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Monday, January 17, 2022

Review: The Girl from Paris

Title: The Girl from Paris
Author: Ella Carey

Publisher: 4th January 2022 by Bookouture

Pages: 388 pages

How I Read It: ARC book

Genre: historical fiction

My Rating: 5 crowns


Vianne rushes through the crowded streets of Paris as the German bombs begin to fall. As she rounds the corner she sees the familiar spires of the old church burst into flames. Too late, she realizes that her mother and sister are trapped inside…

Paris, 1918. The end of war is in sight, and young seamstress Vianne Mercier is longing for the day when she can stop sewing military uniforms and start creating the beautiful dresses that she has been dreaming up in her head.

But just when it seems like peace is within reach, Vianne’s mother and sister are killed in a terrible air raid. To make matters worse, Vianne’s brother has returned home a changed man. Controlling and cruel, he presents Vianne with an ultimatum; give up her dreams of becoming a designer, or be forced onto the streets, penniless and alone.

With nothing left for her in Paris but sad memories, she decides to sail for New York. Determined not to look back, she throws herself into her new life—spending her days sewing dresses for wealthy Upper East Side women, and her evenings dancing the Charleston to Duke Ellington in the new downtown clubs. When Vianne meets handsome Italian Giorgio Conti, he encourages her career, and she feels safe for the first time since she lost her family.

Then news of a terrible accident compels Vianne to suddenly return to France, where she discovers proof of a wartime secret that changes everything she thought she knew about her family. Facing the threat of sickness and ruin, the people who forced Vianne out of her home now suddenly need her help.

Will Vianne find the courage to follow her heart, return to New York and her life with Giorgio? Or will duty bind her to the family she had left behind and force her to remain in France?

From Amazon Charts bestseller Ella Carey comes an utterly gripping and emotional historical wartime novel about the terrible choices people made during humanity’s darkest days.

My Thoughts

I love Ella Carey books. She is one of those authors who you don’t even have to read details about the book because you know you will read anything of hers whatever the topic. The Girl From Paris is another sensational historical fiction read - third book of the Daughters of New York series but all can certainly be read as standalone.

“I want a feature on the girl from Paris so that all of New York know who you are.”

Things I loved about this particular book is that it takes place in post-war Paris and New York and it’s just fascinating to note the contrasts between these two great cities. At this critical phase after the end of WWII, the differences in socio-economic cultures, lifestyle and attitudes is immense. Ella has certainly done her research into this time period and I just loved the inclusion of real life people from the era. If you follow my reviews, you know I love searching up Google about the facts behind a fictionalised account of real people and here you will be introduced to the likes of Edith Cavell, Emilie Grigsby and Josephine Baker! So very fascinating. 

‘Vianne fixed her gaze on the river. The Seine had always been her compass. She’d come here whenever she was at a turning point, no matter how small. The river had flown through and around her life in Paris, and here she was, back again, come full circle, unable to see anything but shadows in its depths.’

Another thing I loved was seeing New York in the 1920s! Ella writes so well that you just feel so immersed in what is happening, where people are going and what they are wearing. I loved reading about the fashions and work in the atelier. I wanted to eat at Giorgio’s Italian restaurant or dance the night away at one of the jazz clubs they frequented. 

“Welcome to New York. You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Then there are the themes of the book: the era of women wanting to have both marriage and a career, or, the fallout for families after the war and the impact on their mental states and wellbeing. Ella weaves and structures an amazingly captivating tale that will take you from the war in Belgium, the triumphant liberation of Paris, starting afresh in New York or hiding in the Scottish Highlands. I didn’t think so many threads and locations could all be written together so smoothly but in the hands of Ella Carey, it’s a walk in the park!

“Because of that loss, I want to make the most of my life, be someone, not just exist, you see. I want to be my own person, in my own right, not someone’s adjunct.”

With strong and inspiring characters and a plot that is so engaging, Ella has completed another stunning addition to the Daughter of New York series. I could have kept reading about Vianne for much longer as I did not want her story to end. I simply can’t wait to see what Ella will offer her readers next. 

“You believe in yourself, and you make whatever you want of your life. Don’t follow trends, just follow your inner voice.”

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

1 comment:

Mystica said...

The 1920s was a turbulent time not just historically but for people themselves. With the war came great changes and this was particularly marked for women. This sounds another good read from this era.