Cover Image: The Lost Girls of Paris

The Lost Girls of Paris

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Member Reviews

I really liked The Lost Girls of Paris. There have been several novels recently about the French Resistance during World War II and the Brits who worked with them. I have all liked them for different reasons but one of the things I liked the best about this one is the fact that the story is told by three different women in two different times that converge at the end. It is like a mix of a mystery and a war story.

While this is a fictitious story it have made me want to find out more about the women of the SOE that none of the other ones have done. This is the second novel of Pam Jenoff's that I have but it has just reinforced my desire to read the rest of the books she has out there. I would recommend this one to any reader. It is not really for just one type of reader.

So give this one a look and enjoy the different, yet similarly strong women (Eleanor, Marie, and Grace).
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Late to work, Grace is making a mad dash to catch a bus.  Due to a fatal car accident, she ends up going into Grand Central Station.  There she notices an unattended suitcase.  Curiosity gets the better of her and she opens it.  Inside are the photos of 12 women.  For reasons she can't explain, she takes them.  So starts this story of Grace's attempt to discover who these women are.  A story that will takes us back in time 2 years.  A story about the young women of the British SOE, who volunteered to be snuck into German occupied France to be part of the war resisance.

I have read a few other historical fiction movels regarding young British women who volunteered to fight the war.  I've often wondered where such bravery came from.  To know that you are taking on a task that could end in something horrible - capture, torture and death.  These plans where implemented because no one thought women would ever be allowed to participate in battle in any matter.  It was hard to read that some missions were deemed "unsuccessful" because they were staffed with women.  And yet this story shows the true nature of these women.  Their dedication and unwavering belief in the jobs they where given.

The author has given us three strong female characters.  Women who have to work hard to believe in themselves and their abilities.  Womean who will not give up until they have achieved their goals.  It does not end well for everyone.  But for a story based during World War II, that is not to be unexpected.  In all, this is a story about commitment, love, friendship and honor.

My thanks to Harlequin Publishing and Netgalley.
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The Lost Girls of Paris was another satisfying and compelling work of WW2 historical fiction, by fan fave, Pam Jenoff. This book was highly anticipated after raising the roof with her earlier books, The Kommandant’s Girl and last year’s The Orphan’s Tale. She’s got a slew of others, I just haven’t read them all, yet.

Right now, there’s a trend in historical fiction to find little known stories about women, who played crucial roles in the war efforts both in the United States and Europe. These women train and serve as gunners, pilots, spies and special op agents. I’m loving this trend for many reasons. First, women are often represented equal to men, or close to it – 80 years ago. Second, the reader is learning about heroic women whose stories would’ve otherwise gone untold. Yes, I am aware that these stories are based on real people with a fictionalized story around them, however it still teaches me so much and gets me Googling.

This book reads quite quickly as Jenoff is spot-on in creating well-paced storylines. The tension is felt and she creates characters with distinctive nuances. Three women share the spotlight in this story. All of them played important roles albeit quite differently – one searches for answers, one feels the need to prove herself and one puts her life on the line to give her daughter a better life.

The twelve women sent as SOE spies in occupied Europe spent a lot of time training together. Through them, we see the value, commitment and importance of friendship. Their leader, a rigid woman, finds herself caring for these women as ‘hers’. As they become ‘lost’, her guilt and sense of betrayal is immense. As far as the romantic pairings are concerned, for me, they weren’t necessary. The felt a bit forced but fortunately, didn’t upset the flow or overall plot at all.

This book is told in different time periods, which is quite common these days. What made this one stand out for me is that the time difference only spanned three years. This gave a sense of urgency to the plot with the possibility and hope that the characters would maybe catch up to one another.

After reading this book, I was reminded of a recent trip to an antique store where I found a huge bin of old snapshots. Inside, I found miscellaneous family photos, school pics and wedding portraits. I left there thinking how odd it was that each image holds a story and somehow ended up in a crate in Austin, TX. Maybe if I were like the character in this book, I’d have plucked a photo and searched their story out.

Overall, this is an enjoyable read that should definitely be added to your TBR list.
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As the role of women in World War II becomes more celebrated in history, The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff is a welcome addition to the historical fiction canon. Told from multiple perspectives both during and after the war, this novel is perfect for fans of The Alice Network and the Lilac Girls. Me off captures the harrowing atmosphere of a war zone as well as the lasting effects of the conflict in Europe, both personally and politically. I found myself invested in the characters and eager to resolve the mystery tying the three main characters together through the narrative. If I had to make one critique, it would be that the ending, though resolving many of the questions I had, was a bit abrupt. I would highly recommend this novel to my friends and patrons.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the free advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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A great read told through the voice of three different women telling the same story.  I enjoyed the ambitious chase of Grace trying to unravel the story of 12 pictures of women she found at Grand central station a few months after the end of WWII.  I rooted for Marie telling her story of recruitment and deployment as a radio operator in German occupied Paris.  I sympathized with Eleanor as she tried the best she could to keep "her girls" safe.
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My favorite era of historical fiction is the time before, during and after WWII. Perhaps because my parents were young adults and came of age in this time, my father serving in the Navy, my mom worked in a shipyard. They always shared that it was a time of great sadness, and yet great patriotism, followed by a sense of resurgence and life. Pam Jenoff is an author that I can rely on to share stories that need telling, stories that were more behind the scenes during the war. The Lost Girls of Paris does not disappoint.

Grace is the honest and struggling main character of the post war storyline. Widowed and yet working hard to carry on, she is intrigued by the lost suitcase and the photos she found inside. There is an innocence about her taking the photos, a sense of doing the right thing, wanting to somehow dig deeper into Eleanor Trigg and what her goals were.

Grace has to dig deep and ask for many favors as she finds answers. I believe much of the things going on behind the scenes both in the US and in Europe were unknown to most people. Grace is amazed at the finings. Jenoff also tells us the story of Eleanor, Marie and many others. This story line is during the war and tells of heroics by extraordinary women, and men, who were behind the enemy lines, working as spies and trying to stop the Germans in their pursuit to take over all of Europe. These stories are amazing, and while fictionalized, based on fact.

This book has won its way to the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list, and into the homes and hearts of many readers. I can’t say enough good things about it. It was my first 5 star read of 2019, and I won’t be forgetting these characters soon. Thank you again to Park Row books for a copy of this book.
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Another great novel by Pam Jenoff. This novel, based on true events, tells the story of three women during and just after WWII. Truly enjoyed this novel, as I'm a fan of historical fiction, but I also think that anyone who enjoys a good story will like this too.
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Fascinating and unforgettable, Pam Jenoff’s THE LOST GIRLS OF PARIS is a captivating tale of friendship and courage told from the points of view of three incredible women.

Jenoff begins her book in 1946 New York, where beautiful young widow Grace Healey is having a terrible day. Still wearing yesterday’s clothes and suffering from a wicked headache, she is derailed from her usual path to work by a car accident that forces her to reroute through Grand Central Terminal, a place she swore never to visit again. It is there that she finds a mysterious unattended suitcase marked with the name “Trigg” and full of women’s clothing and toiletries --- and a stack of photos of 12 women. Something about the portraits speaks to Grace, and she quickly pockets them before racing to her job, where she helps refugees from the war find care and housing.

Jumping back in time to 1943 London, we meet Eleanor Trigg, who works in Churchill’s Special Operations Executive (SOE), a covert group dedicated to sabotaging and subverting the enemy’s attempts to take over Europe. Eleanor is one of the only women in the SOE, and she is quietly respected by her boss, despite her Polish and Jewish heritage and being a woman. Desperate for a new angle in the war, the SOE tasks Eleanor with forming a group of female agents who, they hope, will be able to go undercover in small towns and villages in a way that men simply cannot.

Our final narrator is a single mother named Marie Roux, who quickly becomes one of Eleanor’s recruits in 1944 for her perfect French accent. In a riveting display of espionage, misdirection and secrecy, Marie is whisked away to begin training for radio transmissions, hoping that the money she earns will buy the future safety of her and her daughter, Tess. Although she struggles with her training, she is soon dropped in France with practically no knowledge of what awaits her, and only the tiniest bit of certainty that she is capable of the job.

Alternating back and forth between these ladies, Jenoff paints a harrowing and vivid portrait of the war and women’s roles in it --- all based on a true story. As Grace begins to investigate the mysterious portraits she found in Grand Central, she finds out that the suitcase belonged to Eleanor, and discovers more about her role in deploying women throughout Europe to help defeat the Nazis. When she learns that each of the women in the photographs never returned home, she resolves to figure out what happened to them, and why Eleanor left her suitcase in New York City. She is particularly drawn to the photo of Marie, thus combining all three women’s narratives.

Grace’s quest to uncover what happened to the eponymous lost girls is juxtaposed with Eleanor’s as she starts to wonder why so many of her female operatives are going missing. In Eleanor’s chapters, we follow along as Eleanor fights not only the prejudices of men, but also her own feelings of inadequacy as one of the only women in her field. She is not a particularly maternal figure, but her love and feelings of protectiveness for her girls will tug at your heartstrings. She is undoubtedly the backbone of the book, as her storyline spans both the founding of the female arm of the SOE and the aftermath once the 12 women have gone missing.

I will say now that while all three women were equally interesting, I, like Grace, was completely enthralled by Marie’s story. Her struggles throughout training felt so real. After all, who among us could easily leap into a role of espionage with only a perfect accent to protect us? When she is dropped into French territory, the book takes on a truly suspenseful tone, and Marie’s work feels as though it could come straight from an action movie. As the war blazes on, she begins to find some inconsistencies in the messages she is tasked with transmitting, and she is forced to reckon with the fact that someone has betrayed her and the operation. But who? Vesper, the male head of the SOE’s French arm, with whom she is working? One of the other girls in the SOE? Desperate to return to her daughter, Marie must balance the roles of spy and detective as she fights to stay safe in war-torn France. Her role as a mother adds a tender touch to her characterization, and I believe Jenoff did a remarkable job of portraying the dissonance that comes with wanting to serve one’s country while trying to protect one’s family.

As Marie’s story and Grace’s investigation rush to meet one another in the middle, Jenoff displays a masterful ability for pacing, characterization and good old-fashioned storytelling. Part historical fiction, part mystery and all girl power, THE LOST GIRLS OF PARIS is everything a reader could want from a book. Knowing that it is inspired by true events makes it all the more harrowing, and it is clear that Jenoff’s research was meticulous, thorough and fun for her. She invites us into the war with ease and an unflinching eye, even when things begin to turn sour for Eleanor and Marie. She has a true talent for setting her scenes with evocative imagery and descriptions, whether she is writing in rush-hour Grand Central or war-torn France. At the same time, her characters are real women: brave, powerful and strong. Despite my preference for Marie’s story, I can say with certainty that Jenoff balances her characters and storyline effortlessly. At no point did I feel like skipping over one woman for the next.

Beautifully written and expertly populated by complex, believable characters, THE LOST GIRLS OF PARIS is easily one of the best World War II novels I have ever read. Never before have I seen so much suspense paired with such heartfelt, powerful emotion --- especially without one overpowering or weakening the other. I will definitely be adding Pam Jenoff to my “must-buy” list of authors, and I look forward to recommending this book to many of my friends.
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A wonderful book for gaining more understanding of what British women went through as they worked for SOE and were sent to France during WWII! I really enjoyed this title by Pam Jenoff and wished it was longer!
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Based on true events, Jenoff vividly describes what happened to COE female operatives during the second world war.  We tend to think that these operatives or "spies" were larger than life, James Bond types who fearlessly served their country.  In fact, they were regular women who were trained as radio operators and in some cases, saboteurs who sabotaged bridges in order to slow down the advancing German army.

This story will have your heart in your throat as we follow an ordinary Englishwoman who is dropped into the heart of German-controlled France.  The author's use of vivid word pictures places us at her side as she tries her best to navigate through the dangerous situation she's been placed into.

Terrifying yet compelling, this is one of the must read books of 2019.
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Intriguing storyline that held much promise.  I found the execution to drag on in parts.  Overall, a pretty good read about an important time in history.
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Grace lives in New York City and the year is 1946. She is starting over as her husband, a soldier, has died in an accident.  While at Grand Central Station, she encounters a peculiar suitcase and she feels compelled to investigate further. Upon searching the suitcase, she finds interesting photos of different young women.  For some reason, she takes the photos as she is really drawn to them, but leaves the suitcase.  She comes to find that the suitcase's owner, Eleanor, has recently been killed in an accident.  The story then jumps to Eleanor during the war who works with the Britain to send female agents to France to essentially help the resistance by transiting radio intelligence.  One of their most recent "finds" is Marie, who speaks fluent French, which makes her the perfect agent.  Marie leaves her daughter behind with family and attends training, which turns out to be extremely rigorous.  Upon graduation from training, she is sent to France to get started with her top secret work.  Meanwhile back in 1946, Grace discovers more about Eleanor and what exactly happened to Marie and the other women that worked as secret agents during a very dangerous time.  The Lost Girls of Paris is a compelling historical fiction highlighting the often overlooked, but nonetheless important role that many women played in the resistance.

I was immediately drawn to the character of Grace in The Lost Girls of Paris. I felt badly for her as she is now widowed and starting over after the war.  I couldn't quite understand why she felt so drawn to the suitcase and the pictures as Jenoff really doesn't flesh that part of the story out it other than blame it on Grace's sheer curiosity, but I, along with Grace, wanted some answers as well.  The more that Grace finds out about Eleanor and Marie, the more interesting it gets although I felt the different narratives to be a bit confusing at times.

Marie's chapters in The Lost Girls of Paris were probably the most compelling parts of the novel as that's where most of the action lies.  Marie is training as an agent, which is entertaining in itself and then she's dropped, quite literally, into France to work on a mission without much explanation.  How could I not be flipping the pages?

I love wartime fiction and Jenoff does a great job capturing the time period in The Lost Girls of Paris.  I loved that she highlighted females in this novel and the often overlooked roles they had in the war, especially the female operatives in the resistance.

This novel is perfect for fans of The Alice Network and The Nightingale; however, it didn't pack quite as strong as an emotional punch for me like the other novels did.  The Lost Girls of Paris  ended up being a fun adventure that I am glad I went on, but it didn't stand out to me as one of the best historical novels of the year.  Nonetheless, if you are a wartime fiction fan, check it out this winter; you will surely be entertained.
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This loosely-based-on-history novel about female radio operators in occupied France in World War II has plenty of suspense. The story is told through several different voices, both before and immediately after the war.

The writing tended toward cliche and melodrama, and I found some of the plot to be disconnected and illogical. The characters' actions were often confusing, even given the high tension of wartime.

Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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The Lost Girls of Paris begins with in New York in 1946 with Grace.  Grace was heading into work after spending the night with a man.  She is embarrassed to be going back into work wearing the same thing she wore the day before.   On top of all that, she is running late.   She is hurrying down Madison Avenue, when she realizes that the street is blocked off.  Police cars are everywhere.  

She learns that a woman was hit by a car and killed.  

She has no choice, but to cut through Grand Central Station, the one place she swore she would never go again.  We learn that it was at Grand Central Station where she waited for her husband to come home for a short leave.  After waiting and waiting and waiting, Grace learns the news that he had died. 

She squares her shoulders and manages the strength to walk back in.  There she trips over a suitcase sticking out a little ways from a bench.  When the suitcase is still there later, she opens it and finds a woman’s belongings.  Inside an envelope, she finds a pack of photographs wrapped in lace.  All women.  Young women, some in military uniforms. 
With that, we are drawn, like Grace, into the story of the Lost Girls of Paris.  These lost girls are women who went over to France during World War II to help provide information for the Allies and to do what they could to sabotage the German army.  

We meet Eleanor who recruits the girls, and we meet Marie one of the women.  We follow them through training and then on to France for their assignments.  When Eleanor notices something disturbing in their radio transmissions, the book reads like a thriller.   

This was a wonderful story.  I didn’t know anything about these women before reading the book.  I’m astonished at their bravery.   

The pace of the book was perfect.  Developing slowly as the we get to know the characters and then rapidly changing to a swiftly moving thriller.    I loved it! 

I received and ARC of the book.
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When Grace Healey is walking through New York's Grand Central Station a year after World War II has ended, she discovers a suitcase under a bench.  Her curiosity gets the best of her and upon opening it, she discovers 12 photographs of women.  Thus, the mystery begins.
She uncovers the identity of the suitcase's owner, Eleanor Trigg, who was the leader of a group of women who became special agents for the British during the war.  Their mission was to infiltrate France and disrupt the Nazi war machine which they undertook with bravery, not knowing their eventual fate.
Through intrigue and ingenuity, I felt drawn into the women's activities and respect for their allegiance to the Allie's cause.  The unseen twist at the book's conclusion will prove that the reader didn't quite it have it figured out.  The respect commanded by these agents, based on true details, in the most harrowing of times, is apparent though the author's words.
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A tale of women who were recruited to be operatives/communication specialists during world war II in a special Brittish group called the SOE.  The tale combines the story of Marie, one of the girls picked to be an operative, Eleanor, who picked and trained the girls, and Grace, who is an American who finds evidence of the girls after the war is finished.

While I enjoyed the story, there was something that didn't quite connect me to the characters fully.  I can't say what it was, maybe it was just that these were strong, independent women so they didn't really show their emotions fully.  Overall a good read.
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I've already bought this for my library and it's on a waiting list.  I loved, loved, loved the title.  I'm not a huge fan of WWII era books, but this one changed my mind.  The characters were well-developed and ladies I'd love to know.  My readers are raving about it and I can't wait to keep recommending it!
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I really enjoyed this WWII historical fiction.   A book about, and told by three different women during this time.  Spies, love, and friendship.  I recommend this book!
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Captivating. Heart-wrenching. Emotional. 

Pam Jenoff is one of my favorite historical fiction authors and The Commandants Girl and The Diplomats Wife are books I always recommend.

In her latest title, we visit London, Scotland and France in 1943-1946. The main character is Eleanor, a secretary at the SOE (Special Operation Executive) a clandestine British intelligence agency. One thing leads to another and she is tasked with recruiting and training female operatives to spy, send radio transmissions and risk their lives for the war effort.
She is a strong female lead and she is protective of "her girls". 

Aside from the danger and intrigue that the girls go through which is heart stopping- there’s a secondary storyline (that begins a few years after Eleanor’s story begins) of a found briefcase full of pictures of women. Grace is curious about the photographs and begins a mission to find out who these women were. 

This was historical fiction based on actual events, and the author’s portrayal of Eleanor, Marie and Grace felt realistic and accurate to the period. I was completely immersed in the plot and was pleased with Grace’s decision.
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This book captivated me from the very beginning. I loved the portrayal of the fierce and resilient women that were British secret agents. The themes of betrayal, friendship, love, and tenacity were incredibly well done and gripping. I will be highly recommending this to lovers of historical fiction.
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