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Thursday, March 16, 2023

Review: The Paris Notebook

Title: The Paris Notebook
Author: Tessa Harris

Publisher: 15th February 2023 by HQ

Pages: 352 pages

Genre:  historical fiction, WWII

My Rating: 4.5 crowns


When Katja Heinz secures a job as a typist at Doctor Viktor’s clinic, she doesn’t expect to be copying top secret medical records from a notebook.

At the end of the first world war, Doctor Viktor treated soldiers for psychological disorders. One of the patients was none other than Adolf Hitler. . .

The notes in his possession declare Hitler unfit for office – a secret that could destroy the Führer’s reputation, and change the course of the war if exposed. . .

With the notebook hidden in her hat box, Katja and Doctor Viktor travel to Paris. Seeking refuge in the Shakespeare and Company bookshop, they hope to find a publisher brave enough to print the controversial script.

But Katja is being watched. Nazi spies in Paris have discovered her plan. They will stop at nothing to destroy the notebook and silence those who know of the secret hidden inside. . .

My Thoughts

With a wide range of WWII books on offer, readers are becoming more selective about their choices. Tessa Harris' latest offering is one I would certainly recommend. The Paris Notebook is well written with Tessa taking a small, often unknown aspect of truth, and building a thrilling piece of fiction around it - a race to reveal details about Adolf Hitler to the Allies.

‘I am Dr Frankenstein,’ he told her flatly. ‘I created the monster and now I must destroy it.’

Suspense and tension builds throughout this narrative with Doctor Victor and Katja working together in their efforts to record, copy and reveal critical details about Hitler. Along the way, with so many secrets to hide and unsure of who to trust, Tessa builds palpable tension throughout the entire timeline. The Nazis are onto them as the reign of terror begins. Traveling from Hamburg to Paris in an effort to secure publication, Katja comes across the Shakespeare & Co bookstore with owner Sylvia Beach. Having read Kerry Maher’s, The Paris Bookseller, I was happy to revisit this future iconic institution with my understanding of what it meant during WWII and beyond. It is here that Katja meets an Irish journalist and their romantic journey adds another layer to this tale. 

‘The finished transcript sat in all its terrifying glory with the front cover proclaiming in bold capitals: Notes & Observations on the Serious Mental Disorders of Adolf Hitler.’

Tessa builds both place and time with some passages being confronting yet realistic. The ride is filled with hope and heartache, strength and buckets of determination as Katja is determined to get this transcript into the right hands. The research is thorough with facts woven throughout this fantastical tale. If this is a genre that appeals to you then rest assured that there is something extra special in this wartime tale - history, romance and a thrilling mystery. 

‘Lying there, untouched, was the notebook. She’d already risked her life for these pages, and she would again.’

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.

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