The Three Lives of Alix St. Pierre
Author: Natasha Lester
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: January 10th, 2023 (Forever)
Thank you to the publisher, Forever, and Goodreads for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of a Goodreads Giveaway.
1943. After spearheading several successful advertising campaigns in New York, PR wizard Alix St. Pierre comes to the attention of the U.S. government and finds herself recruited into a fledgling intelligence organization.
Enlisted as a spy, Alix is sent to Europe where she is tasked with getting close to a Nazi who might be willing to help the Allied forces–but there’s also the chance he might be a double agent.
1946. Following the war, Alix moves to Paris and takes a position as head of publicity for the yet-to-be-launched House of Dior. But when a figure from the war reappears and threatens to destroy her future, Alix realizes that only she can right the wrongs of the past and bring him to justice.
The Three Lives of Alix St. Pierre is a thrilling, sumptuous work of historical fiction told in three timelines: before, during and after WWII. This completely immersive story takes readers from the dangerous, intrigue-filled rooms in Switzerland where elites of both sides mingled and schemed during the war, to the glamorous halls of the House of Dior in the golden age of French fashion and journalism.
Orphaned at a young age, Alix had a difficult childhood, dependent on the guilty charity of her best friend’s parents, but she is determined to make her own way in life and heads to Paris to work as a fashion editor and becomes a PR expert. When the war breaks out, she catches the attention of the US government and is recruited as a spy to work in Switzerland and undertakes several perilous endeavours. At the end of war, when Alix returns Paris to work for Christian Dior, she is hoping for a fresh start to move forward, but the past reappears in the form of an old enemy linked to her last mission with the OSS that went horribly wrong and realizes that the only way forward may be to confront her past, seek answers to questions long unanswered and bring a war criminal to justice.
💭 Initial Thoughts: The first thing that caught my eye about this book was the cover, as I was browsing through this year’s historical fiction book lists. Then I read the premise, which was far too interesting to pass up and I knew I had to read it – so I was doubly excited to receive an advanced copy of this book.
🌎 Plot, World building & Atmosphere: The main timeline provided such an intriguing glimpse into the fashion scene in Paris after the war. A couple of years ago, I read The Queen of Paris, which was about the life of Coco Chanel and how she built the House of Chanel and it was a fascinating read, so I was curious to know more about the origins of another famous fashion house, Dior. It’s not a topic I know much about, but I loved reading about Christian Dior, the vivid descriptions of his creations, the talented women who were involved in the process and more, and the detailed author’s notes at the end also had more historical information which made for a very interesting read.
This novel, along with being a WWII historical fiction novel, was also a thriller. As the story moves between New York, Switzerland and Paris, the tension steadily increased across all three timelines, and despite knowing how two of those timelines ended, the mood was sustained throughout, keeping me turning the pages late into the night. While I’ve read many dual timeline novels, a triple timeline was something I came across for the first time in this book, and in my opinion, it worked exceptionally well for a WWII novel, portraying the state of things through Alix’s eyes before, during and after the war and making all the timelines very distinct.
✍🏻 Writing & Narration: This was an absolutely gripping narrative from beginning to end and I was drawn into the story immediately. All three timelines were balanced perfectly and the story progressed evenly across the board, revealing pieces of the puzzle in such a way that things didn’t start to come together until late in the tale. While some elements were still a little predictable, it was well past the 70% mark that they began to become so and by and by large this was extremely well written and structured.
👥 Characters: Alix was a strong and courageous character and an amazing protagonist. Her’s was an excellent arc, especially through the Switzerland timeline covering her years as a spy when she started working with and helping the Italian partisans in their resistance against the Nazis. The romance plotline was unexpectedly good and I was actually quite invested in it which is pretty rare for me when it’s not the main genre.
🎬 Ending: Despite being such a great read, the ending fell a bit short for me. The resolution of the main plot wasn’t what I was hoping for – but it was extremely realistic, and given the historical facts of the time, it certainly fits. In terms of the other parts of the story, the ending for them was perfect and it’s just so nice to read a war story from time to time that ends in a happily ever after!
❓ Final Thoughts & Recommendation: Overall, this was an excellent read and I’m glad to have started off my 2023 reading year with this book! I would definitely recommend this for not only fans of the genre who have an interest in fashion but also for those who are interested in starting to read historical fiction – the combination of history, mystery and thriller makes this a gripping read that anyone can enjoy!
The Three Lives of Alix St. Pierre releases on January 10th, 2023.
Do you plan to read this book? What do you think of my new book review template? I’d love to hear your feedback – let me know in the comments below!
Wow! Such high praise for this one! I’m not typically a huge fan of historical fiction, but I will say that the plot for this book definitely intrigues me. Maybe I’ll branch out this year and pick it up 😉
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Thanks for reading and commenting! Hope you enjoy it!
I really like historical fiction, so this sounds right up my street. Thank you so much for sharing x
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Thanks for reading!
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