Title: Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I
Authors: Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: October 3, 2017
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "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…
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?"
My Two Cents:
"Last Christmas in Paris" is the story of love that lasts through time. Evie only starts to write to Tom because he's her brother's best friend and she can't imagine having him think that no one is thinking of him while he is off fighting the war. As the war changes everyone, everywhere, and everything else they know, Evie and Tom both live for each other's letters. This epistolary novel had me turning the pages to see what would happen next!
I love epistolary novels (novels written through letters) because it allows you to jump right into the action. Not only are Evie and Tom's letters to each other included in the book but the letters between them and other secondary characters, including Will, Tom's best friend and Evie's brother. This allows us to see the story from all sides. The letters between Tom and Evie were interesting to follow as their relationship develops and changes. I also especially loved reading the letters talking about what was going on in the war and how each character played their part.
World War I is still not a subject that I seem to visit all that often in historical fiction but it's books like this that make me want to come back to it more, especially in light of what our world is going through now. There seems to be the echoes of this history today. The letters give readers a good sense of how people were feeling and what people were seeing throughout the war. You really get front row seat.
I would be remiss to not mention the romance between Tom and Evie. They start out as friends and their relationship takes all sorts of twists and turns that kept me cheering for them throughout the story. Their love will give you butterflies!
This is the warm kind of novel that you want to dive into when the weather starts to turn cool and you need something heartwarming! I enjoyed it!