'The Ambassador's Daughter'
Author: Pam Jenoff
Published: Harlequin MIRA; Jan. 2013
Genre: Historical fiction
Synopsis: Paris, 1919. The world's leaders have gathered to rebuild from the ashes of the Great War. But for one woman, the City of Light harbors dark secrets and dangerous liaisons, for which many could pay dearly.
Brought to the peace conference by her father, a German diplomat, Margot Rosenthal initially resents being trapped in the congested French capital, where she is still looked upon as the enemy. But as she contemplates returning to Berlin and a life with Stefan, the wounded fiancé she hardly knows anymore, she decides that being in Paris is not so bad after all.
Bored and torn between duty and the desire to be free, Margot strikes up unlikely alliances: with Krysia, an accomplished musician with radical acquaintances and a secret to protect; and with Georg, the handsome, damaged naval officer who gives Margot a job—and also a reason to question everything she thought she knew about where her true loyalties should lie.
Against the backdrop of one of the most significant events of the century, a delicate web of lies obscures the line between the casualties of war and of the heart, making trust a luxury that no one can afford.
My Take: Now I know the title of this book will upset some of my readers. I've been hearing a lot lately (and I agree with them!) that people get annoyed when a book title describes a woman only in relation to a man. It does seem like more and more titles these days are doing just that. It kind of makes me wonder why. However, I will say that it is worth looking beyond the title to what it is in the pages of this book as historical fiction fans will not be disappointed! And also, in this case I think the title is relevant as the daughter in question spends much of the novel trying to figure out her role when it isn't in relation to a man!
The Ambassdor's Daughter is Margot. She is the daughter of a German diplomat. A man thrust into the role really. He is more of a intellectual. These two escaped to London during WWI and are now in Paris so the dad can assist in the peace conference. For me, this was a fascinating time-scape for a novel to be set in. While I have read lots of books set duing WWI, I have never read a book set in Europe duing the immediate aftermath. Pam Jenoff does a great job setting the atmosphere for this time period. Margot and her father, being German, receive a lot of hatred in Paris, representing the losers of the war. The German's were invited to be a part of the peace conference but were sanctioned outside of the city, in Versailles, and were only invited to take part in certain aspects of the conference.
As a total sidenote, are there any Boardwalk Empire fans out there? It's interesting to watch that show, set in the US, and read this book set in Europe, during the same time period. The two couldn't be more far apart! Anyway, enough of that, back the book!
Margot is bored in Paris. While the city is exciting, she doesn't know anyone there and is just dragged to dipomatic events. For a young women it doesn't exactly reflect the glittering Parision society she dreamt of. Soon though, Margot makes friends with Krysia who pushes Margot to try to figure out what she really wants out of life, not just what she does because the men in her life tell her to.
At the same time, she meets she meets Georg, a German war hero who wants to make sure an outcome of the peace conference is for Germany to be able to heal after the war. However he needs a translator to assist him which is where Margot comes in. Soon feelings develop that may not be wholly appropriate for them to feel for each other.
The beginning of the book started out a little slow but as soon as Georg was introduced and a little romance was introduced, I became wholly swept up in the drama of it all and quickly found myself staying up late at night to finish it. As someone who loves her sleep, that is a sure sign of a great book for me!
The Ambassador's Daughter is a novel filled with spys, forbidden romance, and historical suspense. This is a winning combination for me! And if it sounds like one for you too, I don't think you'd be disappointed in reading it.
Cover Lust: This cover to me perfectly fits the time period. A great addition to the novel!