Title: The Postmistress of Paris
Author: Meg Waite Clayton
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: November 30th, 2021 (Harper)
Synopsis: Wealthy, beautiful Naneé was born with a spirit of adventure. For her, learning to fly is freedom. When German tanks roll across the border and into Paris, this woman with an adorable dog and a generous heart joins the resistance. Known as the Postmistress because she delivers information to those in hiding, Naneé uses her charms and skill to house the hunted and deliver them to safety.
Photographer Edouard Moss has escaped Germany with his young daughter only to be interned in a French labor camp. His life collides with Nanée’s in this sweeping tale of romance and danger set in a world aflame with personal and political passion.
Inspired by the real life Chicago heiress Mary Jayne Gold, who worked with American journalist Varian Fry to smuggle artists and intellectuals out of France, The Postmistress of Paris is the haunting story of an indomitable woman whose strength, bravery, and love is a beacon of hope in a time of terror.
Thank you to the publisher, Harper Collins Canada, for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Naneé is an American heiress but has always felt most at home in Paris, where she has lived for the past ten years. When war breaks out and the Germans invade, instead of escaping, she chooses to stay and join the resistance, gaining the nickname of Postmistress for her work in delivering secret messages to people in hiding and helping them get to safety.
What drew me to this book was that it is inspired by a real life story and those are my favorite type of historical fiction novels. This was an intriguing and powerful read that painted a detailed picture of what it was like for those persecuted by or fleeing the Nazi regime in Europe and how a small group of people persevered against the odds to do what they could to save them. The characters really were what made this book. Each of the three character arcs, Naneé, Edouard and Luki, were beautifully crafted and the secondary characters were equally compelling. As a reader, I was definitely rooting for all of them by the end.
Despite the interesting story line, this one fell a little flat for me. It started out great, but then the pace just drops and even the narration was not what I expected considering what the synopsis promised. I was hoping for a more action packed story, showing us the various dangerous missions that Naneé bravely went on for the resistance. But instead, most of the plot chose to focus on the slowly building romance and Edouard and his daughter’s journey to freedom – which, don’t get me wrong, was a great story, but not what I was expecting and the slower pace didn’t really work for me. The Postmistress of Paris was more of a story of survival than the Code Name Helene type spy story I thought it would be.
The last couple of chapters were the best part of the book in my opinion, and they made it impossible to put the book down. Though the ending was a little abrupt compared to the pace of the rest of the story, it ended on a hopeful note and was a great conclusion to this story. I would definitely recommend this book for any fans of WWII novels.
The Postmistress of Paris releases on November 30th, 2021.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!