Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I
by Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
William Morrow Paperbacks
Paperback & eBook; 384 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great War.
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…
Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?
Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…
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
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In 1969 Tom Harding makes a final trip to Paris for Christmas. While he is there he re-reads all the letters sent between 1914 and 1918. In 1914, Evie Elliot's brother, Will and best friend, Tom leave for the Front. Evie diligently writes to both of them. In their letters, the three divulge their greatest wishes, fears, and emotions. Most of all, they all wish for the war to be over by Christmas so they may celebrate the holiday in Paris. Little do they know how much the War will change all of them.
An all at once heartwarming and heartbreaking story of love and loss during World War I. Told almost entirely in letter exchanges between Evie and her loved ones, this book completely enveloped me as I devoured every word. There was so much passion in the writing, especially the letters between Thomas and Evie, I felt as if these could be two real people. I felt like I was immersed into their most intimate moments and my heart raced for when they would finally declare their love for one another. Through the letters, I was able to see the impact of the war from all sides. Through Evie, I got a sense of how it felt to be left behind, the worry, dread and depression of fearing that your loved ones may not come home and the overwhelming urge to do something about it. Through Tom, the gruesome depictions of the Front that the media wouldn't let anyone know of as well as the mental toll that war takes on the soldiers. Also, through Evie's exchanges with her friend Alice, we learn of the many ways that women jumped in to help from delivering the mail, to nursing and driving ambulances to the Auxillary Corps and even writing newspaper articles. What affected me most was Tom's re-reading of the letters and his opening of the final letter at the end. Overall, a wonderfully written historical novel reminding me of the sacrifices made by our veterans.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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 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.