Book Reviews

The Paris Orphan // Finding Hope in the Midst of War and Pain

The Paris OrphanThe Paris Orphan by Natasha Lester

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you NetGalley and Hachette Book Group for this extended preview, and thank you Natasha Lester for captivating me in only the first 5 chapters.

Synopsis:

An American soldier and an enterprising photographer brave occupied France during World War II to help give a little girl the one thing she’s never had–a family–in this gripping historical fiction from the internationally bestselling author of The Paris Seamstress.
New York City/Paris, 1942: When American model Jessica May arrives in Europe to cover the war as a photojournalist for Vogue, most of the soldiers are determined to make her life as difficult as possible. But three friendships change that. Journalist Martha Gellhorn encourages Jess to bend the rules. Captain Dan Hallworth keeps her safe in dangerous places so she can capture the stories that truly matter. And most important of all, the love of a little orphan named Victorine gives Jess strength to do the impossible. But her success will come at a price…
France, 2005: Decades after World War II, D’Arcy Hallworth arrives at a beautiful chateau to curate a collection of famous wartime photos by a reclusive artist. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, but D’Arcy has no idea that this job will uncover decades of secrets that, once revealed, will change everything she thought she knew about her mother, Victorine, and alter D’Arcy’s life forever.

Review:

Absolutely captivating and had me grasping onto each page. Natasha Lester uses the unpleasant but accurate truth of gender stereotypes of WW2. Also, beautiful cover!

Jess is a former model whose career has been ruined after her lazy boyfriend sells her photo to a Kodex commercial. It is quite sad that such a feature could ruin a woman’s modeling career in the 1940’s, for any talk of menstruation was seen as “taboo.”

Jess gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to work as a Vogue photojournalist for the US Army in Europe. What she expected to be able to share the real tales and pictures of war, she is ridiculed by her boss who wants only non-combat articles and photos, limiting and censoring her work. The men in charge don’t think women want to see and read the truth, rather they want sappy stories of hope. Jess is conflicted with her need for honesty and The idea she had had before coming to Italy. She wants to be honest and truly show the women back home in America what the war is really like.

Jess is en route to an Italian hospital when her drive is cut short by enemy fire. The Italian hospital has been destroyed and the area scattered with the grisly remains of soldiers fighting against the Germans. She meets the candid soldier, Dan. He takes her to a Naples military hospital where she can continue the photojournalism work that her boss is demanding. There she meets the ever sweet, “good-luck charm,” Victorine-a French orphan that Dan has adopted. Victorien symbolizes the horrible reality of war. She remains at the hospital, soon realizing the injured in the hospital have just as profound stories she could share, “of the humanity behind the guns. The compassion beyond the bloodshed, and the fact that, as a counterbalance to evil, charity, mercy and love still existed and could therefore triumph.”

For just a small preview, I truly Can’t wait for The Paris Orphan to be released! I am Craving more Dan and Jess, the beautiful and innocent arc of Victorine, and I’m just a sucker for WW2 novels.

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