Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I

Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I

by Hazel Gaynor, Heather Webb

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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 War.

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…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062562692
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 4,789
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Hazel Gaynor is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, The Girl from the Savoy, was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. In 2017, she has published The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris. Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of 'Ten Big Breakout Authors' for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages. Hazel lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.

Heather Webb is the award-winning and international bestselling author of Last Christmas in Paris, The Phantom’s Apprentice, Rodin’s Lover and Becoming Josephine. Her novels have been translated into over a dozen languages worldwide. Heather is also a freelance editor, public speaker and blogger. She lives in New England with her family and one feisty bunny.

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Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
aakerr More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Last Christmas In Paris. Hearing about Evie, Thomas, and Will during WWI through their letters was an interesting way of telling their story. I've read a couple of books now that are mainly letters conveying the majority of the story. The length of a letter being relatively short it makes it hard to put down the book. I kept thinking, "just one more letter." Even though you aren't allowed to hear the true horror of the war in the letters, due to the censors, you get a good idea of how truly awful it was. It's hard to imagine that so many young soldiers went off to war in 1914 and really didn't have a break until the war ended in 1918. Hearing how much was withheld from people on the home-front, in England, is sad. It's hard to imagine getting nothing but propaganda from the news. To have no idea where your loved ones were or what was happening would be terrible. Even knowing how bad it could be seems better than imagining the worst everyday. Overall this was a lovely story and I would have happily read more about their lives if the authors had given us more. I highly recommend Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
One of my fondest memories as a child growing up was during one summer, a friend and I, picked out anonymous names and became pen pals since seeing each other as often as we wanted was out. It was the best summer I can remember. I have a profound respect for men and women who served during our great wars, WWI and WWII. All of the WWI veterans have passed away and we still have a handful of the veterans from WWII but not for long. The stories they still hold is as relevant to them as my summer of being pen pals. There is just something about sharing memories and stories that needs to be treasured. In Hazel Gaynor's latest novel, Last Christmas in Paris, readers are given a behind the scenes look at how a trio of siblings and friends found a way to survive the war. For Evie Elliot, she watched as her brother Will and best friend to both Evie and Will, Tom Harding went to war for England. The book parallels to different time periods both in 1968, where our story both concludes and begins, but also the formation of hope, faith and love that is shared as the letters between the three are shared in this novel. It shows the progression of optimism that the war will be over by the first Christmas, it shows the loss that comes when war raises its ugly head, and the love that can be found by never giving up, of dreaming of a better future than the current one. As a reader, I felt guilty as if I had happened upon these letters by chance and was given an insider's look at the lives of both the authors and recipients. Sometimes the things we want to say but can't can be conveyed in writing better than if we spoke them in person. There isn't a fear of what might be said in response because one must wait to hear the outcome in another letter. I have read most of Hazel Gaynor's novels and have to give her credit for taking the reader right into her novels. There is so much detail in her writing style, you can hear and smell the things as they are being described like the Zepplin's nightly air raids on the small towns and of Evie and Tom's promise that one day they will visit Paris for Christmas when the war is over. I received Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. Readers will enjoy a bit of historical fact woven into the story line and for fans of history like myself, will truly enjoy and appreciate this novel. I hope more will pick this novel up and join me in preserving a bit of history by doing so. War is hard enough, but it is the love that outlasts all the evils that will always prevail. For me, this one garners a 5 out of 5 stars in this readers opinion.
Thebooktrail-com More than 1 year ago
This novel will make you cry. Oh it’s so beautiful and immerses you in the time and era in which it is set. Using letters as story telling device is expertly done here and extremely apt. The story, the emotions of the letter writers comes across like a dream. You read each letter pretty much like the recipients do – looking forward to the next one and imagining the letter writer as you do. Another clever device was to separate the novel into years of the war. This added to the sense of time, what was happening and when people thought and were told, it would be over by Christmas, what they had to realise is that no-one had said which Christmas. The flow of the letters also brings the emotions of the people to the fore. The art of letter writing is somewhat lost nowadays but it’s so personal and poignant here. When Thomas writes from ‘somewhere in France’ and some words are blacked out, the reality of their situation comes through. So too does the humour and the innocence of the young – I found certain sections in particular so poignant reading this, knowing how history panned out. If you’re not an emotional wreck by the time you get to the 1958 visit to Paris, then you have a heart of stone. Hazel and Hannah you really have written a novel with heart here. Emotion, love, history and humanity.
FrancescaFB More than 1 year ago
A beautiful love story set amid a horrific war that touches our very soul.
Honolulubelle More than 1 year ago
Favorite Quotes: Marrying Charlie would be rather like marrying a broken carriage clock. How the hours would drag. I feel like an unworn dress, hanging limply in the closet, without purpose or shape or form. I’ve already lost an innocence I didn’t know I possessed. Do you remember Lloyd George’s rousing speech “The war to end all wars”? They said it would be over by Christmas. They didn’t say which one though, did they? You’re a star, Evie. About the only light I see in these endless nights. My Review: The Last Christmas in Paris was simply stunning and a pure delight. This beautifully written and emotive tale alternated between eliciting frequent smiles of pleasure and contentment to stinging my eyes and burning my throat; at either end of the emotional spectrum, the intensity was strong enough to take my breath away. Ms. Gaynor and Webb's eloquent writing reached a level of poignancy and excellence I had yet to experience and the effects may take more than a few beats for my recovery. I seem to be stunned, mentally dazed, and annoying unable to find the appropriate words to give tribute to their remarkable skills and acumen. I adored their enticing characters as much as their exceptionally engaging and descriptive style. I was quickly swallowed up and transported to a different time and place as I devoured the personal letters and insightful inner musings that comprised most of the manuscript. I relished the lighthearted banter and jocularity of the earlier missives that gave way to deeper observations and confessions as the war waged on much longer and harsher than expected. Having read their lovely exchanges, I am moved to bemoan the lost art of human interaction found in putting pen to paper on beautiful stationary for heart-felt letter-writing versus our abbreviated communications of emailing, texting, emojis, and gifs. Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb have mad skills and a new fangirl; I have an extremely strong desire to greedily gather and consume all their words.
Jenny_Brown More than 1 year ago
A lovely romance told entirely in letters. Evie, working on the British home front, corresponds primarily with her childhood friend, Tom, who is fighting the War to End All Wars in France. Other letters (and telegrams) are interspersed to round out the story. The letters capture tremendous detail of what was life during World War I while dispelling all notions that going to war is a great adventure (including talking about soldiers who are "shell shocked" and how they were treated). I love how while the book centers on a romance in so many ways, it feels like a smaller part of this historical novel that illuminates so much of the time period. So much I didn't know before that was fascinating to read. A beautiful novel.
Faerytalemegan More than 1 year ago
"The Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I" by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb is a beautifully written story of love, loss and hope during wartime. It's written mostly in letters and has a Downton Abbey feel to it. Ms. Webb and Ms. Gaynor give such a beautiful and moving portrayal of how war affects every aspect of one's life. They show this through the letters of a few young people. In the beginning of the war, the letters are full of excitement, a sense of adventure, pride and thoughts that the war won't last long. As one can imagine, the letters and the people in the letters change as the war gets more serious, moves closer to home and becomes a lot longer than everyone had anticipated. The characters have to share and communicate everything through these letters (and sometimes telegrams)--they didn't have our modern technology. Parts of the letters in the book are blacked out--showing how even the letters are censored. The large newspapers will show only the happy side of war and newspapers get in trouble and are censored for showing the truth. This fact made me really angry, as it does to Evie (one of our main characters), who takes up writing for one of the newspapers. There is such a contrast between the women's lives at home and what is actually happening on the front (as told by Evie's brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas). We see the war through the eyes of this trio. Their emotions go from enthusiasm, to denial, to despair, and eventually to hope (and love makes its way in there too). I fell in love with the characters in this story, especially Evie and Thomas. I went through all the emotions they went through. At times, it was so heavy that I had to take a break from the book. But it's such a great story, that I still really wanted to know what happened to these characters and couldn't stop thinking about them, even when I wasn't reading. I love how Evie and Thomas become closer through letter writing and are able to say things that they wouldn't be able to say in person. Letters and the written word are so powerful. This is also shown through Evie's column that she writes for the war effort and the amazing response she gets. There are so many great themes in this books and important topics that are covered. This is not a light read, but it is so moving and beautiful. At times it is heart wrenching and I almost started crying (which I don’t often do with books). My heart was on my sleeve as I approached the ending–and it did not disappoint! I will certainly look at Christmas differently this year and will be thankful for peace, family and the opportunity to celebrate in freedom! Content: I give this novel a PG-13 rating. There is the use of minor swear words. The Lord's name is taken in vain. There is the mention of how women are treated on the war front and talk of prostitutes. There is a man with PTSD. A child is born out of wedlock. Rating: I give this book 4 stars. I want to thank Heather Webb, Hazel Gaynor, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, William Morrow Publishers and Harper Collins Publishers for the complimentary copies of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.
teachlz More than 1 year ago
Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I by Hazel Gaynor (Goodreads Author), Heather Webb (Goodreads Author) 9286778 Linda Zagon's review Oct 01, 2017 · edit it was amazing MY REVIEW OF "LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS' by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb WOW! Can you imagine reading a book about "The Great War" World War 1, and not only absorb the devastation, emotional and physical distress of both the men and women involved, and yet feel the love, friendship, faith and hope? Authors Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb have teamed up to write "Last Christmas in Paris". The Genres of this book are Historical Fiction and Women's Fiction. with a dash of Romance. The timeline of this novel takes place during World War 1, a few years after and then in 1968. The story takes place in England, France, Paris and Scotland. I appreciate the authors' historical research to clarify the details during the war and this time period in history and the political events surrounding this. The authors describe the characters' personalities, and how they change during these complex and complicated times. Evie Elliott, a headstrong and determined young women watches her brother Will and his friend Tom Harding leave for the front, they all believe that the war will be over be Christmas. They make a promise to meet in Paris for Christmas. The authors show through eloquent letters, how this promise is not to be for now. The descriptions through these letters depict a despicable war, the weapons, the destruction and loss, and conditions, The morale of the men is at an all time low, as the war goes on, and they depend on these letters as a lifeline of sorts. The women in England try to do their part by knitting, sending packages and letters. For Evie, this is not enough. Using a pen name she writes a column in the newspaper, describing how bad the circumstances are for the men and women, and what the women can do to be helpful. Evie and Thomas do keep a correspondence through writing , and each seems to find it difficult to express their true feelings of love. Is it possible for love to endure the circumstances of war? I found "Last Christmas in Paris" to be engaging and captivating and I would highly recommend it for readers who enjoy Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction and Romance. I received a copy of this book for my honest review.