Last Christmas in Paris by @HazelGaynor and @msheatherwebb ~ A Novel of #WWI #HistoricalFiction #BookTwitter

51uj1xk1O8L._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_Authors: Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Published: October 2017 by WmMorrowPB

Category: Historical Fiction, WWI

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

An unforgettably romantic novel that spans four Christmases (1914-1918), Last Christmas in Paris explores the ruins of war, the strength of love, and the enduring hope of the Christmas season.

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

Last Christmas in Paris is set during World War I and is written in an epistolary style consisting in the main of correspondences between Thomas Harding, Evie Elliott, her brother, Will and her good friend, Alice Cuthbert. Tom and Will, best of friends, enlist together. Heading off to what they believe will be a great adventure, doing their duty and defeating the German army, blissfully unaware of just what they will be facing and that the plans they made for Christmas, and each of the following Christmas, will come to nothing for the duration.

15th September 1914

Oxford, England

Dear Evie

Many thanks for the vote of confidence—Tom and I are bristling with something like excitement, though that isn’t quite the word. Josh and Dean are here, too, and Bill Spry; the whole college almost, off to vanquish the enemy. The bloody Krauts won’t know what hit them.

Be good to Mama and Papa while I’m away. None of that mischief you’re so fond of stirring up, do you hear me? I won’t be there to bail you out.

With all good wishes

Will

I didn’t realise initially the whole book, apart from a small departure now and again, was written via letters, but it worked so well. Evie, Thomas and Will had been friends since childhood and formed a tight knit group. 

The letters are very revealing, gradually going from upbeat and confident to frustration, heartbreak and despair, giving a very realistic picture of the war on the front line and for those waiting at home for news.  Evie is desperate to keep Tom’s spirits up and also do her bit for the war effort. She is angry at the restrictions placed on her as a privileged young lady. It’s obvious from Thomas’ letters how bad things are getting and the information on the news is full of government propaganda. At least that’s something she could try and change.

“We women are not as sheltered from the world as we once were. War is opening the world up for us. What sad irony is that?”

Last Christmas in Paris is beautifully and seamlessly written, with no hint two authors were involved. In no time I was caught up in the story and the range of emotions it evoked. The absolute horrors and suffering brought about by war. The societal changes for those left at home who needed to step up and take over the men’s jobs. The awful waiting for news of loved ones. 

The main characters are extremely engaging and believable. The letters add an intimacy to the friendships, interactions, the slowly dwindling hope, the losses, the way the soldiers who suffered extreme stress and depression were treated, and the burgeoning romance between Evie and Thomas, which is sweet, subtle and moving. A compelling and poignant novel that will stay with me for quite a while.

elegant-1769669_640

HazelGaynorHazel Gaynor is an award-winning New York Times, USA Today, Irish Times, and international bestselling author. Her 2014 debut THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME won the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award, A MEMORY OF VIOLETS was a 2015 WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY was shortlisted for the 2017 Irish Book Awards, and THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER was shortlisted for the 2019 HWA Gold Crown Award. LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS (co-written with Heather Webb) won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award.

HeatherWebbHeather Webb is the USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author of 6 historical novels set in France. She’s also an avid traveler, foodie, and history nerd. A little more about her books: In 2017, LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS won the Women’s Fiction Writers Association award, and in 2019, MEET ME IN MONACO was shortlisted for both the RNA award in the UK and also the Digital Book World Fiction prize. Up and coming, Heather has a solo novel set in 20th century U.S. coming soon, as well as her third collaboration with her beloved writing partner, Hazel Gaynor, (as yet to be titled!) publishing in 2021 from HarperCollins..

elegant-1769669_640

christmas-2995005_1920-copy

11 thoughts on “Last Christmas in Paris by @HazelGaynor and @msheatherwebb ~ A Novel of #WWI #HistoricalFiction #BookTwitter

Thanks for visiting...feel free to share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.