'The Last Time I Saw Paris'
Author: Lynn Sheene
Published: Berkley Trade; May 2011
Genre: Historical fiction; WWII
Synopsis: May 1940. Fleeing a glamorous Manhattan life built on lies, Claire Harris arrives in Paris with a romantic vision of starting anew. But she didn't anticipate the sight of Nazi soldiers marching under the Arc de Triomphe. Her plans smashed by the German occupation, the once- privileged socialite's only option is to take a job in a flower shop under the tutelage of a sophisticated Parisian florist.
In exchange for false identity papers, Claire agrees to aid the French Resistance. Despite the ever-present danger, she comes to love the enduring beauty of the City of Light, exploring it in the company of Thomas Grey, a mysterious Englishman working with the Resistance. Claire's bravery and intelligence make her a valuable operative, and slowly her values shift as she witnesses the courageous spirit of the Parisians.
But deception and betrayal force her to flee once again-this time to fight for the man she loves and what she knows is right-praying she has the heart and determination to survive long enough to one day see Paris again.
My Take: OMG, I am writing a book review! It's been a few weeks so hopefully I am not too rusty but after reading this book awhile ago, I couldn't let it pass without at least telling you all a little about it. I really enjoyed this novel. It was everything I like in a fiction story. It has WWII drama, romance, a bit of mystery, and a spunky female lead.
The Last Time I Saw Paris actually opens in New York and our leading lady, Claire Harris, appears to be a rich socialite who is wining and dining her even richer husband's German clients. It soon comes out that her marriage isn't perhaps all happiness and love. It may be one more of convenience. So when things are about to take a turn for the worse, Claire flees to Paris. Oh, did I forget to tell you that it's 1940? The woman flees to Paris in 1940! Now, I know we can all do stupid things in the heat of the moment, but I would like to think I am smart enough not to say, flee to Afghanistan just because I am pissed off at my husband. But whateve's, Claire flees to war-zone. And once there, she finds out that perhaps it isn't quite like the stories she had heard and also that maybe she needs to read her current events a little more closely.
See, Claire thought she would flee to Paris to find her old lover but he can't quite take her back so quickly so what's an American in Paris to do? She roams the streets until she finds someone to take her in which actually didn't take that long because I think she looked pretty pitiful. So she is taken in by a lovely older woman who runs a florist shop and the two work together. However, since Claire doesn't have the proper papers life gets tough for her pretty quickly once the Germans take over the city.
Where Claire was once kind of a fly by night pretty girl, she emerges as a tough as nails, fight for the right woman in The Last Time I Saw Paris. As much as she could annoy me, I also wanted to root for, her loves and her hurts. The story read like a fast paced drama and it was a great page turner. If you are looking for your next interesting historical fiction read, than I highly recommend Lynn Sheene's The Last Time I Saw Paris.
Cover Lust: I think this cover perfectly fits the era and the story line!