The Lost Girls of Paris: A Novel

The Lost Girls of Paris: A Novel

by Pam Jenoff


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778330271
Publisher: Park Row Books
Publication date: 01/29/2019
Edition description: Original
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 32
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Pam Jenoff is the author of several books of historical fiction, including the NYT bestseller The Orphan's Tale. She holds a degree in international affairs from George Washington University and a degree in history from Cambridge, and she received her JD from UPenn. Her novels are inspired by her experiences working at the Pentagon and as a diplomat for the State Department handling Holocaust issues in Poland. She lives with her husband and 3 children near Philadelphia, where she teaches law.

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The Lost Girls of Paris 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
gaele 16 days ago
Told in three different voices, in three timeframes, Jenoff gives us the story of operations through the SOE, a British wartime branch dedicated to working with in country organizations and resistance groups to cause upheaval in the German plans: from moving personnel and supplies to actually setting bombs to destroy infrastructure while providing a constant stream of “boots on the ground’ information through various radio dispatches. In actual fact, the SOE operatives were clandestine and unless male, unrecognized by the British government, and with an average lifespan of six months (at best), this is a huge ask requiring all who are chosen and agreed to do their part some of the bravest, yet least recognized in the fight. Using a mix of facts and fictions, Jenoff manages to tell a story that brings us through the first consideration of women in the front lines to the dissolution and search for answers for 12 missing women. Told in three voices from three women in very different places and positions, Grace, Eleanor and Marie all share their fears, hopes, activities and struggles to make places for themselves as they make a difference. Grace’s perspective in 1946 brings a touch of mystery to the story: her discovery of a case tucked under a bench in Grand Central, and the dozen photographs of young women contained inside fits neatly into her own personal upheaval, and allows her a new focus that isn’t her own situation, grief, guilt or lack of real direction since her husband’s death before deployment. Working for an attorney who is constantly ‘on’ and developed a network of ‘connections’ who may be able to help her answer who the girls are, she’s also got her husband’s best friend, a lawyer in DC, and if she can overcome the mixture of guilt and attraction, a person who also could help her to answer the ‘why’ and ‘who’. Grace takes us through the US side of the records, making assumptions that are, but for one, correct and finding a sort of ‘peace’ in the answers she uncovers. Eleanor and Marie are more the bits of the story that are ‘as it happens’ on the ground. Eleanor has managed, despite her Polish routes and being a refugee, risen to the top of the SOE as admin and personal secretary to the director. Her organization, clear thinking, determination and a photographic memory have made her indispensable (for the moment) and when she suggests (and rightly so) that women are recruited to operate in country and work as agents in France, she is the one tasked with recruiting and organizing their training and deployment. Determined to make her ‘girls’ relevant and use their skills to perform under the nose of the Germans, her recruits come from everywhere, and her knowledge of them is encyclopedic. It is when she recruits Marie, a single unwed mother born to privilege with a French mother that our tale of the organization truly takes off. We follow Marie through her training, her deployment and her life in France, getting to know other members of the large cell she works with, the leaders and the other members, until her eventual capture by the Germans and her realization that someone, up in the offices of London has betrayed them all. It is Grace’s story that ties all of this together as she pulls all the pieces together, pieces that Eleanor was slowly gathering and providing these women with a voice and story. Unknown and unacknowledged, it will take Grace’s determination with a surprising cohort to bring the story of the “
Anonymous 11 hours ago
sspea 2 days ago
This book follows the narrative of three women. Eleanor the commander of a covert mission during the war. Marie, one of Eleanor's operatives and Grace, a woman post war who stumbles across some information that leads to questions she wants answers to. Inspired by true events, this was a fascinating book. War time books are generally a hit or miss for me, as they can so easily go sideways. But the writing did this story justice. We know that women were used as underground radio operators in Nazi occupied Europe, and this puts names and stories to these unknown women.
Elena_L 7 days ago
"The Lost girls of Paris" is a historical fiction about WWII, betrayal, friendship and courage. The story alternates between 1940 (in London and Paris) and after the WWII (1946) in New York City. Setting in New York, Grace Healey witnesses a car accident while running late for work and ends up finding an abandoned suitcase with dozen photographs. Then she decides to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs. During the WII, Eleanor Trigg and the British Government are starting a secret special operation which gathers skilled but discreet women to be sent to occupied Paris as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance. Without giving further information about the book, "The lost girls of Paris" is a MUST read for everyone: packed with action mixed with historical references, this story is inspired by true events. I regarded this book as remarkable once I was completely drawn into the characters – each one of them was fully developed and so rich that I felt compelled to know more about them. Trigg was smart and tough while working in a misogynistic environment – you could realize that she was a sensitive and warm-hearted person behind her iron mask, ready to prove the women’s equality. I found myself rooting for Marie since the beginning, impressed by her courage and growth process. Grace, you don’t empathize with her until you see her determination and the desire to make things right. I was fascinated by the complexity of the plot and the masterpiece that Jenoff created this time. The writing could not be more intriguing and detailed in order to convey how far can we go (as human) to achieve our goals – the sacrifices and the hard decisions made for a bigger purpose. Emotionally beautiful, this book is heart wrenching and will make you digest it for a long time. I didn’t want it to end. Highly recommend!
Anonymous 8 days ago
This was a quick read. I liked all three characters, especially protective Eleanor. Sometimes I was annoyed with Marie for making dumb choices, though. The first part of Marie's story centered on her training. I found that interesting and was looking forward to seeing her apply that training in the field. However, after Marie was deployed, there was very little written about her being a radio operator. Mostly what we saw was the odd jobs she was called upon to do that stretched her beyond her training. I imagine the author chose to focus on those actions for the sake of flow and tension, as this was where the suspense really started, so I can understand that. There was a development that really bothered me, though. At one point Marie sent a message to London, and the response she got was something I couldn't imagine even the greenest rookie sending. Yes, it is fiction, and the response moved the action along the way the author needed it to, but unfortunately it felt unbelievable to me. Overall, however, I found this an interesting read.
Bookapotamus 8 days ago
Two words. Women Spies. Do need any other reason than to those two words to read this? Well, I don't think you do because what could be more kick-a$$ than that, but I'll give you more anyway because there are PLENTY of reasons! It's 1946 and the world is has finally ended and the world is a bit lost. No-one is more lost than Grace, who lost her beloved Tom and has been wandering ever since. She's ended up in New York City, and stumbles upon an abandoned suitcase at Grand Central that contains a handful of photographs - of women, in uniform. Who are these women? Were they soldiers? What happened to them? And Grace is insanely curious, but ultimately feels like she finally has a purpose, to find the answers to all those questions. The mystery of the photos is told from Grace's perspective after she finds the case - and also during the war several years earlier in 1944 - through one of the women in the photos and also the owner of the suitcase. What follows is incredible. Based on true events, these brave women were recruited to join the SOE resistance and trained to operate radios, blend in with their surroundings, and even fight if necessary. All of the men are off to war, so what better way to spy in occupied France than to blend in with those who are left behind - the women. They transmit messages back and forth to London to help thwart their enemies plans and stay one step ahead. Historical fiction fans will adore this book, and everyone else will love it too - you'll find yourself rooting for women, and amazed at their sacrifices and contributions to the war effort. There's a significant amount of history, mystery, friendship and love - a little something for everyone.
Anonymous 8 days ago
mkdmom 12 days ago
What a fantastic read this book was! I enjoy reading books about the work women did during WWII and this book didn't disappoint. I loved how strong Eleanor, Marie, Josie and Grace were in facing their different challenges. It amazed me that even though these women did spy work as difficult as the men did that their contributions were deemed insignificant just because they were women. It's taken us at least 70 years to at least level the playing field a bit! The author's writing style kept me invested in the story. It flowed at a good pace and I enjoyed reading from three different viewpoints. I also enjoyed the small romantic plotlines and the mystery that ran through the story of whether any of the women were left alive and who betrayed them.
vickeyu 14 days ago
I could not put this book down. From the first page, meeting Grace, and finding the suitcase, you can't wait to see what will happen next. All of the characters are deep, multi-faceted people that you would want to know better. The Lost Girls of Paris covers a part of history that I was unaware of. Although fiction, I am sure the real, live counterparts of Eleanor, Marie and Josie were just as brave and vital to the war effort. To be dropped into a country with nothing but a radio transmitter and what you hoped was good training, not knowing if you would survive the next day and completeing dangerous missions, all adds up to an edge-of-your-seat page turner. After reading this book, I want more information about the roles women like these played in World War II.
Anonymous 15 days ago
My goodness, this is a good book. Historical Fiction books about the roles of women in WWII are definitely having their time in the spotlight now. I’ve read several of them, all good, but The Lost Girls Of Paris distinguishes itself as one of the best. The story is inspired by true events in WWII occupied France. It’s the story of a small group of women who worked for the SOE as spies/saboteurs. The story unfolds in 1946 when Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase in Grand Central Station. She embarks upon a journey to discover the owner of the suitcase and the reason it contains pictures of a dozen women. The stories of Grace and two of the women are the focus of the story. It is told in an alternate chapter format that beautifully reveals their friendships, trust, and courage. There is enough action to move you to the edge of your seat on occasion but not enough to overshadow the women’s stories. This story itself is well constructed and it moves at a smooth pace. If you like historical fiction or books about WWII, you will like this book. Thank you to NetGalley and Park Row/Harlequin Trade Publishing for allowing me to read and advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
Bookish_Brittany 15 days ago
One day in 1946, during the aftermath of World War II, Grace Healey finds a suitcase in Grand Central Terminal while taking a detour to work. Inside she finds twelve photographs of women who were secret operatives in France in 1944. Intrigued by the photos, Grace takes them and leaves the suitcase. As Grace investigates the owner of the photos and what happened to each of the girls, she will help uncover a horrible betrayal while finding out what she should do with her future. Told from the perspective of Grace, Eleanor (the owner of the photos), and Marie (one of the operatives), this story reconstructs what happened in France two years earlier. I enjoyed this book very much. The narrative drew me right into the story, and I sympathized with all three main characters. The ending was not what I was expecting, but it also seemed very realistic. I didn't care for the profanity and thought that it was unnecessary to the story. That being said, this very compelling and heartbreaking fictional account was well written and definitely makes me want to read more of the author's books. I love books that delve into war spies, operatives, mysteries, and political intrigue. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and suspense. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the NetGalley Bookish First program. A positive review was not required, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Librarian_V_Reader 17 days ago
Librarian: This is a brilliant historical fiction novel, perfect both for those who like historical fiction and those who like spy novels. World War II is such a heavily saturated topic that it can be difficult to find books that approach it from a new perspective. This one doesn't wholly succeed, but it does do better than most, and I think that readers will enjoy it, especially, considering that Jenoff is already an author that many of them trust. Reader: I've mentioned before that I have a love/hate relationship with historical fiction. This one fall fairly squarely on the love side of that equation. It has all of the elements that I look for in good historical fiction, compelling characters, an interesting premise, and a new or innovative approach to the topic. I haven't read Jenoff's books, before but I think that I'm going to have to go back and read them, because if this book is any indication I'm going to enjoy them.
Piney10 17 days ago
LlamaJen 18 days ago
Absolutely LOVED this book!!! One of my favorite books this year. I couldn't put it down and finished it in a day. These woman were so brave. I loved everything about this book- the writing style, characters and story. I simply loved reading about Grace, Eleanor and Marie. Grace accidentally stumbles across photos she found in a suitcase abandoned in Grand Central Terminal. She is persistent in trying to find out who they are. Eleanor trains girls to go behind enemy lines in Occupied France where they will transmit information back and forth between London. Eleanor is protective of these girls and does everything on her power to find out what happened to them. Marie is a single mother who was recruited by Eleanor. From the moment I started reading the first page I was hooked. Grace, Eleanor and Marie were three very strong women. I loved how Eleanor was able to find the truth about what happened to her girls. The ending was perfect. I know need to go read The Orphan's Tale and the author's previous books. I definitely recommend this book. I look forward to reading more books by the author. Thanks to NetGalley, HARLEQUIN – Trade Publishing (U.S. & Canada) and the author, Pam Jenoff, for a free electronic ARC of this novel.
MatteaLC 18 days ago
This book took some getting into on my part, initially I loved the concept of the story, but the character development just lagged for me. I’m glad That I stuck with it, because as the story grew, so did the girls. They went from young inexperienced girls into brave strong women, especially Marie. She was so annoying, asking too many questions, rash and unthinking in her decisions , but she became much more than that, with experience and time providing valuable support to her colleagues and excellence to their cause. Grace is an Inquisitive woman, that comes along a couple years after the wars end, trying to find out what happened to the girls of the SOA and their leader Eleanor. This is another untold story of the brave women that fought the war in their unique way, alongside of pilots, Red Cross workers, canteen girls, and factory workers at home. Pam Genoff is a talented writer of historical fiction and she has done it again. My thanks to the author, net galley, and Harper Collins for the opportunity to review this novel.
Peppyob 18 days ago
Readers of historical fiction especially the WWII era will love this book. The novel pays tribute to the dedicated British women of Britain's Special Operations Executive, who undertook great personal risks, many sacrificing their own lives in order to defeat the Nazis in WWll. The story begins in 1946 when Grace Healy finds a suitcase in Grand Central station in NY filled with 12 photographs of women. She becomes intrigued with photographs and is determined to find out the story behind these photographs. What follows is a riveting novel has it all: mystery, suspense, betrayal, romance and heartbreak. The vivid narrative of agent Marie Roux’s experiences in France blatantly reveals how horrifying war can be. I have to thank Pam Jenoff for writing and bringing to light, such a well researched and moving story of these women whose contributions were so often underrated.
NovelKim 18 days ago
I seem to read a lot of books pertaining to the two World Wars and I almost passed on this one. That would have been not only a mistake but a loss. Pam Jenoff has woven a story about the women who became a part of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and were dropped from England into France as radio operators between 1943 and 1944, just ahead of the allied invasion. That story, already told and put to bed, has been left to be discovered by Grace Healy in New York in 1946. Running late for work and looking for a shortcut which might get her to her office sooner, Grace happens on a traffic accident and has to make a detour through Grand Central Station. She finds an abandoned suitcase, neatly packed containing among other things a pack of carefully wrapped photographs in a piece of lace inside an envelope. The photographs were of young women some dressed in military uniforms, others in smart street clothes. The photographs yield the secrets to be unfolded in this book. The writing is engrossing and the movement between countries and years is seamless. I was totally involved in the story and regardless of the foregone conclusion dictated by the title I was foolishly hopeful. When the writing is that good that you not only become invested psychologically but emotionally you know the writer has more than achieved her goal. Lost Girls is based on a real female operative, Vera Atkins, and the women who served under her leadership. Although the story has been fictionalized it is infuriating believable. When I finished this book I was reminded of an old TV commercial. Two older men climb a hill, take off their jackets and get into a slug fest. The import behind the fight is that they are world leaders and are going to do battle instead of sending millions of their citizens to kill one another. If only war was that easy to resolve. Thanks you NetGalley and Harlequin for a copy.
MaureenST 19 days ago
Pam Jenoff is giving us a look at a horrible time in history, and using mainly women, and while the story is fiction, in the author’s notes she gives us a glimpse into the inspiration for this story. We take our freedoms for granted and this read lets you see the sacrifices that were made to let us keep them. We put faces on some of these individuals and walk in their shoes for a while, be careful as you blow up a bridge, yes, this book has action. Come and see how a chance find in Grand Central of a suitcase and being curious leads to some surprising answers, and a look into the life of a young woman who has also lost, but finding answers just might lead to some healing for many. I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Harlequin, and was not required to give a positive review.
gypsygrandmatv 20 days ago
An intriguing, emotional story of a group of young British women recruited by the SOE in the months leading up to D-Day they worked as radio operators and couriers getting messages from and to the Allies in an attempt to disrupt the Germans and to aid the resistance. In 1946 in New York City Grace finds a suitcase under a bench in Grand Central Station, in it are photographs of 12 young women in uniform. When Grace learns that Eleanor Trigg, the owner of the suitcase has been killed in a car accident just outside the station she sets out to learn what she can about Eleanor and her girls. Told in alternating points of view and moving seamlessly between 1943 and 1946 we become a part of the lives of these girls and the dangers they faced. This is a fascinating, albeit painful, story that grabbed me and held on until the end.
Anonymous 21 days ago
Wow! What an amazing journey Pam Jenoff has taken us on! Eleanor Trigg recruited a group of women that would become an important part in the war against Germany. They were trained rigorously to infiltrate occupied France without detection and transmit messages back to London. These women were beyond brave -they faced certain death if caught and they all knew it. Yet they still went, still believed in the cause. From teenagers to mothers, these women sacificed everything. The adventure had me sitting on the edge of my seat for most of the novel. The detail the author put into describing the surroundings and feelings of the characters made me feel as if I was part of their team. I can't imagine the terror these women felt! In an age where technology is so readily available to us (I don't go to Walmart without my phone), it's unimaginable how these women went blind into enemy territory and got the job done! From sleeping in sheds to hiding in safehouses to being arrested. And with no contact with their loved ones! Absolutely mind-boggling. It certainly puts things into perspective. As the first book I've read this year, it's going to be a very tough act to follow! Well done Pam Jenoff!
Anonymous 22 days ago
The Lost Girls of Paris has a fascinating storyline about British women that infiltrated occupied France during World War II to send messages back home and wreck havoc that would delay German progress, but it feels like the book needs to be about twice as long as it actually is to truly do the story justice. The story is told by three women – Grace, an American who finds pictures of the women who disappeared while passing through Grand Central Station in 1946; Eleanor, who led the team from back in London and is searching for answers after the war ends; and Marie, one of the women sent into occupied France. Despite having three strong women telling the story, it isn’t overly strong on character or relationship development - characters seem to have full blown relationships develop in few days time, without ever taking the readers on that emotional journey, and there is a lot of plot that just skims the surface instead of truly building out details, which would have made it more compelling and a better book for me.
Katie__B 22 days ago
I hadn't even read the synopsis yet when I realized I wanted to read this book. This is one of the rare instances when a book cover completely sold me. The use of the clock just really stood out to me. Thankfully, this turned out to be a compelling historical fiction read which was worthy of a good cover. It's 1946 and Grace Healey is working in Manhattan after losing her husband during the war. While at Grand Central terminal she discovers a suitcase containing photographs. She soon learns the suitcase belongs to Eleanor Trigg, the leader of a group of female secret agents in London who were sent out on missions as radio operators and couriers during World War 2. Twelve of the women never returned home and what happened to them remains a mystery until Grace decides to go looking for answers. This is a story inspired by real life events and courageous women. I read one of the author's other books, The Orphan's Tale, recently and while I did enjoy it I struggled at times connecting with the characters. With this book I found it much easier to feel for the characters because the story line during the war is so high stakes and intense it's hard not to feel like you are right there with them. And Grace is also someone to root for as she is trying to make it on her own after the death of her husband. I thought the back and forth timelines during and after the war provided a nice balance to the story. For me the real heart of the story was the importance of not letting these brave women be forgotten. While the book might not be among my all time favorites for World War 2 historical fiction it is definitely a solid read and worthy of your time if you enjoy the genre. Thank you to BookishFirst and the publisher for sending me a free advance copy! I was under no obligation to post a review here and all views expressed are my honest opinion.
Karis-M 22 days ago
What to say about The Lost Girls of Paris? Pam Jenoff wove a beautiful, heartbreaking, and complex heartthrob into this novel, which left me sobered and finishing the book wanting to know more about this unique part of WW2 history I had been so unfamiliar with before. When in 1946 in New York Grace stumbles across a suitcase and some mysterious photographs, she becomes determined to unravel the story behind them. She comes to learn that the suitcase belonged to Eleanor Trigg, head of the women agents of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), an organization with the purpose of espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe against the Axis powers and aiding local resistance movements. Basically, slowing down and distracting the Axis powers. As she learns more, she is astonished along with the reader at the stories and bravery of the girls in the photographs. I must admit that I wasn’t a fan of Grace’s storyline, not finding her to be a relatable character; though, I did dearly love to see her at her workplace, helping with paperwork for displaced post-war immigrants. But Eleanor and her “girls’“ stories—those I was invested in. And in the latter part of the book—Eleanor’s search for the missing agents under her—wow! #goosebumps But while I loved the historical aspect and learning about SOE and especially its work in France, at the same time I didn’t appreciate how the author wrote about real people—Trigg, Josie, Marie, and the Director—changed their names, and ascribed motives and blame that can never be proven as real to them. In books like this I’m always looking for an author note at the end saying which parts of the book were speculative and which ones were real. In my ARC, there wasn’t such a page, which lead me to do a little of my own research, but I feel that if this is the only time people are ever going to hear about the SOE, an organization that did not outlive the war, then the reader ought to at least finish reading knowing the truth about the organization and its leaders. All in all a fascinating read and an introduction to a part of history I’m eager to look more into.
dhaupt 23 days ago
The Lost Girls of Paris Pam Jenoff Jenoff’s (The Orphan’s Tale) latest WWII story is historical realism based on true events, a time capsule that should never be forgotten where evil and good reigned side by side and sometimes those lines were crossed in the name of war. The Lost Girls of Paris is tragic, poignant and reflects the bravery of everyday ordinary citizens fighting to end the tyranny promised by the Nazi regime giving readers a birds-eye-view of real women SEO agents sent into harms way. But Pam does something special she not only gives them voices she also gives them heart and makes them more real. The solid gritty plot, fluent dialogue, unforgettable characters and arresting backdrops make this a must read for any fan of WWII, historical or fantastic literary fiction. 1946 New York City – When Grace Healey finds an envelope full of women’s photos in an abandoned suitcase in Grand Central Station and later learns the owner of the suitcase, a British woman was tragically hit and killed by a car curiosity has her seeking information into who these strangers in the photos were. Little does she know she’d be opening a Pandora’s box full of British wartime secrets. London, 1943 - Eleanor Trigg, secretary to the director of the covert British intelligence agency, Special Operative Executive (SOE), an illegitimate cousin to MI-6 never would have believed she’d suggest sending women into occupied France to aid the resistance when their male operatives kept disappearing and she sure never would have believed she’d be running it. But that’s exactly what she’s doing, training and preparing these girls to fight the enemy by transmitting messages out right under the Nazis noses, knowing if they’re caught they’d face torture and death and hoping she’s doing the right thing.
TheBookBag 24 days ago
My recently discovered, new favorite genre is historical fiction and The Lost Girls of Paris just reinforced why I love it so much. This is a story that captured me from the very first sentence—a story that totally drew me in as I was curious to learn more about Grace and the women in the pictures. Grace is obsessed with finding out what happened to the women and I loved her determination to find some answers and get to the truth. I had to keep reminding myself that this book was set in the 1940's, not in the present, when women weren't perceived to be as strong-willed as Grace was. Jenoff is a wonderful storyteller who can weave an interesting piece of the past into an informative and entertaining tale. I loved reading about the brave and strong women who sacrificed their lives for something they believed in. I enjoyed this story immensely and look forward to exploring more of this author's work.