Paris in Ruins
by M.K. Tod
Publication Date: March 30, 2021
Heath Street Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction
Paris 1870. Raised for a life of parties and servants, Camille and Mariele have much in common, but it takes the horrors of war to bring them together to fight for the city and people they love.
A few weeks after the abdication of Napoleon III, the Prussian army lays siege to Paris. Camille Noisette, the daughter of a wealthy family, volunteers to nurse wounded soldiers and agrees to spy on a group of radicals plotting to overthrow the French government. Her future sister-in-law, Mariele de Crécy, is appalled by the gaps between rich and poor. She volunteers to look after destitute children whose families can barely afford to eat.
Somehow, Camille and Mariele must find the courage and strength to endure months of devastating siege, bloody civil war, and great personal risk. Through it all, an unexpected friendship grows between the two women, as they face the destruction of Paris and discover that in war women have as much to fight for as men.
War has a way of teaching lessons—if only Camille and Mariele can survive long enough to learn them.
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Praise for Paris in Ruins
“The story of two women whose families were caught up in the defense of Paris is deeply moving and suspenseful.” -Margaret George, author of Splendor Before the Dark: A Novel of the Emperor Nero
“Tod is not only a good historian, but also an accomplished writer … a gripping, well-limned picture of a time and a place that provide universal lessons.” -Kirkus Reviews.
“M.K. Tod’s elegant style and uncanny eye for time and place again shine through in her riveting new tale, Paris in Ruins.” -Jeffrey K. Walker author of No Hero’s Welcome
The Noisette and de Crécy families are among Paris' wealthy and elite at the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Camille Noisette and Mariele de Crécy are future sister in laws who want to fight for what is right and protect their family and city during the time. Camille finds her place as a nurse in the Odeon theatre alongside Sarah Bernhardt, quickly Camille becomes accustomed to blood and amputations as she realizes that more and more of Paris' men are dying around her. To help even more, Camille agrees to go to radical meetings with family friend Andre Laborde and report back on anything dangerous that the women's factions are planning. Camille then recruits Mariele to help her brother Victor at the local church taking care of children whose parents are fighting and being forced to work longer hours for meager pay. Mariele finds that she loves spending time with the children and that caring for them comes naturally to her. She also finds a heightened sense of compassion and courage to keep the children safe.
Paris in Ruins is the engaging story of two women who dared to care for the people in their city in a time of war when they had the means to escape. Camille and Mariele are both women of means who have been protected their whole lives. After seeing the effects of the war on the people of Paris and the stark contrast between their families and the poor of the city, they are both compelled to open their hearts and homes to help. I was very interested in the Paris Commune group that was able to overtake Paris after the war. I would love to know more about the war from the Commune's point of view other than just Camille's time within the group. It was wonderful to see Camille and Mariele change their attitudes and behaviors due to their involvement in the war and I wish I could have seen how they continued to change their behavior to help the divide in Paris. I was very interested in The Franco-Prussian War is not a time period that I know a lot about, I was glad that the writing was rich in historical detail. I loved learning more about the eccentric actress Sarah Bernhardt and her amazing work to turn the Odeon theatre into a hospital. Overall, a compelling story of two courageous women during the Franco-Prussian War.
This book was received for free for an honest review.
Paris In Ruins is M.K. Tod’s fourth novel. Mary began writing in 2005 while living as an expat in Hong Kong. What started as an interest in her grandparents’ lives turned into a full-time occupation writing historical fiction. Her other novels are Time and Regret, Lies Told in Silence, and Unravelled. Beyond writing novels, Mary’s award-winning blog, www.awriterofhistory.com features the reading and writing of historical fiction. When she’s not writing, or thinking about writing, you can find her hiking, golfing, traveling, or hanging out with friends and family. Mary is married and has two adult children and two delightful grandchildren.
For more information visit M.K. Tod’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.