Cover Image: The Paris Secret

The Paris Secret

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Member Reviews

Suspense, intrigue and unputdownable. I read this cover to cover in a weekend and was wrapped up completely in the story, past and present.

A thoroughly recommended read.
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I am afraid I cannot review this book as it seems I only got a few pages of it and not the actual book.

Would have really liked to have read this book.
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I read this ARC for an honest review
All thoughts and opinions are mine

Loved this - an unusual premise, millinery but sooo  absorbing
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This is a beautifully written and poignant book . I was drawn into the immersive storyline and had read it in one sitting because I simply didn't want to put it down , 
     With a  dual time storyline split between 1939 England , where we meet Sky Penrose and modern day Australia where we meet Kat Jourdan  The two  timelines are linked together by Margaux Jourdan , Kat's French Grandmother . 
     When Margaux asks Kat ,to visit a remote cottage in Cornwall that has been uninhabited  for years ,she discovers a wardrobe full of  priceless, vintage Dior  dresses  Her grandmother never talks about the past and Kat sets out to uncover the mystery. Of how the dresses came to be in her possession. 
      Elliot Beufort is researching a book on female agents sent into France to spy on the Nazis.  He contacts Kat  about Margaux Jourdan as he is trying to trace sisters Skye and Liberty Penrose and he believes she knew them both . Margaux Jourdan was captured by the Gestapo and sent to a camp for women , he believes she can tell them what befell the missing sisters. 
     This book has everything , mystery , romance, both past and present and the fate of these brave women so evocatively told . You'll need tissues , you become so invested in the storyline you can't help but cry at some points in the novel. The descriptions of life in the camp for the women was harrowing but the author cleverly does this by giving you just enough information to set the scene without going into explicit  detail  in the form of conversations between the women . 
     I absolutely loved this book , the ending felt right for all the characters and leaves the reader feeling that love really does last a lifetime. I was sad when I had reached the end and the characters really do stay with you even after the last page has been turned.
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The Paris Secret is an immersive and compelling read, which is meticulously detailed and really well researched, an emotional story which will tug at your heart strings.  I couldn’t put it down and I was completely swept away with the story and characters.  
The writing is beautiful, the author seems to write about this era so well and she has a wonderful way with words.  There are so many beautifully written passages which I was constantly highlighting.  I enjoyed reading about the sumptuous descriptions of the Christian Dior gowns, the scenery and the way of life back then.

The story has depth and complexity and it is very cleverly executed.  It really made me think and I had no idea how it would unfold as there are so many genius twists and turns.  There is a dual timeline which is very easy to follow and takes us back and forth from modern day and World War II. I enjoyed both Kat and Skye’s timelines and it was brilliant the way the stories coalesced at the end.    

There is a wide and varied cast of amazing characters and the story certainly pays homage to the strength and dedication of women in World War II.  Skye is one of the first female ATA pilots and her courage and determination is phenomenal.  I also adored the slow burn romance between Skye and Nicholas and their special bond and connection.  

I didn’t want this book to to finish and oh my goodness the ending was so very emotional and heartbreaking.  Definitely an unforgettable read which you will not be able to put down.  A new to me author, with a writing style I enjoyed so much I immediately purchased another one of her novels.

Thank you to the publisher for an early copy to review.
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This is a compelling love story which is set in the Second World War and also present day Australia.
Sky Penrose meets Nicholas Crawford in Cornwall when they are children  but when he moves back to America 4 years later when she is 14, they lose touch. However both share a love of flying aeroplanes instilled in them by Vanessa, Sky’s mother and when they finally meet up again as pilots in the height of the war, they fall in love.
Kat is a conservator of historical fashion and lives with her two young children in Australia. Her Grandmother, Margaux Jourdan brought her up after her own mother died and the two women are very close.
However Kat knows very little about Margaux’s early  life and when an author contacts her about some war time research he is doing, Kat gradually discovers there is more to her Grandmother than she ever knew. Margaux will not talk about her past and Kat fears upsetting her by prying too much so relies on Elliot, the author to help her find out.
As well as the wartime romance there is also a present day love story involving Kat and a wonderful mystery that is waiting to be solved. I really enjoyed reading The Paris Secret and could tell that the author had done an incredible amount of research to ensure her novel was accurate. It was interesting learning about the female pilots of this time period and also the work of the SOE including Catherine Dior, Christian Dior’s sister.
The characters were beautifully drawn: I loved the feistiness of Sky and her difficult relationship with her sister, Liberty. The romance was heartbreaking as I’m sure many love stories were, when set during the uncertainty of war.
As the book was drawing to a close I raced through the pages desperate to find out who actually survived the war and how the characters were connected. I was even reading it between the courses of my takeaway meal! 
This was definitely a five star read for me and highly recommended.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for my arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. 

Its  set during World War Two, it starts in England and France and following Skye, whose one of the first female ATA pilots. 

I felt a lot of research must have gone into this story as it included fictional as well as real people, making for an excellent read. 

Some parts were sad, but so well written. 

Recommend it.
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Australian, fashion conservator Kat Jourdan makes an unexpected discovery back in her grandmother’s Cornish cottage. She finds a private collection of stunning Dior gowns, sparking many questions as to why her grandmother has them, revealing there is a lot she doesn’t know. While trying to unmask these secrets with the help of Elliot, who is also looking to solve the mystery, they are transported back to early 1940s England.

Sisters Skye and Liberty Penrose lived a remarkable life from their childhood in Cornwall, to their contribution to the British war effort. Skye proves to be a brilliant pilot and is the voice for female involvement, fighting her own battle during wartime to allow equality, while jumping up the ranks and eventually joins the Special Operations Squadron. Here, she is reconnected with childhood best friend Nicholas Crawford, who is engaged to Margaux Jourdan. The events during the war unfold and the narration follows these incredible characters, eventually explaining the connection to Kat Jourdan’s grandmother and the Dior gowns.

The Paris Secret is truly an outstanding piece of historical fiction. Lester cleverly achieves this genre in an accessible way for all readers to enjoy. I believe that if you are not a particularly avid reader of historical fiction, you will enjoy this story. Once I finished this novel I had a good think about the genre and what is the best way to categorise it. Undoubtedly, it is a piece of historical fiction, but the modern narrative provides a mystery theme. The dual storyline is easy to follow and differentiate. The narration loosely alternates from Kat Jourdan in 2012 and Skye Penrose in early 1940s. There are also a few other chapters that follow the supporting characters and this provides an unforgettable read. I was instantly captivated from the prologue. It was most atmospheric and the vivid description of the Dior fashion show left me wishing that I could attend such a spectacular event and see these perfectly described gowns in person. I really enjoyed how Lester included familiar brands and icons like Christian Dior. The luxurious atmosphere was quite unbelievable to read, the author captures the essence perfectly and allows for the secrets to commence.

The heartfelt and breath-taking story that follows the wartime narrative truly transports the reader. There is strong originality in this story and the use of historical events and figures provides a more authentic read. The description of the airfields provides an atmospheric read, along with the changing settings of England, France and Australia. It was very fascinating to read what life was like during the war and Lester allows for an approach that may not be explored as often. The story has a strong emphasis on female involvement during the war. Skye Penrose is a remarkable character. She is definitely my favourite in this story and as one of our leading protagonists, she provides a powerful story. The third person narration follows the Penrose sisters and their changing lives. Skye is truly a character that was ahead of her time and I appreciate how a modern author has incorporated such a character into a historical setting. She fights for what she believes in and her strong determination paves the way for many other female characters in the novel. Her headstrong attitude was a welcomed read and is probably one of my favourite strong female leads. As the story progressed, so did the emotion and events. There were strong emotional scenes at Ravensbruck, that will leave the reader feeling in awe of Lester’s phenomenal writing and immense astonishment at such brutality people faced.

The modern narrative surrounding Kat allowed for some relief and consolidation of facts. As a reader, you try and get the timeline clear in your head and with Kat and Elliot also trying to do the same aids this. It provides clarity and deeper understanding. I enjoyed reading the revelations that Kat discovers and travelling between Australia and England.

It is clear that Lester has poured a lot of effort and research into making this novel flawless. The author note provides evidence to this, enforcing such an authentic and original story. I absolutely loved the approach of alternating between the past and present. Throughout the stories, the characters were intertwined between the two narratives, providing answers to the many questions that arise as you read. I felt that as I was reading the past and knew the hints of the secrets of the present, I was trying to piece the puzzle together. I was desperately trying to find the connection between the past and present and I can happily say that I was wrong. This allowed for an entirely unpredictable read and allowed for a satisfying ending. The two incredible stories merged together in an emotional way, allowing for a stunning and phenomenal plot to be concluded. I have to admit that I was tearing up while I was finishing this book. The emotions that Lester will have you feeling will certainly ensure a memorable read.

Overall, I was strongly engrossed in this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Without a doubt I rate this book 5 stars. I mainly enjoyed following the wartime narrative, but I liked the connection to the present.

This review will be posted on my blog on 22/02/2021.
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I loved this book from the first page. A story of friendship, betrayal and love. Set over two timelines it’s an engrossing read. Dior gowns are discovered at a cottage in Cornwall, how did they get there and who do they belong to? As Kat unravels the secret her own life is put into question. The role of women pilots during the Second World War is something I knew nothing about until now. An atmospheric and emotional read with a great story line. I really enjoyed it.
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This dual time story tells the story of Skye Penrose, a pilot during the war. Skyes granddaughter, Kat Jourdan meets Elliot Beaufort who is wanting to write a book and so begins a journey to unravel her grandmother's life. 

I really enjoyed this book. It's a tearjerker so have some tissues handy. The bravery these women undertake was almost unbearable but they just got on with it all. I enjoyed the twist in the book it caught me off guard. It's a beautiful story of friendship, love and loss. The Dior link brought this book to another level. I loved it.
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.   I quite enjoyed this, liked the storyline and the characters and also where it was set.   Not brilliant but okay.
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For some reason, the galley that I received was merely an excerpt of this beautiful historical novel. It was atmospherical and enticing, and I wish I could read the entire book!
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With thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest opinion 
What a fabulous  book and great inspiration  and insight   to the Millinery  world and how difficult  it actually  was I truly  loved this outstanding  book and can highly recommend.
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I can’t begin to tell you how much I loved this book. Once started I couldn’t put it down. It was a harrowing read at some points but always done with love and sensitivity. Before reading this book I was not aware of the part that women pilots played in WW2 or of the women’s camp. At its heart it is a beautiful love story but this book is so much more than that. I have recommended to all my friends. Please read it.
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