C.S. Richardson’s follow-up to his widely praised The End of the Alphabet is an enchanting, handsomely crafted, romantic fairy tale set in the City of Light in the early years of the twentieth century. Through its two main characters—the illiterate son of a baker and a scarred girl with a passion for paintings—The Emperor of Paris fascinatingly explores the allure of storytelling and imagination from multiple angles. Though the two protagonists seem to live in separate spheres, they are destined to meet. Booksellers, shopkeepers, vagrants, and war veterans populate an urban realm in which they forge ahead along their interconnected paths, constantly searching for sustenance, security, and meaning. Richardson balances his multiple plotlines, scope across history, and well-developed characters with a honed sense of delicacy and skill that continually rewards his lucky readers with its elegance and freshness. This sleek, light, thoroughly enjoyable gem of a novel will surely emerge as one of the year’s top literary delights.