Cover Image: The Paris Daughter

The Paris Daughter

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

The Paris Daughter by Kristin Harmel is one of my favorite reads this year, the story is heart wrenching, thought-provoking, and beautiful. This is my third book by Kristin Harmel and I'm pretty sure my favorite, this is one I'll be thinking about for a while. It is the story of Elise and Juliette, two Americans married to French men and living in Paris. The two, both pregnant, become best friends almost immediately after they meet and a couple of years later Elise entrusts Juliette with precious baby girl, Mathilde, when she has to flee Paris during the war. Once the war is over and Elise is able to return to Paris, Juliette and her family, including Mathilde, are missing. The story is powerful, full of hope, and one I don't think any fan of historical fiction should pass by, this is a definite read! I can't wait to choose this for my upcoming book club selection, I think the ensuing conversation will be incredibly engaging.

Was this review helpful?

Two young mothers, Elise and Juliette, become friends the day they met in a Paris Park shortly before WWII. Little did they know their bonds of friendship would grow stronger until one mother has to make the greatest sacrifice a mother can make, give up her only child to keep her safe. The other mother accepts the child into the folds of her family, putting her own family at risk. Each mother facing her own fear, sacrifice and love. “I think,” he said slowly, “that sometimes, the roads we don’t know we’re walking are the ones that lead us to exactly where we’re meant to be.”

Was this review helpful?

The stories of young couples falling in love, getting married and raising children are the themes of many books. There is much to explore, discuss and learn in the stories of these human interactions and relationships.
But when world-changing historic events interrupt ordinary day-to-day routines, what happens to people’s relationships, to their individual hopes and dreams?

In The Paris Daughter, Kristin Harmel again displays her talent and drive in telling the stories of ordinary people living in historic times. Kristin not only does the research but she also understands her research with meaningful perspective. I believe this explains why the historical background in her books is so complete and impactful. And Kristin adds, in my opinion, a very important ingredient to the recipe for writing great historical fiction: empathy for the people she interviews and for those she writes about.

While Kristin is researching what people went through and interviewing people with actual life experiences of the times, she seems to be asking herself: “What must it be like to live as these people did, with fears of an unpredictable future ?” Kristin’s empathy and talent produce characters whose voices are so realistic that those who have lived through those times recognize themselves or people they knew in the characters of her books.

So how can we learn what it was like to live in Paris at the beginning of and through World War II? What was it like to not be certain of the well-being of a loved one during the war? What was it like to search for people and for answers following World War II?

Reading or listening to The Paris Daughter will help you answer these questions because Kristin’s characters and their stories bring the reader along with them on their journeys. I highly recommend this book!!!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Available for sale in stores now in both print and audio versions.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who enjoy historical fiction will love this story! Two mothers have to make difficult decisions in this WWII story set in Paris. Based on true events, readers will become immersed in the lives of the characters as their thoughts and voices are shared. Highly recommended!

Was this review helpful?

Thanks, NetGalley,

Chef's Kiss, Kristin Harmel, for how you effortlessly take multiple historical events decades apart and weave in a story that is epic and beautiful and left me amazed. I don't need to say more.

Paris, 1939: Young mothers Elise and Juliette become fast friends the day they meet in the beautiful Bois de Boulogne. Though there is a shadow of war creeping across Europe.

When Elise becomes a target of the German occupation, she entrusts Juliette with the most precious thing in her life—her young daughter, playmate to Juliette’s own little girl. But nowhere is safe in war, not even a quiet little bookshop like Juliette’s Librairie des Rêves, and, when a bomb falls on their neighborhood, Juliette’s world is destroyed along with it.

Elise returns to reunite with her daughter, only to find her friend’s bookstore reduced to rubble—and Juliette nowhere to be found. Juliette has seemingly vanished without a trace, taking all the answers with her.

Was this review helpful?

Not a lot of historical fiction novels provide as much history and factual background while jerking on the readers emotional heartstrings with such a strong pull. Once you start, you won’t want to leave these amazing characters.

Was this review helpful?

Kristin Harmel writes breathtaking historical fiction. This book is no different. If you're looking for a WWII story, look no further! Thank you for the opportunity to read and review!!

Was this review helpful?

Harmel does it again and she does it best! We begin our novel pre-WWII in Paris with a pair of pregnant women who strike up a friendship and begin to raise their children together. Elise’s husband is captured and murdered by the Nazis for speaking out against them, and she makes the heart wrenching decision to try to save her daughter-she entrusts Juliette to care for her child.

Tragedy struck , and twenty years later the women are putting their lives back together on two separate continents. How will their stories lead back to another? How will they put their lives back together?

Was this review helpful?

Wow, a beautifully crafted piece of Historical Fiction! This is a story about love, deception, betrayal, and heartbreak. A mother's love and mother daughter relationships. It crosses continents, families, and generations, and will take you through the full range of the emotions from sadness, disbelief, anger, anger, and joy. This book is well researched, the historical events accurate and fascinating. It completely captivated me and I couldn't put it down! The ending will take your breath away. "Under these stars, fate will guide you home." Amazing!

Was this review helpful?

I’ve never met a Harmel novel I didn’t like! The Paris Daughter is a very emotional and heartfelt story of the love of mothers and how that love looks in the face of war and unbelievably difficult circumstances.

I loved that Harmel took us back to a beloved town we spent time in while reading The Book of Lost Names. It was a gift to return and remember the feelings I had when engaged in that beautiful story. I also found moments of this one getting to my heart more than any of her other stories. I’m sure it will do the same to any mother, it was hard not to feel all the raw emotions of all the mothers and their children.

There is a twist that some might find surprising but I suspected it as soon as the situation was presented. I don’t think it took away from the story but it did remove a moment of shock from my personal experience.

It was a really good story and on par with every book I’ve read from Harmel! I did also try out the audio via scribd but the narration didn’t work for me so I stuck with the digital version.

Thank you Gallery books for the arc in exchange for an honest review!

Was this review helpful?

Not a lot of books can make me cry and this one did couple of times. Durring any conflict people don't separete into friends and enemies but good and bad. This is a story about 3 mothers trying to save their family all of them making 3 very hard decitions. One leaves a child flwith a friend, one sends children to safer zone and last one staying with their children. Author exposes all posibility and none of them are right or wrong. In those situations you dont do what right or wrong is in future but you do what you have for survival. This books exposes a life after war trauma as a refugee. I would know this I am a child of modern war.

Was this review helpful?

Wow- this was an absolutely incredible book! While I can't say it was the beach read I normally pick up this time of year, I was quickly captivated by this tender and complex historical fiction read. I've read several WWII novels in the past, and I can easily say this was my favorite. This story follows the lives of two friends whose stories are brought together, torn apart, and ultimately brought back together again through a tragic, yet heartwarming story.

While I did see the "twist" coming, I found myself picking up the pace to see if my assumption was correct. The author exceeded my expectations with the ending- it was a surprising, yet beautiful end to an amazing story. This one should most definitely be on your list!

Was this review helpful?

Excellent! "The Paris Daughter" by Kristin Harmel was a moving, compelling, interesting story of two mothers during WWII, and the lengths they will go to protect their children. Infused with strong depiction of trauma, loss, forgiveness, resolution as well as friendship, art and ghosts- this novel was wonderful. Thank you NetGalley, the author and publisher for the review copy. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Every time I think Kristin Harmel can’t possibly top her last book, she proves me wrong and she has done it yet again with her latest WWII historical fiction novel, The Paris Daughter.

The story follows Juliette and Elise, two American women who are living on the outskirts of Paris in the late 1930s. Elise and Juliette are both pregnant at the same time, and when they meet, they immediately bond as expectant mothers and become great friends, each woman giving birth to a little girl. Juliette and her husband own a quiet but popular bookshop, while Elise is a sculptor and her husband is a famous painter. While they know war is lurking just beyond their country’s borders, neither Elise nor Juliette can fathom that their lives will soon be irrevocably changed, until the unthinkable happens and the Germans invade. When the Germans suspect that Elise’s husband is part of the French resistance, Elise knows she must flee or be captured as well and she leaves her young daughter in Juliette’s care, thinking she’ll be safer there than on the run with her. After Elise flees, however, tragedy strikes the little bookshop and when Elise finally returns at the end of the war, all she returns to find is a pile of rubble.

The Paris Daughter is told in alternating chapters from the viewpoints of each mother. We follow them both through the war, get inside their heads as they both have to make seemingly impossible choices, and how they find a way to move forward after unfathomable loss. Both of their journeys are often heartbreaking, but I admired the strength and resilience each displayed. As a mom myself, I kept trying to put myself in their shoes and wondered if I would have the strength to make the hard choices they made.

The Paris Daughter is of course a well researched WWII historical fiction novel, but at its heart, it’s also a beautifully written, heartwrenching yet inspirational story about love and friendship, resilience and strength, and ultimately about the lengths a mother will go to in order to protect her children. This is the fifth novel of Kristin Harmel’s I’ve read and it might be my favorite yet, although I also very highly recommend The Book of Lost Names and The Forest of Vanishing Stars.

Was this review helpful?

I always think there couldn't possibly be another take on a WWII novel, and then Kristin Harmel comes through for me.... every time. This story was so enjoyable. It was heart wrenching as you would expect from a novel in this time period, but I really enjoyed the different routes these characters took during the war and that a lot of the story took place after the war. This was a food 4 star read.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to the publisher for the gifted e-copy.

Kristin Harmel did it again. She wrote a historical fiction that completely destroyed me, then put all the pieces back together. I seriously cried through the middle of the book, which hasn't happened in a long time.

Elise and Juliette meet in Paris before the war, and bond over their pregnancies and then their baby girls. When the war starts, Elise leaves her daughter in Juliette's care as she has to go into hiding for a while. After the war, Elise returns for her daughter, but only finds the destroyed remains of Juliette's bookshop.

The chapters alternate between Elise and Juliette, delineating their respective lives after the war and how they handle things very differently. The "twist" is pretty predictable, but still gave me chills at the end when everything is revealed.

HF fans will love this one, I think!

Was this review helpful?

Kristin Harmel always manages to find interesting pockets of World War II history to tackle in her novels. This story is focused on two women in France during the war. Elise is forced to flee after her husband is killed by the Germans, so she leaves her daughter in the care of her friend Juliette. After the war, Elise returns only to discover that Juliette's home was bombed and her daughter was killed. What happened? Elise sets out on a quest to find Juliette and some answers.

I really liked the first half of this book. As always, Harmel writes with great detail and research, and the story was completely intriguing. But in the second half of the book, I struggled. I think there is supposed to be a "twist" in this story, but I found the twist to be very predictable. So I wonder if it is even supposed to be a twist at all? But it is written in a way that seems like it should surprise the reader, yet I was not at all surprised. So I found myself frustrated through the second half as it leads up to this reveal, because I already knew what the reveal would be and that took away from the suspense.

Also, there is an event that happens at the end of this book, which is a real event that happened in real life. However, the fact that it happened in the same place where the characters in this book were also located at the time was just completely far-fetched! I could not get on board with the dramatic way this story wrapped up, and that soured the end of the book for me.

So for me, this one was a great start and not my favorite ending. However based on other reviews, many others loved it and I think it is still worth a read for an engaging historical fiction novel!

Was this review helpful?

Another phenomenal book by Kristin Harmel. A must- read for fans of Historical Fiction books set in WWII. Set in Paris and NY (17 years later) the story involves two young moms who become the dearest of friends until tragic events year their worlds apart. Heartbreaking but filled with such courage to keep moving forward while enduring such sorrow.

Was this review helpful?