Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks + HarperAudio
Release Date: October 03, 2017
Genre: Adult Fiction / Historical Fiction
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…
I have no idea why it took me so long to read Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb but I’m glad I remedied that this December! I loved the unique format where most of it is told in letters/telegrams (epistolary style) with periodic viewpoints of Tom in 1968. I haven’t read a book like this before and I loved the idea of the authors bringing the story to life this way. I was fully invested in the story and these characters really stole my heart. I’ve read quite a few HF books based on World War II but not as many in WWI, so it was a good learning experience as well.
My paperback copy has some great information at the back, both about the writing of this book and the Great War, which was really helpful and interesting, but I also highly recommend the audio. There is a full cast and the narrators are Alex Wyndham, Billie Fulford-Brown, Morag Sims, Gary Furlong, Greg Wagland, Antony Ferguson, Derek Perkins, Jane Copland & Mary Jane Wells. It is no secret that I love when there is a cast instead of one person, and that was key for Last Christmas in Paris since there are technically quite a few viewpoints. They all did such an amazing job and I felt like I was completely enveloped in the story of Evie and Thomas.
Last Christmas in Paris is a story that I know will stick with me for a long time to come, and it was so beautifully written. I couldn’t even tell it was written by two authors, it flowed so seamlessly. I loved this book so much and I am already looking forward to reading more by these two, both together and their individual books.