|The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff|
As part of the TLC Tour, my review today is for The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff, you can read an excerpt here.
From the author of the runaway bestseller The Orphan’s Tale comes a remarkable story of friendship and courage centered around three women and a ring of female secret agents during World War II.
One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.
Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.
Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.
Based on the real-life female agents sent into Occupied France to assist the underground network in the sabotage of German supply lines, this is a complex work of fiction that follows the incredible stories of three women; the mysterious London based Eleanor Trigg, SOE agent Marie, and Grace, who stumbles upon a snippet of their lives and is determined to uncover the truth.
These three women, while all very different, were all strong characters who had faced loss and sadness in their pasts, that served to give them the grit and determination to rise up to the challenges the war presented. Fighting for the right to be heard in an all-male environment, the fear of being sent into the unknown, the comradery between the agents and the dreadful situations they found themselves in, plus the grief at their losses, all came through in the detailed descriptions in this book.
With the three storylines running simultaneously, there is always something left hanging as we switch back and forth from New York to London to Occupied France, and while this can cause confusion, I found it added to the suspense and kept my interest as the book unfolded. In places, I struggled with the plausibility of the plot and one too many convenient coincidences, but as the author reminded me at the end of the novel, it is a work of fiction and I did enjoy discovering the final piece of the jigsaw at the end.
This book will appeal to those who enjoy historical novels set during The Occupation, where the female characters show their many strengths in face of adversity.