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New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great WarAugust 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 ParisBut as history tells us it all happened so differentlyEvie 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


10 thoughts on “Last Christmas in Paris A Novel of World War I

  1. says:

    I slept on my star rating and I am still feeling the love today 💗 Sometimes I need to sleep on it to see how long a story stays with me Evie and Tom’s story is still with me ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 5 romantic Paris stars to Last Christmas in Paris my 2017 birthday read 🎈🎂 🎁 🍰 🎉 I saved this gem of a book for the holidays and as they got closer I knew that I would be starting a new book on my birthday I wanted a special read for that occasion and this most definitely was it Told in the epistolary style of letters amongst friends during World War I Last Christmas in Paris captured my heart This book has a slower crescendo It takes some patience but I found myself reading this a little slower than my normal speed and savoring the words re reading passages It takes time to fall in love and that’s just what happened between two of these friends They fell in love through their letters There’s so much beauty in that The World War I backdrop was uite the contrast While the letters start off with the friends thinking the war will be over by the first Christmas there were several Christmases that would come and go before that dreadful war was over Will Tom and Evie ever meet up to spend Christmas in Paris? I enjoyed the authors’ notes where they explained how they wrote the book together fascinating The two authors formed a special friendship as a result of writing this book together and writing letters to each other There were some interesting facts about the war also This is not a book I would classify as a romance but I would say it was certainly romantic in the best of ways I was ecstatic with my birthday read choice


  2. says:

    45 stars rounded to 5 starsI tripped across this book uite by accident It was featured in one of those “Before You Go” ads at the end of a kindle book The cover caught my eye and since it’s December and I’m on a historical fiction kick I went for itThis is an epistolary novel meaning it is written in letters There is correspondence from every year of World War I 1914 through 1918 In addition between each year there is a chapter set in December 1968 featuring one of the main characters When I first realized this I wondered if the book would be spoiled with a lot of “tell” rather than “show” but that fear was minimized by the authors who really pulled this off well Our main character is Evie Elliott a young privileged woman living near London who writes to her brother Will and her childhood friend Tom who have both gone off to fight in France She also corresponds with her best friend Alice Both Alice and Evie are itching to do than knit socks for the boys at war and eventually become involved We also have a number of side characters that flesh out the story The authors paint a very realistic portrayal of this time period Further the characters and the dialogue are absolutely real I was really pulled into the lives of these people The prevailing themes are strong They include the role of women left at the home front; the role of newspapers and false propaganda and the true nature of what the men were going through in the trenches; PTSD courage angst love and hope; and the amazing ability of the human spirit to survive We have references not only to the ugliness of the world but also to its counterpoint – the beauty of the world Poetry and birds provide comforting background imagery This is a beautiful story one that I will remember for a long time It touched me and filled me with wonder as to where people who live through the world wars find their strength Make sure you read the authors’ notes at the end where they explain how they wrote this book together The writing is seamless and I would have never known it was penned by two writersI highly recommend Last Christmas in Paris to all readers Despite its title it does not really focus on Christmas so it can read at any time of the year


  3. says:

    Evie Elliott watches her brother Will and his best friend Thomas leave for Europe to serve in World War I The three of them are very close and have never been separated Evie is naive and believes that everyone will be together for a Christmas reunion in Paris The three of them stay in contact via letters and these communications become the fabric and timeline for the story Evie is frustrated with her life as a young woman and is also unsettled with the lack of “real” news reported by the British government She has an idea of the grim life as a soldier in France from Thomas’ letters Evie channels her disappointment by writing a column for a local newspaper As the war drags on Thomas and Evie continue their correspondence while hoping for the elusive Christmas in ParisThis novel by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb was uniue because the story is told in letter format spanning over several years This book was collaboration between two authors living in different countries and is a great read for those loving historical fiction


  4. says:

    Last Christmas in Paris is a book of letters written between two friends during WWI It’s romantic historical and frilly Some in my bookclub thought it was a tear jerker whereas for me nothing of the sort This is just not my genreGlad you enjoyed Linda2 out of 5 stars


  5. says:

    Got a chance to read an ARC of this one for a cover uote My review and uote This joint collaboration between authors Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor is a gripping epistolary novel in the tradition of Letters from Skye and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Beginning with heartbreaking gaiety at the start of the First World War Last Christmas In Paris follows a progression of letters between a spirited female journalist a bookish new minted soldier and the various bright young things who make up their band of friends charting the slow heartbreaking passage of years as war and disillusion grind away youthful dreams and ideals Humor love tragedy and hope make for a moving uplifting read A winner


  6. says:

    It’s not easy to tell a story simply by using an epistolary format It has been successfully done before The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society immediately springs to mind but I’m delighted to say that these two authors have pulled this off magnificently Last Christmas in Paris is a gorgeous read and I loved itWith the occasional interruption into a change of timeline set in 1968 Last Christmas in Paris is told entirely through letters and telegrams during the years of 1914 1918 mainly between Evie Elliott and Thomas Harding – the childhood best friend of Evie’s brother Will Evie is a prolific letter writer and it’s not only Tom who receives her missives but her brother Will and her best friend AliceEvie was an absolute delight and I adored her She wasn’t content just to sit by and let life pass by She had principles gumption and bucket loads of courage Although from a privileged family she had no airs or graces and was desperate to ‘do her bit’ for her country when war was declared Her mother was dead set against her working at all but eventually Evie is able to get a job with the local postmistress delivering letters and those awful official telegrams bringing bad news Not content with keeping uiet about the propaganda from the government and other news agencies who put out the false reports that everything is going swimmingly well for the troops she secures a column in a newspaper – telling the truth as she sees it from a woman’s point of view and not holding back on the awful conditions in France and the difficulties faced by both fighting soldiers and the people at home waiting for their returnWhen Tom went to war he and Evie were not romantically involved As Will’s younger sister she has always been teased by both boys but through their correspondence we begin to see a different side to both Tom and Evie Tom’s letters are heavily censored for mentions of location and other sensitive information but nevertheless through the level of detail the evocative prose and historical facts I was completely swept up in their lives The letters start off formally from Tom’s side – signing off with ‘Lieutenant Thomas Harding’ whilst those from Evie are jolly and newsy and include gifts of hand knitted socks tobacco and books – anything to try and lift Tom’s spirits As the war continues for far longer than anyone expected their correspondence becomes personal and intimate Both pour out their innermost feelings about the war and life in generalThe characterisation was spot on with the main characters being incredibly engaging and believable – Tom stole a little bit of my heart and even those I disliked intensely yes John Hopper I’m looking at you were able to get under my skin The storyline of ‘war neuroses’ what we now know as PTSD was extremely poignant and saddening These poor soldiers who had been through hell at the front were referred to as ‘Lacking Moral Fibre’ and ‘weak minded’ when they were returned to Britain for hospital treatmentLast Christmas in Paris will make you smile whilst breaking your heart I was completely mesmerised by the letters the characters and oh just by the entire storyline and it will definitely be one of my favourite books this year I made the mistake of finishing the last 50 pages or so on my morning train commute My goodness this was an emotional read – a word of warning – if you’re reading this book in public make sure you have tissues


  7. says:

    This review was originally posted on Between My LinesI'm starting this review with a very bold statement but I stand over it with all my heart  Last Christmas in Paris is my book of the year for 2017  I don't care that it's only the beginning of November I doubt any book I've yet to read this year will mean as much to me 5 reasons I loved Last Christmas in Paris  The entire book is letters  Love letters angry letters duty letters  Letters that cover every human emotion and I treasured them all  On top of the precious letters that stirred my soul I learned about the language of stamps  Where and how you placed the stamp had a hidden message who knew?  Not me War is depicted in all it's awfulness  We all know the atrocities that happened  But knowing them and then reading letters about actual life in the trenches  Well it hammers the message home The role of women in WWI really stirred my heart  Evie knew the value of letting Tom spill his heart to her in his letters She didn't want to know about the realities of war but she knew he needed to share them and she was strong enough to help shoulder his pain  Evie played an active role in the war in many ways and she shows how women really stood up and participated in this war The love story  Seriously it's the love story to end all love stories  It crushed my heart at times but sent it soaring also  I loved watching their friendship grow to love via their letters and I have never believed in the love affair of a fictional couple than theirs Feels feels feels  All the feels  Gut wrenching feels tear jerking feels heart warming feels excited butterfly in the stomach feels hopeful feels falling madly insanely in love feels  This book has them in abundance and I shook with emotional while reading itThe bottom line  It's fab you need it in your life Trust me and go read Last Christmas in Paris You can thank me later and if you need a shoulder to cry on I'm here for you Who should read Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor Heather Webb? If you only buy 1 book that I recommend this year then you should make it Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor Heather Webb  Especially recommended to fans of historical fiction epistolary novels world war 1 settings and epic love stories  I think if you've enjoyed Hazel Gaynor's previous books that you'll also love this one  Fans of Carmel Harrington JoJo Moyes and Kristin Hannah should also enjoy


  8. says:

    How wonderful to celebrate Christmas with you even a uiet one I'll remember it always the way the firelight lit your face If only I could bottle you up and take you with me when I return to the FrontIf I were to say Oh My Heavenly stars I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK I wish I had the money to BUY ALL MY FRIENDS A COPY Such splendidly seamless atmospheric writing; endearing enthralling and deeply effecting And characters that are so richly drawn I felt as if they were my own personal loved ones and their letters were written exclusively to me Non readers might think I'm some sort of deranged over zealous cliché spouting southern belle has been narcissistic fruitcake Well they would be wrong The arrogance of youth takes everything for granted Everything that is until you find yourself at war pushing your bayonet into the enemy's chest before he pushes his into yoursOkay mostly wrong I can be a little over the top at times And my southern sensibilities seep out at times And perhaps I'm a bit deranged for liking fruitcake But still I'm fairly certain avid readers especially Goodreads Peeps would totally understand my outburst and rally in support celebrating my enjoyment and discovery of a novel that thrilled me so Truly in all seriousness this was an endearing read with a seamless blend of fiction history epistolary communiue loveromance gentle suspense tenderness fierceness subtle sentimentand garish war reality Totally enveloping with emotional and literary satisfaction And like I said previously the characterscharacterizations are drawn in near perfection; utterly genuine to the point I hated the book to end because I would miss them so How unbearable to endure another goodbye We seem to dance around each other like autumn leaves forever twisting and twirling about until a gust of wind sends us skittering in different directions how I wish we could be still for a while that the winds of war would end and let us settleI do need to mention There are maybe one or two expletives And one grizzly descriptive scene But nothing excessively brutish And certainly nothing to deter awarding this gem the highest rating Plus keep in mind Christmas certainly plays a role in this novel but this isn't a Christmas themed novel It is a war story A love story A story about family bonds And it's a story of hope penned in the form of letters; the kind of hope that keeps us marching on with courage even when all seems hopeless FIVE Historical Epistolary Fiction of the Finest Order Worthy of Praise from the Highest Heights STARS


  9. says:

    45 ⭐️Very good I don’t know why I love stories that take place during WW1 WW11 they just end up making me sad Anyway I loved the epistolary format but at times I felt it was a bit too long Loved the story though


  10. says:

    have read a handful of epistolary novels over the years and it was a pure joy to read Last Christmas In Paris an exceptionally well executed novel that employs this structure The authors of Last Christmas In Paris renowned historical fiction writers Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb are now the best of friends after they collaborated to compose this unforgettable tale of love in the face of the Great War These two authors have nailed the characters and voices of the protagonists of this novel so well There is a seamless uality to this book so it is hard to believe it was devised by two different pens detail on this collaboration can be found at the back of the book Paris holds a special place in my heart I adore Christmas themed books and I always lap up novels about the Great War I couldn’t ask for a better combination for a novel I had an early indication I was going to love this book and love it I did Although there wasn’t a huge focus on Christmas which I had hoped for based on the title and premise but I was still taken aback by the beauty of this book