Paris Never Leaves You

Paris Never Leaves YouParis Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Two timelines, two stories, one woman.

A new mother and recent widow, Charlotte continued her employment in a book shop in an occupied Nazi Paris. Just like many of her fellow Parisians, Charlotte kept her head low and did her best to survive the shortage of food, medicine and heating supplies. The situation worsened after the imprisonment of her close friend. Unwanted friendship with a German officer carried Charlette thru some difficult time, but in a process of survival – she became an enemy of her own people.

1950, New York, now a successful editor of a prestigious publishing house, Charlotte has everything she once, in a dark room of the Parisian bookshop, could ever imagine. Great job, cozy apartment on Park Avenue, and a beautiful and intelligent daughter. No one knows the price she paid for this safe and secure life.

I love dual timeline novels! Especially about WWII. In this book, I enjoyed Charlette’s life during WWII. However, I really disliked the New York part. It felt overly dramatic, I could not understand her behavior and reasons why she hid her past from her daughter. It left me disappointed. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Griffin publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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The Queen of Paris

The Queen of Paris: A Novel of Coco ChanelThe Queen of Paris: A Novel of Coco Chanel by Pamela Binnings Ewen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been a big fan of Coco Chanel for many years. The more I read about the fashion icon – the more I fall in love with her personality, strength, stubbornness, and big loving heart. Coco’s intelligence and willingness to survive fascinates me and can’t get enough of her life story.

“The Queen of Paris” is a wonderful novel that shades more lights on Coco’s years during the great war, especially her collaboration with Nazi. The author did a great job explaining the action Coco had to take in order to save herself, her loved ones, and her business during the difficult years of the war.

As I read many books about the enchanting mademoiselle Coco, a lot of facts are already known to me, however, the part about the association with Nazi was extremely fascinating and informative. Thank you NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for an advanced copy of the novel and Pamela Binnings Ewen for a wonderful story of The Queen of Paris.

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Three Hours in Paris

Three Hours in ParisThree Hours in Paris by Cara Black

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Three Hours in Paris” is an astonishing tale of an American young woman, in a heart of Paris, playing for the English team, with an order to execute German politician and leader of the Nazi Party, the Fuhrer himself. How did an American girl fell into the British spy army to fight against the world’s biggest bully?

Months prior to Sunday, June 23, 1940, Kate experienced the biggest loss of her life, the deaths of her husband, and newborn baby by the hands of the germans. Shortly after, she received an opportunity of a lifetime – to perform an act of revenge.

And finally, June 23, 1940, Kate is back in Paris, the city that once brought her happiness, loving husband, and hopes for a bright future. This time she is here on a mission of her lifetime. Unfortunately, Hitler’s assignation goes wrong, Kate is on a run. And shortly after the fatal morning, she realizes the horrific truth. His mission was never the main plan, she was being used as a decoy. Angry and betrayed, young American finds herself on the dangerous streets of once-beloved Paris, surrounded by an enemy. Kate’s desire to survive pushes her one step forward every time she meets new obstacles, and in the end, she concludes the mission her fellow agents were sent to do but failed in the process.

Yet another phenomenal story of strong women during the horrific days of WWII. I was on the edge of my seat while reading the book. I am fascinated by the bravery of all characters. Thank you, NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for an advanced copy of the novel, and Cara Black for a remarkable and gratifying novel.

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The German Heiress

The German HeiressThe German Heiress by Anika Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The German Heiress” is a story of justice, loyalty, forgiveness, and trust.

After the end of the Great War, Germany’s “the Iron Fräulein” is hunted by English officers. All Clara wants is to locate her best friend and her son. As people say, be careful of what you wish for, you might get that. And what is waiting for Clara at the end of her search is a big shocking secret that has been kept from her by her closest family and friends.

While on the run and searching for her missing friend, Clara meets many people who are loyal to her family and help Clara on her mission. Clara’s path crosses with a war veteran Jakob, who becomes her ally during the hard times.

In a time of war, it took a strong person to break the rules, go against the political power to perform an act of human kindness, protect the innocent. During the great war, while the men were at the front lines protecting their countries – women were left behind to shield the people in need. Anika Scott gave as a perfect example of this effort in her new novel “The German Heiress”. Thank you NetGalley and William Morrow Paperbacks publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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Stolen Beauty

Stolen BeautyStolen Beauty by Laurie Lico Albanese

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The novel is based on a worldwide famous painting “The Woman In Gold” by Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt.

A young and impressionable Adele meets an older man, with whom she falls in love and their marriage bonds two wealthy and powerful families into one magnificent dynasty that rules Vienna. Adele’s love produces and lifetime friendship with Austrian famous painted Gustav Klimt, who had created a masterpiece, now known as “The Woman In Gold”.

Forty years later, Adele’s niece Maria is following her aunt’s footsteps, however, Hitler’s hatred of Jewish people not only ruins her family life but outcasts and sets them on a run from their home, country, religion, and past.

A lifetime apart, the two women fight for their husbands, family welfare and their dignity in the world. They are beautiful, determined, strong, and Jewish – a full package of an unstoppable female.

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Chanel’s Riviera: Glamour, Decadence, and Survival in Peace and War, 1930-1944

Chanel's Riviera: Glamour, Decadence, and Survival in Peace and War, 1930-1944Chanel’s Riviera: Glamour, Decadence, and Survival in Peace and War, 1930-1944 by Anne de Courcy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Chanel’s Riviera is entertaining and easy to read with many captivating facts about Côte d’Azur and Paris during the 1930s through late 1944.

The novel is divided into two parts, the first half describes Coco’s life and rise to power, her powerful friends, affairs. In this part of the book, the reader is introduced to multiple high society figures that at one point or another were a big part of Chanel’s life. Not knowing much about Coco’s life in general, this book has shed lite on her business and love lives. It’s short, well detailed. I’ve learned many interesting facts about the days of the Chanel empire and the designer herself.

The second part of the novel discusses the life of Coco and her circle of friends during the war, their fall of power, and struggles. The novel covers many lives of famous and non-famous people, as a comparison between the social classes and roles it played in their survival.

The novel was well written, with many interesting facts. I found myself enjoying the life of Riviera prior to WWII as it had more new info for me rather than the years of the war. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press publisher for a free and advanced copy of the book.

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The Words I Never Wrote

The Words I Never WroteThe Words I Never Wrote by Jane Thynne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve read so many books that took place during WWII, it was a pleasure to read “The Words I Never Wrote” by Jane Thynne as the novel takes place and tells the reader a story of the years prior to the great war.

During a hot summer day, Juno Lambert, a photographer, and the occasional writer find herself in an antique shop where she comes across an old 1931 Underwood typewriter that once belonged to a journalist Cordelia Capel. To her amusement, the old typewriter came with a bonus, a manuscript/biography hidden in its case. The script has lured Juno into its pages with an appealing story of two sisters who fought the same great war, from the opposite sides.

Regrettably, the sisters’ relationship is torn apart by the horrific war. Newly married Irene joined her German husband in the heart of Germany – Berlin, at the same time as her younger sister Cordelia, a journalist in training was sent to France. During the years prior to WWII sisters often exchange letters that contain their political views and social life in pre-war Berlin and Paris. As the warning of the upcoming war becomes real, young Cordelia learns that Irene’s husband is a Nazi sympathizer and urged her sister to leave her husband’s side and return home before it’s too late. With no explanation, Irene chooses not to follow Cordelia’s pleas, and in result sisters’ communications stops, and their lives go into different directions.

The biography is cut short, leaving Juno yearning for more. After throw research, she finds very little on Irene and Cordelia’s lives during and after the war. Why Cordelia has not set her foot in Europe after 1945? Has Irene survived the war? Has Cordelia ever forgiven her sister for betraying their beliefs and home county? Juno packs her bags and boards the plane to the place that might hold answers to all her questions – Berlin.

I was immersed in the story of the triumph of the human spirit, and courage, as well as the strength and perseverance of strong women. Thank you NetGalley and Ballantine Books publishers for a free and advanced copy of this wonderful novel.

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The Whispers of War

The Whispers of WarThe Whispers of War by Julia Kelly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the author of “The Light Over London” comes a new debut novel “The Whispers of War“.

Three childhood friends…
Two hostile nations…
One great war…

We’ll always be… just us three… A mantra the three girls have shared for ages since they have met at all-girls school. Years after the graduation, the three girls: German-born Marie, proud feminist, and homeowner Nora, and married matchmakers Hazel remained as close as sisters. When Germany invaded Poland, Marie’s relation to Nazi sympathizers put her life into great danger. While defending and standing by her friend’s side, Nora became dismissed from her job, but shortly after she has found a new calling by joining WREN. However, the biggest surprise came from Hazel, who decided to fight german discrimination and help fellow German-born individuals in her own way. The beginning of WWII has tested their friendship, taught each and one of them a greater life lesson, and changed their lives in different ways.

The novel covers the first year of the war (’39-’40), and it gives the reader a front-row view of London based British and german-born residents’ reaction to Hitler’s action and the beginning of the second great war. This is the time we see women starting to step up in their roles, voice and stand by their beliefs and opinions, and find their place in the world. A great story, a wonderful set of characters. Beautifully and tastefully written. Thank you NetGalley and Gallery Books publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel, and big thank you to Julia Kelly for a heartfelt story.

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House on Endless Waters

House on Endless WatersHouse on Endless Waters by Emuna Elon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Flipping back and forth between the years of WWII and the present, this novel follows the lives of the Blum family and their hidden family secret.

Yoel Blum’s fame as an author brings him back to Amsterdam, his birthplace, despite the promise that he has made to his late mother – to never return to the place that caused his family a lot of sorrow. While in the city, Yoel and his wife decide to visit a Jewish Museum. During the tour, in one of the photos, Yoel recognizes his mother’s face. And the more he examines the photo – the more questions filled his mind.

In the spur of the moment, one photograph flipped Yoel’s life upside down. And just like that, piece by piece, with his sister’s and mother’s remaining friends’ memories and a little help of his own research, like a puzzle, Yoel builds a true picture of his past.

You have a mother, and you have a sister, and you have yourself. That’s it, nothing else matters.

The past and present timelines wove together so beautifully. The tragedy of Blum’s family left me devastated, however, their ability to forgive gives me hope in humanity. Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books publishers for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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All The Flowers In Paris

All the Flowers in ParisAll the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two women, two timelines, one apartment…

2019, sunny and warm Paris.
A terrible accident leaves Caroline without a memory. After returning from a hospital, she finds herself in a glamorous apartment in Paris… all alone. Between the flashbacks of her memory, Caroline rediscovers herself in today’s world. She uncovers the love for painting, delicious french cuisine… and french man. During one of the sleepless nights, Caroline explores her large flat only to stumble on old wartime letters hidden in one of the bedrooms.

1943, Nazi-occupied Paris.
Cecile’s world turns upside down when she sees a yellow star painted on the window of the flower shop owned by her father. To top that, she catches the eye of a tyrant German officer. There is only one way to avert the destiny that hovers over all jews in Paris – run. But her plans are discovered, and Cecile becomes a prisoner in the Nazi’s home.

All The Flowers In Paris is a bittersweet novel of two women that at some point in their lives share the same apartment on rue Cler. Their stories are heartbreaking and full of grief, but, in the end, it teaches a valuable lesson – the ability to forgive, love and be thankful for good times and bad.

Thank you NetGalley and Orion publisher for an advanced free copy of the novel, and Sarah Jio for a wonderful story.

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Mistress of the Ritz

Mistress of the RitzMistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While I really liked the entire book a lot, the beginning and the ending were outstanding.

The novel introduces us to Blanche and Claude Auzello, the Monsieur and Mistress of the Ritz. After returning from the line of war, the couple rushes to their beloved Ritz, just to find it occupied by Nazi. And like any other Parisian, the Auzellos do their best to follow the rules to avoid the opposite side of a German raffle. As the story unfolds, it seems that the Auzellos follow an old saying “keep your friends close, and your enemy closer”. But how long can they play this game? Joining the French resistance is not the only secret they must protect in order to survive, and stay alive.

I love books that pluck a piece of history and built an elaborate story around it. “Mistress of the Ritz” is a wonderful example of this. It is a fast-moving story filled with heroism, secrets, and a strong wish for survival. The author did a great job in the development of the characters. If you enjoy historical fiction, you do not want to miss this!

Thank you, Net Galley and Delacorte Press Publisher for a free ARC of this book.

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The Things We Cannot Say

The Things We Cannot SayThe Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The Things We Cannot Say” is not a rare story that comes to us from the dark times of WWII. And no matter how many similar stories I read, I still find them disturbing, shocking and heart wrenching. People that lived thru that dark time never truly forget their stories and nor should we. These stories should be told, to remind us of the horrors of the past, for what we should never repeat.

In this particular novel, we come across one of the many victims of WWII. However, no matter how much time has passed, Alina was never able to admit her past to her loved ones alone with her road to survival. Alina’s story shows us courage and willingness to keep going forward, no matter how much one has lost in the past. I was glued to the pages of the book, it has many twists and turns and it is absolutely captivating.

This novel was one of love, loss, survival, and redemption. It’s well-written, absorbing, and an unforgettable story. Thank you NetGalley and Graydon House publisher for an advanced copy of the book, and Kelly Rimmer for a fascinating story.

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