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October 20, 2020

The Paris Secret by Natasha Lester ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Cornwall, August 1928
"I can see your underwear."
Skye Penrose knew that the ordinary response of a ten-year-old girl to such a statement would be to stop cartwheeling along Porthleven pier like a gamboling star and restore her skirt to its proper position. Instead she paused to change direction, then turned two perfect cartwheels toward the boy who'd spoken. In the rush of her upward trajectory, she lunged at him and gave his trousers a swift tug, dislodging them from his waist and popping at least one button in the process. (p. 7)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.
The Paris Secret
September 2020; Forever; 978-1538717288
audio, ebook, print (496 pages); historical fiction

Natasha Lester is one of my favorite writers of WWII historical fiction.  Two of her previous books, The Paris Orphan (read my review) and The Paris Seamstress (read my review), were fantastic historical fiction books but The Paris Secret is her best book yet.  It gives her readers a close look at what it was like to be a woman during wartime and is about love, family, and perseverance during this tumultuous time in history.

This novel is told in four different timelines by various characters:

1928 in Cornwall in England: Skye and Liberty Penrose live with their mother in a home near the beach.  Skye is daring and brave and learns to fly from her mother.  Liberty is difficult and selfish and is content to stay in the house and live her life quietly.  Nicholas, a neighbor who has come from America, shows up on the beach and he and Skye become best friends.

1939 in England: Skye has become an expert flyer and teacher.  Though she wanted to help in the war effort, she was forbidden to fly until she was able to get a job flying planes from the factories to bases in the United Kingdom.  She is estranged from her sister who lives in Paris.

1947 in Paris: Skye is trying to recover from the war with the love and friendship from Catherine Dior and Margaux who both worked with her in the French Resistance.  

Present Day in Australia: Kat is a Fashion conservator who was raised by her grandmother.  On a business trip to England, her grandmother asked her to check on her deserted cottage in Cornwall and Kat is amazed to find a collection of Dior gowns.  Why does her grandmother have these gowns?  The more Kat questions the more it appears that her grandmother is not the person she always thought.  The more questions that Kat gets answered, the more questions she has for her grandmother as she tries to discover the connection between her grandmother and Skye, Liberty, Nicholas, and Margaux and what happened to them after the war.

"The trouble is that women insist on wanting to do jobs which they are quite incapable of doing.  The menace is the woman who thinks she ought to be flying a high-speed bomber when she really has not the intelligence to scrub the floor properly."  (loc 752)

This is a beautiful and well-researched novel about friendship, love, and family.  It also showed how unappreciated women were as they did their best to help win the war often in dangerous situations.  All of the characters had secrets from each other that they couldn't share because of the war but they all remained friends as they went through cruel and inhumane situations.  This book will make you proud of the woman and the work they did and it will make you cry but overall it will make you appreciate their bravery.

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Start reading The Paris Secret:

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter

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  1. Love the cover and from what you've posted, I'd like to try this one. Here is my pick:

  2. Gorgeous cover, and I am intrigued by the deserted cottage in Cornwall! Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “THE LOST FOR WORDS BOOKSHOP”

  3. Love the cover, and even though I don't like historical fiction or war themed books, this does sound interesting.

  4. I love the sound of this one and it's a beautiful cover too.

  5. pretty cover. glad you enjoyed it. i love when an author does their research
    sherry @ fundinmental