Cover Image: The Paris Daughter

The Paris Daughter

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Member Reviews

Thanks to NetGalley for providing a free e-reader copy of The Paris Daughter by Kristin Harmel in exchange for an honest review.

Many of Kristin Harmel’s novels have their roots in WWII and The Paris Daughter does, too. Where it differs is that in addition to exploring war and its impact on ordinary people, the novel also delves into themes such as the expansive meaning of family, identity, the centrality of art in our lives and its relationship to politics, varying responses to trauma and what makes a “good parent.” Although I figured out the big reveal about halfway through the book, that did not impact my enjoyment of this propulsive novel and its race to the end. I finished about 3/4 of it in one day, much of it in one sitting, and only waited to conclude because it was 1 AM and I needed sleep! Five stars, and I’ll be heading to Harmel’s back catalog for more.

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This is the heartbreaking story of two American women, Elise and Juliette, living in Paris who become close friends during WWII. Their daughters grow up almost as sisters. When one of them has to make the ultimate sacrifice to save herself and her daughter, the other women steps in to fill the void. Each woman makes sacrifices for their family and suffers incredible losses. We follow these women until them meet again 18 years later. That's when we learn a secret that no one expected! I really enjoyed this story. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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The story had great characters and an overall good storyline but I really struggled to get past how highly unrealistic it was at times. I found myself literally rolling my eyes a few times. This one just didn’t hit the mark for me.

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Kristin Harmel did not disappoint with this book! I cried, I laughed, and I fell in love with the characters almost immediately. One of my favorite historical fiction books!

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A masterfully crafted tale woven with intriguing historical detail, Harmel delivers another character driven plot that will captivate her readers. The author explores the heartache and lasting effects of war, getting to the heart of humanity. She delves into the different reactions and motivations of her characters, their poignant sense of loss, along with their resilience and hope.

The story focuses on two young mothers and their families at the beginning of WWII. When put in a difficult situation, one mother is forced to leave her child, entrusting her into the care of her friend. When the war is over, she finds that her friend and daughter have disappeared. Her search for answers takes her on a long journey of discovery. While I anticipated the twist at the end, it in no way took away from the enjoyment of the story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher through Netgalley and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Two young mothers meet in Paris: Elise, mother of Mathilde and Juliette, mother of Lucie and two older sons. They become fast friends as the war unfolds in France. Elis is forced to flee after her husband, a communist, is captured and killed. They are looking for Elise and her daughter so Elisa asks Juliette to watch Mathilde and keep her safe until she can return for her. Juliette's bookshop is bombed and one daughter remains, but which one? This is a story of friendship and hardship in the backdrop of war. Mostly, it is about motherhood and the lengths mothers will go to protect their children. I loved every bit of this book.

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First off, I love Kristin Harmel's work. This book was also so good. I did have my suspicions, two of which turned out to be correct. The end felt a little rushed and not realistic but other than that I did love the book! I would recommend.

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I'm almost exclusively a romance reader these days - but I make an exception for Kristin Harmel. This woman can do no wrong. Her stories manage to be highly emotional while also being hopeful and even educational. This one was no exception.

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If you’ve read reviews on our site before, you know I am a huge World War II historical fiction buff. I love all different stories that give me an idea of what people went through back then. Kristen Harmel is known for her amazing work and I knew I had to read this asap!

The story follows two women in Paris as the German’s invasion is beginning. I loved the friendship these two characters developed and how different their home lives were. I also really loved that a large part of this friendship centered around a bookshop! What a great place to make friends! Elise’s personality is so loving and watching her become this amazing mother was beautiful. Juliette is so dedicated to her family and her shop, I wished to be her friend too. And their friend Ruth was also a big part of this. I honestly thought the story was going to end up centering around Ruth because she was Jewish.

There were moments when reading where I thought maybe Harmel was dragging this story out a little too much. I wanted answers and felt I wasn’t getting them in a way that kept me wanting to read, but at the same time I was constantly finding moments in my day to read another page or two. It made me realize how realistic that wait must have been for those families trying to find answers or waiting for the other shoe to drop. While I wanted to know how the story wrapped up, I also kind of enjoyed seeing how these women coped with their loss and how different their grief journeys were. The truth to that aspect Harmel was able to pull out really touched me.

I’ve always been a fan of Kristin Harmel, not only because we share a name, but because she writes some of the best historical fiction novels that exist. If you haven’t read one of her books, you absolutely should. You should read them all, and maybe start with The Paris Daughter. This book speaks the truth of a mothers love and its strength even in the hardest of times.

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This was another emotionally charged book Kristin Harmel. I did not want to put the book down. I have become a huge fan of this author and yet learning about her on Friends and Fiction during the pandemic.

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I absolutely adored this book! Kristin Harmel is one of my top favorite historical-fiction authors. If she writes it, will read it. As a mother, this one particularly tugs at the heart strings. I also loved the references to The Book of Lost Names. I will definitely hand-sell this title and will tell all fans of historical fiction that it is a must-read!

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Thank you to NetGally and Simon and Schuster for an advanced copy of "The Paris Daughter" by Kristin Hamel. Ms. Hamel has been a favorite author of mine for some time. The "Paris Daughter" is a beautifully written gripping novel of the horrors of war. It delves into the past and depicts the unthinkable sacrifices two mothers must make to protect their children during the Nazi occupation of Paris.

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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
WWII Historical Fiction is my comfort genre and Kristin Harmel is by far one of my favorite authors within that genre. If you loved "Book of Lost Names" you will quickly fall for "The Paris Daughter." It is the heartbreaking story of the hard choices that mothers are forced to make to protect their children and themselves in the shadows of war. As mothers we want to protect our children at all costs, even when what is right feels so wrong. Through the eyes of two ex-pat young mother's in Occupied Paris, we journey through the heartbreaks and miracles that occur in and after war. Guaranteed to make you cry and feel deeply.

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Quick and Dirty⁣
-dual POV WWII novel ⁣
-grief/loss heavily featured⁣
-flash forward to future ⁣
-focus on mother/child bond ⁣

Thoughts⁣
I was really excited to read another one of Harmel’s books, mostly because I feel like the odd reader out. I’ve read two other books by the author and, while they were good, they didn’t blow me away. But the way everyone else raves about them I felt like I must be missing something. The Paris Daughter was kinda the same for me. I really enjoyed it and agree it’s a definite 4⭐ read, but there were some aspects that kept it from reaching the heights I was hoping for. Sure, it’s emotional AF for mothers, but I’m not one, so some of the emotional depth was lost on me. I do think the character development made up for that, as I was drawn to Elise and her grief experience at having to leave her daughter. Juliette’s character development was such a roller coaster from the reader’s perspective, swinging from relatable to vile to sympathetic. While it didn’t have the action I look for in WWII novels, it gave another eye-opening perspective on the impact of WWII on families living in occupied Paris. I did appreciate the big twist at the end and felt like it added dimension to the story that made it even more powerful. Overall, this is a wonderful read for historical fiction lovers who want heart-wrenching scenarios that make you think about what you would do in that situation.

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Wow! I absolutely LOVED this story. I am a big fan of Kristin Harmel and the way she builds her characters and the story. This one was heart wrenching. I found myself so invested I couldn’t put it down!

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This is my sixth book by the author and is my favorite WWII fiction author. Every time I think I need a break from this time period, I love that Kristin writes a very different side I haven't read much of before. The WWII time period is also only about half of the book and then it flips to modern day, NYC.

This is less historical fiction but leans more towards a character driven mystery that spans decades. I did predict the twist, however it didn't lessen my enjoyment of the story itself, which was still powerful and captivating. This story got to me with a mother's longing for her daughter/children and the sacrifices and lengths you'll go to protect your family. It's so hard to imagine the choices you would make if given similar situations in the same time period and I love that Kristin offers multiple perspectives on some of these situations.

Recommend if you enjoy
WWII fiction
Bookstore settings
France and NYC settings
Stories that bring you hope by the end!
Art galleries and the art world
Mother-daughter stories

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The themes of this book are what struck me the most: a mothers love, what people are willing to do to survive, the resilience of people. This book was heartbreaking and inspiring.

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Kristin Harmel’s latest novel has a new perspective on Paris in WW2 that sets this book apart. We know the history, yet with these characters you can see and feel the intensity of the story unfolding and recognize the real possibility of their lives, their life or death situations and subsequent decisions. Once again Harmel proves to be brilliant with words — better get the Kleenex ready!

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THE PARIS DAUGHTER by Kristin Harmel is an emotional rollercoaster that beautifully explores themes of loss, grief, and trauma. The main character, Elise's resilience in the face of trying times, will tug at your heartstrings. It's a poignant and hopeful read about a mother's love that stays with you long after the final page.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

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The Paris Daughter
In 1939 two women, Elise and Juliette, met in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. Both were pregnant at the time and became fast friends. Juliette was the mother of three who ran a bookstore with her husband. Elise was a sculptor whose husband was a well known artist. The husband’s political leanings made him an enemy of the Germans when they invaded Paris.
After Elise’s husband was arrested and killed, she was now wanted by the Germans. And decided to flee. Juliette’s family agreed to keep Elise’s daughter, Mathilde, safe in Paris until it was safe to return. Mathilde was the playmate of Juliette’s daughter Lucie, and fit right in with the family.
Then a bombing near their Paris bookstore left most of the members of Juliette’s family dead. When Elise returned to Paris after the war ended, she found the bookstore destroyed and Juliette missing. Elise was devastated and continued looking for Juliette and her surviving daughter, Lucie.
Years later a friend found Juliette remarried and living in NYC with Lucie. Elise wanted information about how Mathilde had died and eventually went to NYC to meet Juliette.
This is a story about the strength of a mother’s love for her child. The story begins before and after the German occupation of France. We are shown the emotional toil endured by survivors of the Holocaust. A small number of these survivors are in their final years but still willing to share their experiences.
I received this ARC from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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