Publisher and Publication Date: Park Row Books. January 29, 2019.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Audience: Historical fiction readers especially those who read WWII stories.
Rating: Very good.
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February 1946. New York City, NY.
Grace Healey is late for work and cuts through Grand Central. She trips on an abandoned suitcase sticking out from underneath a bench. Out of curiosity, she opens the suitcase and finds the name of the owner. Inside she finds an envelope of photographs. They are of several women. Some of the women are in military uniforms. They are all young women. Grace begins working to put the puzzle together about all of the women. She must know who they are and what happened to them.
The second story is of the woman who was in charge of the young women. Her name is Eleanor. Her story begins in 1943, England.
The Lost Girls of Paris is the story of heroism and courage. Young women, who from different backgrounds and cultures, are willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of country, duty, and loved ones.
Overall, I love this story and enjoyed reading it.
What I love about the story:
1. I don’t feel I will ever tire of reading World War II stories. My dad was a veteran of World War II, D-Day Omaha Beach, and the Battle of the Bulge. He shared many stories with me as a child and adult. I know his stories. I want to know other people’s stories which includes historical fiction.
2. Grace Healey is a perfect example of a grieving widow. I feel Pam Jenoff portrayed an accurate widow who is displaced, wounded, grieving, lonely, and at a loss in how to move forward. This includes not knowing even where to begin. I personally know a woman who lost her husband on the USS Indianapolis. She still grieves. She went on with life. She married and had children. But he was a great love-a great friend-a young love-who is lost to her. Grace and my friend show similar behavior. I feel Grace is an accurate and real character in this story.
3. I love it that romance is not the focus. So often romance is introduced in a story, and it can and often does take over.
4. I love it that Grace realizes she must move forward in life, but it must be “her own story.”
5. This is a minor detail, but I love it that Grace is defined as having “corkscrew hair.” I don’t think this has been described before in a story I’ve read. Grace is given a minor detail, yet it’s a difference compared to how other female characters are described. I love this minor detail.
6. I enjoyed reading about the instructions of operating a wireless.
7. I love the friendship between the women. Some of them upon meeting show a kindred spirit.
8. The dialogue and descriptions are wonderful and engaging. It felt easy to picture the scenes in my mind.
What I feel needs clarification:
At the start of the story, I didn’t quite understand what had happened to Grace. What I mean is Grace has marks on her neck, she had been drinking the night before, she is sluggish, and she is hungover. My first thought is she had been abused. My second thought is she has an alcohol problem. And she blames a person named Mark who I don’t know yet. My point is I feel lost at the start. Later, I put the event all together and understand. I don’t like feeling lost especially at the start of a story.
Eleanor is too cool. Chilly. Icy. However, her personality fits her character.
Mark is grieving too. I feel sorry for him.
This is a story I’d like to read a part 2 so I will know what Grace becomes.
Themes in the story: war, peace, grieving, courage, heroism, resistance, honor, judgment, injustice, justice, dreams, trust, temptation, charity, hope, and acceptance.