Paul Gallico was an American writer. Born in New York in 1897, Gallico’s work spanned genres, including sports, adventure, historical fiction, and children’s reads. His books were a remarkable combination of realism and fantasy, bringing colorful characters to life with his vivid descriptions. The Snow Goose, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, The Poseidon Adventure, and The Silent Miaow are some of Gallico’s works that have not just stood the test of time, but have also become classics in their own right.


Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris chronicles the journey of the eponymous protagonist, Mrs. Harris. The book is set against a 1950s London-and-Paris backdrop. As a London charwoman known for her distinctive dressing style and mannerisms, Mrs. Harris embodies independence. Her tenacity shines through as she picks and chooses clients using her wacky reasoning. She doesn’t even hesitate from turning them away when she has had enough. Even though life isn’t very kind to her, Mrs. Harris remains optimistic, thanks in part to a peculiar sense of humor that keeps her from feeling overly burdened.

While the story primarily revolves around Mrs. Harris, an extraordinary turn takes it far beyond the realms of reality. During one of her cleaning assignments, the practical and seasoned Mrs. Harris stumbles upon a Dior dress. The dress ignites in her an intense desire to possess such a magnificent creation. This yearning becomes the central theme of the book as Mrs. Harris embarks on a thrilling journey to the world’s fashion capital, Paris. Determined and resourceful, she scrimps and saves to make her fantasy a reality, defying every challenge that comes her way.

Amidst the glitz and glamor of Paris, Mrs. Harris discovers a profound truth: deep down, people are fundamentally the same, driven by their shared experiences and desires. The bonds she forms are refreshingly genuine, rooted in the principles of humanism. Mrs. Harris’ kindness, performed without fanfare, touches the lives of everyone she encounters.


Mrs. Harris charm, humor, and optimism radiate from the pages, mesmerizing readers over a delightful journey. The eloquent description of the haute couture Dior House brand is thought-provoking.

However, what stands out the most is the book’s human aspect. For instance, Mrs. Harris’ friends stand by her side throughout the trip, reminding us that sharing our seemingly outrageous aspirations with others can help us get through tough times. The narrative skillfully explores the transformative power of personal growth, the enduring nature of human ambitions, and the unifying force of common interests.

The story also celebrates the extraordinary aspect of the ordinary, serving as a poignant reminder of the simple pleasures one can get by pursuing their dreams. At the same time, it underscores the importance of accepting the selfishness and callousness inherent in man.


The concept is a bit fantastical and fanciful. It may, therefore, not appeal to those interested in more serious reading.


They were worlds apart in everything but the simplicity of their humanity, and so they were really not apart at all.

The very fact that one dress could represent such a huge sum increased its desirability and her yearning for it.

She reflected upon the simplicity and the courage that had led her thither in pursuit of a dream, the wholly feminine yearning for an out-of-reach bit of finery, the touching desire, once in her drab cheerless life, to possess the ultimate in a creation.


Ameya Score:

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is an enjoyable read that captivates the audience with its sprightly, fun narrative. By the end of the book, readers cannot help feeling a warmth in their hearts and a smile on their faces.

Madhu book review writer at Ameya

A reverential admirer of words, Madhu loves watching them weave their bewitching magic on cozy afternoons.