Last Christmas in Paris
By Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
Published by William Morrow
What’s it about?
Thomas Harding is spending one last Christmas in Paris before he dies. He takes a stack of cherished letters with him to re-read. The letters were all sent during the First World War and tell a story of family and friendship, love and loss.
Evie Elliot says goodbye to Tom and her brother, Will and sends them off to war that everyone things will soon be over. They optimistically plan to reunite and spend Christmas in Paris.
The war progresses and the letters continue. Tom deals with the reality of the trenches, loss, injury and long distance support for his family business. Evie feels stifled by the expectations of middle-class women and tries to find a role for herself in a changing world.
What I think:
This is an engaging and charming read. Told almost entirely through letters and telegrams, the relationship between Tom and Evie grows slowly. It’s often, sweet and amusing. The voices are distinct and you really feel the character’s perspectives and different voices develop.
No spoilers – but you might want to keep the tissues handy.
My frustration with this novel came when the characters were together. At points in the novel when Tok is home on leave and meets up with Evie, these are still told in retrospect through the letters and quite frankly I wanted more detail.
I read this as part of an instagram buddy read with @BABbookclub – check them out to join January’s read.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the characters and the developing relationship. But the life they lead between the end of the war, therefore the end of the letters, and the novel’s present day is left to speculation.
There’s lots of interesting detail about the war and life on the home front. Evie’s newspaper column offer a female and sometimes controversial perspective highlighting how information and the press was controlled. The edition I read had extra info about the war and some suggested reading for readers who want to find out more.
If you want to spend one Last Christmas in Paris, head to:
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