Pride Reads: “Eight Weeks in Paris” by S.R. Lane

Pride Reads 2023 is moving right along, from a book where the romance seemed almost secondary to a book where the romance is the entire point. Eight Weeks in Paris by S.R. Lane is the story of what is basically an ill-advised romance on the set of a period film. The leads – one out, one closeted – deal with overcoming preconceived notions and the viciousness that is entertainment media.

Nicholas Madden, an actor known for his temperamental nature on set, is heavily invested in the success of his latest film, The Throne. The book on which its based, a queer historical drama set in turn-of-the-century France, is very important to him. So he is incensed when Christian Lavalle, an out and proud model, is cast as his character’s love interest. After all, there’s no way that a mere model will be able to grasp the complexities of the character.

The cover of Eight Weeks in Paris is much too whimsical for a story that ended up being quite serious. From the description and the cover, I was expecting a light fluffy romance. Instead you are sucked into what essentially reads as a liaison doomed to fail. The text is peppered with quotes from either the movie they are filming or the book that it is based on, with Chris and Nicholas often falling into their roles when they don’t want to deal with their own feelings.

I will say that I feel the writing style was really suited to the story it was telling. The plot is so focused around the movie, which is a period piece, and the writing felt very historical in nature. There was a lot of yearning (it’s very much a slow burn), a lot of focus on casual touches, and the intimacy that comes with dancing. It’s told from alternating points of view, and there wasn’t much difference between their internal voices, so sometimes it took me a while to realize whose head we were supposed to be in.

Each chapter starts with a glimpse of the outside world – forum posts, tweets, excerpts from articles – which I thought was a nice touch. I’ve always been a fan of epistolary novels, and I like when authors can skillfully meld social media into the narrative.

Sadly, I was not bowled over by the romance. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t captivated the way I had hoped that I would be. I’m a sucker for a good romance, and this is perfectly adequate, but it didn’t really light my fire.

Now, what I did like was the social commentary, which feels particularly timely right now. Nicholas is closeted because he worries about losing roles if people discover that he’s gay (a justified fear, as it turns out), which is a perfectly valid reason that a lot of queer celebrities don’t come out. On the opposite side, you have openly gay Chris, and naturally the speculation around him is that he slept his way onto the picture.

There is also a not small component of the story that veers into the harm that can come from speculating about someone’s sexuality. Abbott Elementary‘s Tyler James Williams addressed the harmfulness of the practice on his Instagram stories earlier this week. And look no further than Kit Connor, who was essentially bullied into coming out when alleged fans questioned his queer cred for playing loveable bicon Nick Nelson in Heartstopper.

So while I can’t say that this is one of my favorite romances, it was charming enough to keep me reading. And I’m always appreciative of queer romances that are able to provide valuable social commentary while managing to give their characters a happy ending. I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I’m tired of reading and watching depressing things. I just want people to be happy!


Eight Weeks in Paris by S.R. Lane is published by Carina Adores and is currently available wherever books are sold.

Check out our other Pride Reads!

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.

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