Last Christmas in Paris
by Hazel Gaynor
and Heather Webb
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 3, 2017)
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…
Marrying Charlie would be rather like marrying a broken carriage clock. How the hours would drag.
I feel like an unworn dress, hanging limply in the closet, without purpose or shape or form.
I’ve already lost an innocence I didn’t know I possessed.
Do you remember Lloyd George’s rousing speech “The war to end all wars”? They said it would be over by Christmas. They didn’t say which one though, did they?
You’re a star, Evie. About the only light I see in these endless nights.
Last Christmas in Paris was simply stunning and a pure delight. This beautifully written and emotive tale alternated between eliciting frequent smiles of pleasure and contentment to stinging my eyes and burning my throat; at either end of the emotional spectrum, the intensity was strong enough to take my breath away. Ms. Gaynor and Webb’s eloquent writing reached a level of poignancy and excellence I had yet to experience and the effects may take more than a few beats for my recovery. I seem to be stunned, mentally dazed, and annoying unable to find the appropriate words to give tribute to their remarkable skills and acumen. I adored their enticing characters as much as their exceptionally engaging and descriptive style. I was quickly swallowed up and transported to a different time and place as I devoured the personal letters and insightful inner musings that comprised most of the manuscript. I relished the lighthearted banter and jocularity of the earlier missives that gave way to deeper observations and confessions as the war waged on much longer and harsher than expected. Having read their lovely exchanges, I am moved to bemoan the lost art of human interaction found in putting pen to paper on beautiful stationary for heart-felt letter-writing versus our abbreviated communications of emailing, texting, emojis, and gifs. Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb have mad skills and a new fangirl; I have an extremely strong desire to greedily gather and consume all their words. I was provided a review copy of this enchanting and captivating book by HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.
About Hazel Gaynor
HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel The Girl from the Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year.
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.
About Heather Webb
HEATHER WEBB writes historical fiction for Penguin, including her novels Becoming Josephine and Rodin’s Lover.
As a former military brat, Heather naturally grew up obsessed with travel, culture, and languages. She put her degrees to good use teaching high school French for nearly a decade before channeling these passions into fiction. When not writing, she flexes her foodie skills or looks for excuses to head to the other side of the world.
Heather is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association.