Friday, October 6, 2017

Book Review: "Last Christmas in Paris" by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (HFVBT)

I'm always a little leery of a romance, but with this books unique format and interesting setting I gave it a go, and I'm glad that I did! It's about Evie Elliot, who is "left behind" as her brother Will and his best friend Thomas leave their upper class lives in England for dirty, awful, hellish trench warfare on the continent. (The story is told mostly through letters back and forth between a few key people, but occasionally there is a chapter that is just a normal chapter.) They (like a lot of people) assume that this war will just be a small skirmish and that it will be wrapped up by Christmas where they will meet in Paris and celebrate. It is not wrapped up by Christmas. They do not celebrate. Evie is spunky and bright and refuses to let the fact that she was left behind mean that she isn't doing "her part" for the war back at home. She even rides a bicycle for a job she gets. Scandal upon scandal!

The letters back and forth between these three showcase the worry and uncertainty of the people who are waiting at home, the terror and the boredom of trench warfare, love lost, love gained, grief, how life goes on at home while people are away at war and on and on. It's all very human and realistic feeling. 

A small thing that kind of poked at me was how fast the mail supposedly worked. And maybe the author did the research and found out that if the different battalions were ensconced somewhere for awhile that mail delivery was pretty regular. (The letters are dated, which is why I noticed). But considering it was 1915-ish and it had to cross the English Channel AND government services were stretched pretty thing AND it's a war it seemed like those letters were zipping fast and furious like Amazon prime orders! Probably not a soul other then me would give that a second thought. I might just be insane.

A great romantic read, especially in fall or winter!


Praise for Last Christmas in Paris

“Beautifully told…the authors fully capture the characters’ voices as each person is dramatically shaped by the war to end all wars.”—Booklist
“For fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society comes another terrific epistolary historical novel that is simply unputdownable […] this remarkable novel will undoubtedly go on my keeper shelf.” —Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of The Night the Lights Went Out
“Humor, love, tragedy, and hope make for a moving, uplifting read. A winner!” —Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network
“An extraordinary epistolary novel that explores the history and aftermath of the Great War in a sensitive, memorable and profoundly moving fashion. A book to savor, to share and discuss with friends, and above all to cherish.” —Jennifer Robson, international bestselling author of Goodnight from London
“There is a special talent to writing the epistolary novel and Gaynor and Webb have mastered it. Letter by letter, the complex lives of Evie and Thomas unfold as WWI wages on, bringing with it the heartbreaking news of physical and emotional casualties. And yet, in the midst of such sacrifices, an ever-deepening love surfaces, finding a unique way to live on in this devastatingly beautiful work of historical fiction.”—Renee Rosen, author of Windy City Blues

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo

About the Authors

HEATHER WEBB is the author of historical novels Becoming Josephine and Rodin’s Lover, and the anthology Fall of Poppies, which have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Elle, France Magazine, and more, as well as received national starred reviews. RODIN’S LOVER was a Goodreads Top Pick in 2015. Up and coming, Last Christmas in Paris, an epistolary love story set during WWI will release October 3, 2017, and The Phantom’s Apprentice, a re-imagining of the Gothic classic Phantom of the Opera from Christine Daae’s point of view releases February 6, 2018. To date, her novels have sold in ten countries. Heather is also a professional freelance editor, foodie, and travel fiend.

HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel The Girl from the Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris will be published in 2017.
Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages. Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your thoughts on Last Christmas in Paris. I love the work of both these Authors. Looking forward to reading it.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com


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