Cover Image: The Lost Girls of Paris

The Lost Girls of Paris

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Member Reviews

This is just one of many stories of women how they had a impact on the senses behind the war,so many that during get credit for all their secret work they did for their country to end this war and to fight for freedom! The sacrifices this woman did,leave her child,her family and the secrets that had to be told to help not only her country but to keep her family safe! Wonderful story of these women ,the story will have you knowing who they are!!!  👵👵👵
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I loved every single page of this book! When first reading the synopsis, I knew this would be a loved book for years to come by so many.  What an incredible story of bravery, survival and courage these women had during WWII!
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Not too bad, but not the right book for me. The core of the plot was good but the execution fell flat. The whole thing felt bogged down by too much explanation and internal monologue. One of the three storylines wasn't even necessary.
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3.5 stars

This was a great historical fiction novel set between 1944-1946. Set in London, Paris, and New York with 3 different perspectives that become intertwined throughout the book. 

My favorite storyline to read was Marie's. I felt hers had the most interesting and intriguing plot that I kept wanting to come back to. Eleanor's role was important in the sense of how she pulled the story together in the end and was the one to connect the girls together throughout the book as well. I found Grace's story the least interesting. Though without her narrator type dialogue of the Girls there would be no story so I believe a her part was still essential to the plot. 

Overall it was a good historical fiction novel and was a quick enjoyable read.
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I was excited to receive this advance reader copy from NetGalley, particularly due to the amount of positive buzz this book has already generated. World War ll historical fiction is extremely popular right now, and female protagonists seem to be leading the way.

The Lost Girls of Paris, features three female leads with ties to the war. The story begins with Grace Healey discovering a valise abandoned in Grand Central Station. Her actions are questionable and odd. She opens the case, rifles through the contents, and removes an envelope containing photographs. These photographs lead to the  core of the story, identifying the girls pictured and solving the mystery of their circumstances. Grace,  a war widow, finds herself working with her deceased husband's college friend to track down information on a secret British  SOE training program.

Eleanor Trigg led the program, after being chosen by her boss to coordinate recruiting young women to train as spies toward the end of the war. These operatives will be used in France to counter the German occupation. We come to know these girls during their training and subsequent deployment. Featured is Marie, who was recruited mainly for her fluency in French. She is mother to a small daughter, with whom she can be reunited at the end of the war, providing her motivation to serve in this capacity.

The story moves along quickly, bouncing between Grace and her investigation and the training and intrigue the girls in the photographs experience. In the field, Marie meets a fellow operative and falls in love, while in the current time frame Grace is exploring a relationship with her new beau., while uncovering the stories of the "lost" girls of Paris. 

Overall there were several coincidences that were a stretch to believe, as well as the unnecessary introduction of love interests. The story told by Pam Jenoff is entertaining and does serve to introduce a group of WWII heroes that might not have otherwise received widespread recognition. A narrative nonfiction telling of the daring efforts of these young women would have served them all so well. 

I think NetGalley for the advance reader copy, and share my unbiased review in return.
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Based on real people, The Lost Girls of Paris details the lives of three women between 1943 and 1946.  Historical fiction, mystery, and light romance - I was intrigued from the start and read the fast paced book quickly.  

Eleanor is a smart, feisty British woman with a can-do attitude. She cares for the women she trains, but is not the type to show feelings. Marie is recruited as a secret agent because of her French language skills. Initially ill-suited to war duties, she grows in both skills and courage.  Grace’s story is not quite as compelling as the others. A war widow, now living in New York City, Grace stumbles into both mystery and romance. Too many circumstances line up to help her learn the mystery of the Lost Girls of Paris.

Currently WWII historical novels are being published by the tankful. Jenoff does an excellent job of including enough details to express horror at Nazi atrocities, but never becomes overly graphic. The story covers an area I hadn’t heard of before, Britain’s SOE Special Operations Executive. The book brings up a moral dilemma about sacrificing a few to save the many. Discussion questions for book groups are also included. 

I’m grateful to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC of this book for an honest review.
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The Lost Girls of Paris opens in 1946 as Grace Healy is trying to force some sort of semblance in her life after losing her husband during the war. While passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work she passes an abandoned suitcase and is unable to resist her curiosity. Her interest is immediately piqued when she discovers the photos of 12 girls. She does some digging and learns the photographers belong to Eleanor Trig, former leader of women agents who were part of the Secret Operations Unit (SOE). As she sets off on a journey to learn more about these women, she learns the truth about Eleanor, who helped train and protect the agents. She also discovers more about the war and the role the girls played in it, while feeling a fondness to Marie, an agent in the It's no secret that I am a sucker for historical fiction, especially if it revolves around WWII. This book was captivating from the very beginning. Told in dual timelines with three alternating perspectives, the story moves seamlessly and if you're like me, you'll find yourself rooting for each character! The writing by the author is incredible, the characters were well developed, and I really enjoyed the dual timelines to help the story unfold. I even found myself doing some googling on the 12 girls from SOE after I finished the book. Truly fascinating! If you liked The Alice Network, be sure to pick this one up!
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Very well written book. All the characters connecting over different times was well done. I really liked learning more about women spies during WW2. I wish there was more time for Marie and Julian though as they were my favorite part of the story. I loved reading a story with strong female leads.
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I really liked the historical part of the book. I didn't realize that there were female radio operators sent into France as spies. The book is written about three different women, Grace who finds the pictures of the "lost girls" after the war and starts investigating who they were and what happened to them. Eleanor was the recruiter of the girls and tried to find out who betrayed them during the war and Marie was one of the girls who survived. Very remarkable story and well written.
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The Lost Girls of Paris is yet another example of why I get so frustrated with WWII Fiction. Not only are a disproportionate percentage of Historical Fiction novels focused on WWII, they also tend to flounder along the same generic plots and shoddy research. Yet people weep and laud over them because they confuse the tragedy of real life events with the cheap specters that so many of these fictional stories create. Just because something is based on real-life tragedy does not make up for shoddy writing!!!

The best thing I can say about The Lost Girls of Paris is that it wasn’t nearly as ATROCIOUS as the Nightingale. I know most people thought that book was some special, poignant deity, but it was sloppily written, clichéd, and offensive to the real people who lived through those events. But I’m not here to review that travesty. I mention it, because I truly thought that The Lost Girls of Paris would have some redeeming factors to rinse away the bad taste. I haven’t read any of Jenoff’s other works, but she has good reviews. And I thought that her education in History would herald a well-researched and immersive story.

Sadly, it did not.

The Lost Girls of Paris follows the POV of three different women. Two at the end of World War II and the other in 1946. Eleanor Trigg is the leader of a ring of female operators working as radio opperators in occupied France. Marie is one of Eleanor’s recruits. Grace is a random civilian in 1946 who comes across some photos of the operatives and decides to figure out who they are. 

Grace’s storyline was by far the weakest part of this book. First of all, her involvement in the plot was farfetched and almost nonsensical. Secondly, Grace’s character was bland and boring. I probably sighed every time I turned a page and discovered that the next chapter was about her. Third, her story features a ridiculous amount of coincidences. Forth, her storyline spoils events for the other two POV. The overall story would have been more compelling and suspenseful if Grace had not existed at all.

The story is based on real events. Eleanor Trigg is clearly Vera Atkins. Marie doesn’t seem to be based entirely on one person, but the events of the WWII are grounded in fact. If you are familiar with the fate of F Section, then this story won’t be much of a surprise to you. Without going into spoilers, I know there are different theories about what happened, but based on the nonfiction I’ve read, I disagree with Jenoff’s interpretation of events.

I’ve already mentioned that Grace a boring and tedious character. But none of the other characters were particularly compelling. Eleanor was stiff. Marie was foolish and inept. She seems even more incompetent compared to real life heroes such as Noor Inayat Khan. 

Despite all of that, at first I thought I might be able to give this book three stars. Then I got to the last quarter of the book. Although the earlier parts of the book had their share of obnoxiously convenient coincidences, in the last part of the story, the deus ex machina ramped up to positively absurd levels until it was hitting you almost non-stop. Actually, I’m not sure deus ex machina is an accurate label since that is traditionally one big event that conveniently ties everything up. Whereas the entire plot of The Lost Girls of Paris is utterly dependent upon a countless series of unbelievable coincidences. A few might be forgiven. But this story had almost farcical levels of cop-outs. Without getting into specific spoilers, there are THREE different instances of various prisoners hiding objects on or in their persons despite held captive for extended time periods and being tortured. Even more frustrating is the way people blurt out information. Whether it’s extremely personal information or top secret government data, there is no way that everyone these women talked would feel so compelled to share that much information. A lot of this information was classified for decades after the war. They sure as hell weren’t passing it out to random civilians who wandered in off the street! That is the exact opposite of the mentality spanning WWII and the Cold War.

Also, the romances in this book were soooo corny and predictable.

And if you’re looking for some female empowerment, this definitely isn’t the right book for that! Grace and Marie were both idiots. This isn’t a story that does justice to the real life tragedies. 

Overall, the story felt rushed and sloppy. I never would have guessed that this was written by someone with the author’s credentials and experience. The characters were bland and annoying. The writing used too many cheap tricks and was anachronistic. And it definitely did no justice to the real-life story and people that it borrowed from. This was extremely disappointing.
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It’s 1946 and Grace is walking through Grand Central Station in New York City when she comes across an abandoned suitcase filled with a seemingly random assortment of items, including a stack of photographs – each of a different woman. She soon discovers that the suitcase belonged to Eleanor Trigg, the leader of a group of women who were deployed to Paris during WWII as secret agents. The women in the photographs had never returned home, and Grace is determined to find out what happened to them.

What an absolutely striking cover! The Lost Girls of Paris is told in three alternating viewpoints, following Grace, Eleanor and Marie – one of the secret agents. The narrative between Eleanor and Marie unfolds closer to each other, and it was interesting to read from both women’s vantage points on what they were experiencing during the war while Grace’s narrative plays out as through the eyes of the reader. It’s through this, Grace’s curiosity and persistence to solve the mystery about Eleanor and the photographs, that we follow along this journey to find out the true story and ultimate fate of the women. While the timelines of each of the POVs are not too far apart from each other, it’s incredible to see just how different the state of the world was within a matter of years during World War II.

The women in this novel, including the women outside of the three narrators, are individually so strong-willed. When each are confronted with different challenges, in some cases life-threatening, they face it head-on with determination and persistence, despite their fears. I loved the conviction they had, regardless if it was looking for answers, fighting for her cause or even putting their life on the line within enemy lines.

For the most part, the story moved along quite nicely, however I felt the romantic interactions with the men in the book seemed abrupt and rushed. For me, especially with one of the couples in particular, the “feelings” seemed to come relatively out of nowhere. Sure, it added an extra layer of tension and drama but, in all honesty, I personally didn’t really see those moments as being entirely necessary.

There are numerous books that are set in 1940s Paris, but what I enjoy reading about this time period is the women’s involvement during the war. Another recent book that comes to mind that I really liked was The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel. Among many others, where both these specific stories may be fictional, there’s a basis of truth to the war efforts of women, looking to do their part in those tumultuous times.

★ ★ ★ ☆ (3.5 /5 stars)
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I love good historical fiction and I love strong women leads.  So I started this book looking for stories, long ignored, of women who made a difference during the war.  Like all good historical fiction, this one made me stop reading occasionally to research on my own.  Unlike great historical fiction, this book was lacking in the real impact made by these women.  As an emotional look at the lives of these women, it succeeded.  As a story that revealed the true importance and intricacy of the hard work these women did, it was less successful.  Something in the balance was a little off for me.  It was a good book.  It could have been great.
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Jenoff is usually one of my favorite historical fiction authors.  While the story was intriguing,  I felt the novel needed some editing, there were places that I felt slowed down.  At a time where historical fiction focusing on women is becoming very popular and particularly women spies I felt this book was maybe a rush after the success of the Alice Network (which was wonderful).
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My review took so long because the formatting of this Kindle book was so atrocious that I had to wait for the book to be published and get a hard copy from the library. I wish netgalley would stop circulating those badly formatted books - the only advice they gave me was to read the book on my computer, which I refused to do. But I finally got my library copy of "The Lost Girls of Paris" and can report on it now. Better late than never!

I have been meaning to read a book by Pam Jenoff for quite some time now, and I'm glad that I finally did. "The Lost Girls of Paris" is about the female agents of SOE during WWII. A twisty espionage thriller, I was caught up in the three intertwining stories. Eleanor heads the SOE and at the end of WWII desperately wants to find out what happened to her missing agents. Marie was deployed to France during WWII where she worked with the French Resistance prior to the Normandy Invasion. And in 1946 NYC, Grace stumbles upon photographs of twelve missing female SOE agents and she tries to unravel the mystery. I will definitely read other Jenoff books.
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This book is about admirable women, courageous women who played an active and important role during WWII. I adored these characters, become very invested in their welfare, wanted them to succeed where the men had failed. Once I started reading and became invested in these wonderful characters and the suspenseful plot, I simply had to  keep on reading...  I've been really digging historical fiction lately and this did not disappoint. This book is being compared to Lilac Girls and The Alice Network but this one comes very close to Nightingale. I had never read this author before but I know she's written another popular historical fiction book. This is a super fast read compared to most others in this genre. The first half read a lot faster than the second but overall it was a very good read.
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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  fictional 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  unrecognized or underrated.
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Jenoff deftly interweaves the stories of three women during World War II. Moving from the the streets of New York City to the highlands of Scotland to the outskirts of Paris and beyond, we learn about a young war widow trying to make a new life for herself, a young single mother trying to provide for her daughter and survive the horrors of war, and an middle age woman fighting for her country in the best way she knows how. 

This story is based, very loosely, on a real branch of the British SOE and some basic true facts. The characters are, of course, fictional and the story is embellished to make it more entertaining and to fill in the gaps where the truth still isn't known. A small group of British women were handpicked to infiltrate France to work with the French Resistance. They mostly operated radios and assisted with communication, but in wartime you do what must be done and they were never safe. They had no official status, so there was no official accounting for them after the war and they were not considered POWs. How many did the Germans discover? How many did they kill? No one actually knows.

While I did not find this book so compelling that I lost sleep to finish it, I did enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. The characters felt real and the more technical explanations of the actual spycraft (radios and such) was fascinating. There are more powerful WWII books out there (The Nightingale by Hannah and All The Light We Cannot See by Doerr come immediately to mind), but this one certainly deserves a place on the shelf. It brings a different angle to the experience, especially through the character of Grace in 1946 New York, who discovers the story of the Lost Girls of the SOE and works to bring it to light.

Disclaimer: I received a free ebook copy of this book from in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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I love the premise of this book, especially since it's based on true events but I struggled with the execution of it. Told in alternating perspectives and times, we first meet Grace when she discovers an abandoned suitcase that we later learn belongs to Eleanor who was in charge of 12 female secret agents out of London during WWII. One of those agents was Marie, whose storyline we alternates with Grace's. I had a hard time keeping the minute details of each straight and found that I was much more invested in Marie's story and felt disappointed when the story switched to Grace. I appreciate the level of research and detail the author put into the story and I definitely kept reading to find out about Marie but I would've preferred not to have dual perspectives
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How far would you go to find a stranger to return some photos?  Grace finds an abandoned suitcase on her way to work.  She opens the case and discovers a dozen photographs. Later in her search for the owner, she discovers that the owner was killed in a traffic accident.  But curiosity still leads her to find out more about the woman.  The suitcase belonged to Eleanor Trigg, leader of a ring of female spies deployed out of London during the war.  These women had been sent into Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home.  Grace is determined to find out what happened to these women.  This book is based upon true events and lets you explore a how women impacted the outcome of the war.
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Just getting to this book and enjoying it very much, good piece of fiction depicting WWII history.  I have not quite finished the book, but I have 2  episodes that I am questioning, and perhaps they have been corrected in the final publication of the book.  The first is in the year 1946 when Grace is sitting at a drop in  restaurant and hears about the death of Elenore Trigg on a tv that is playing at the restaurant.  Was tv that prolific in 1946.  Later in the book , again in 1946, Grace is commenting on the Willard Hotel and its emblems for the 50 States, there were only 48 in 1946.  A good book still, but jarring to have the history wrond
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