily unaware of the difference and others instantly aware that things are not as they should be.

The characters are an interesting mix that includes a man whose family originally owned almost all of the apartments in the building, an antique restorer, a mixologist and an American tourist who is renting an Airbnb. It is through each of their perspectives that we see Paris of the 1950s.

NB Magazine put it perfectly when they say that, "the comedy is gentle and slightly absurd and that there are many clever vignettes and sketches that enrich the novel." I totally agree. Vintage 1954 is a lightweight but charming, entertaining and sometimes funny book that is RECOMMENDED by me. 

The book was exactly what I and perhaps even you need right about now. It is historical fiction of a different sort. It is quirky or whimsical. It is a romantic book but one in which the romance stems from the setting and the storytelling rather than the fact that two of the characters in the book discover that they love each other. Some might call it a good summer read.

In my mind, there is nothing dark or nasty about it at all though there is a sex scene and the drinking of alcohol. The book is a chance for a trip to Paris from the comfort of your armchair and an opportunity to see and think about some of the contrasts between the Paris of 2017 and the Paris of 1954 and of course, simply the contrasts between those years wherever you may be. The world is a very different place today than it was then.

I enjoyed meeting the characters, seeing Paris through each of their individual lenses, seeing the city of lights in a different time and having the opportunity to meet some of the celebrities who frequented 1950s Paris. I am not naming the celebrities so that you can enjoy them when you meet them in the book.  I was surprised at the very end of the book when the author managed to squeeze in a little life lesson for each of them.

How about it? Would you like to travel back to 1954 or to read this book? Find your copy of or learn more about Vintage 1954 on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
At the bookstore!

Quick Links:

Buy your copy of Vintage 1954 on Amazon.
The Time Traveler’s Wife movie review.
An American in Paris movie review.
Discover French Kiss, the ultimate romantic movie soundtrack
Pam Jenoff's Lost Girls of Paris book review. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. I remember 1954 in my own life very well. Thus, I think it would be fun and interesting to see the Paris of 1954 through the eyes of the characters in this book. Plus, seeing the differences between their known world of 2017 and what it must have been like in 1954. Fun book review, Brenda. Thank you.

  2. I think I would love this book. A good summertime read is always worth the time to flip those pages. Thanks Brenda for this review. It's going on my list of Must Reads as soon as I finish posting this message.

    1. You are welcome, Olivia. When you get to it, I am sure you will enjoy Vintage 1954!

  3. "Slightly absurd" sounds like pure entertainment to me! I also agree with you that it is exactly what we all need right now. You have certainly peeked my interest. I have been to Paris a few times and thoroughly enjoyed my visits there. Now I do wonder how it looked in 54.

    1. Ahh, you're like me then, mouse. I don't want to mention specifics here because it was so fun to discover the differences in the book. Some of those differences would be doubly interesting to someone who has been to Paris in the last decade.

  4. I really like the premise and gentle, slightly absurd, humorous tone of this story! It sounds fun, intriguing, and entertaining. I'm not usually a big fan of time travel books, but this one sounds a lot less confusing than most I've read, as well as a relaxing read. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

  5. Definitely a simpler take on time travel with little time spent dwelling on HOW it could happen and a simple acceptance of the fact that it did!

  6. This sounds like a book I would enjoy. Thanks for your delightful review!

  7. Time Travel is my number one favorite topic in movies, and books as well. As soon as you pointed out it was Time Travel, I had to read every word of this review. I'm so obsessed with that topic that on Netflix and Amazon Prime I always search to see if there are any new time travel movies. I know I'd thoroughly enjoy this book. Thanks for the heads up on this one; it sounds fun!

  8. Thank you for this review Brenda. This sounds like a book I would enjoy. I have visited Paris so it would be interesting to see the authors take on it in different time period. I like a book with good characters and sounds like you enjoyed meeting them too!


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