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  • Historical Fiction WW II Paris

    Brookfield homestead New South Wales, Australia, in 1934, Grace lives on a sheep station with her parents, Alfred and Olive Woods. Grace had a happy childhood, she enjoys living in the Australian bush, riding her pet pony Illyria and spending time with her dad. Grace is a real country girl, she loves the fresh smell of eucalyptus emitted by the gum leaves and she doesn't mind the sound of the screeching cockatoos. Alfred adores his family, his property and he knows his wife Olive is a little more refined than he is. Olive is busy being a mother, running her household and attending her local CWA meetings. She likes to dress nicely, she loves fashion and clothes. Grace and Olive both love to look at fashion magazines together, they dream about wearing the beautiful dresses and visiting Paris. Graces parents have always planned for her to marry Jack Osbourne, he lives next door on a sheep station called Merindah and his parents are also keen for them to eventually marry. When WW II starts Jack does the right thing, he signs up to train as a pilot and he plans to marry Grace when the war is over. Jack returns home after the war ends, the couple marry, Jack has changed and not for the good! Grace knows marrying Jack was a big mistake, she doesn't think her mother Olive will understand and what can she do? After making a shocking discovery, Grace decides to leave her husband, travel to France, she wants to be a fashion model and to find out what happened to her Uncle Siddy? Her parents had a close friend called Reuben Wood, he was a horse trader, piano player and Grace loved her Uncle Siddy. For some reason Siddy stopped all contact with Grace's family, last she heard Uncle Reuben had joined the army and was in France! Grace is tall, slim, very pretty and finds work as a model. She works as a mannequin for Christian Dior, the world's new leader of fashion, clients like to see the beautiful gowns being worn by models on the catwalk and Grace loves her new job. She models clothes that are bought by rich famous people and they include, princesses, actresses and by wives of diplomats and politicians. Grace meets and falls for handsome Philippe Boyer. He has no idea that Grace is married and the longer she waits the harder it is to tell him the truth. Grace has no idea, he has his own secrets and he is leading a double life or that his past might effect her? Grace is drawn into Philippe's dangerous world of politics and international espionage. When Grace discovers that her life is in danger, she doesn't consider going home to Australia, she's stays hidden in the french country side and it gives her time to work out what's she's going to do? The Paris Model, is based on a true story, it takes you from the paddocks of a sheep station in Australia to the elegant fashion houses of France. It's about a journey Grace takes to discover the truth, she uncovers hidden family secrets, her heritage, falls in love, she finally makes peace with her mum and I gave the book four stars.

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  • marvellous historical fiction

    The Paris Model is the first novel by Australian author, Alexandra Joel. Having been raised in country NSW, when Grace’s father, Alfred Woods dies, she takes over running their sheep and wheat property. A few short years later, she becomes Mrs Jack Osbourne, having married, as expected, the son of a local grazier on his return from the war. Less than three years later, Grace has walked away from that life to become a mannequin at Maison Christian Dior in Paris. Not just in the City of Light to pursue her career aspirations, she is also searching for the most important man in her life. She meets another, finding love and excitement and danger. Grace is a strong and determined character, although she does have a tendency to flee from confrontations without waiting for an explanation, much to her psychological and emotional detriment. The plot follows some predictable lines but also contains a few surprises and while, given the era and her occupation, Grace might well be expected to encounter some famous (and infamous) figures, the parade of cameos does feel a tiny bit “Forrest Gump”. Joel does capture the era nicely and, with her protagonist based on an actual historical figure, this is marvellous historical fiction from a talented Australian author. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Better Reading Preview and NetGalley and Harper Collins Australia

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