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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.6 out of 5
5 Stars
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All Book Reviews

  • Evocative, rich, and absorbing!

    The Paris Secret is an alluring, highly affecting tale predominantly set in England during WWII, as well as 2012, that takes you into the lives of two main characters; Skye Penrose, a young flier who through grit and determination becomes one of the first woman pilots for the Air Transport Auxillary during the war; and Kat Jourdan, a young fashion conservator who unwittingly unravels a family history littered with secrets, heartbreak, and heroism when she stumbles across a closet full of vintage Dior dresses in her mother's Cornwall cottage. The prose is charged and emotive. The characters are courageous, multilayered, and strong. And the plot, including all the subplots, unravel and intertwine seamlessly into a sublime saga of life, loss, family, tragedy, expectations, sacrifice, secrets, self-discovery, friendship, enduring love, fashion, and an insightful look at the important roles and contributions that women had and made during the war. Overall, The Paris Secret is an exceptionally atmospheric, beautifully written, impactful novel that sweeps you away to another time and place and immerses you into the lives of such enticing characters you can't help but be thoroughly moved and engrossed. It is no surprise that Natasha Lester has quickly become one of my all-time favourite authors with The Paris Orphan being one of my must-read novels for 2019 and now The Paris Secret being on the top of that list for 2020.

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  • For lovers of WWII dual line fiction

    This book appears to have many elements that will make it an engrossing read. I will certainly buy the book so that I can spend more time with this book’s characters and story lines. After an opening set in the days after WWII, the novel moves to the year 1928 when Skye and Liberty Penrose are children being raised by their single mother. Their mother Vanessa, who predicts the future for clients, is a pilot who has passed on her love of the skies to her aptly named older daughter. When the reader first meets Skye, she is ten and unconventional. Younger sister Liberty appears prone to temper tantrums and may be less than stable. Skye meets Nick during this summer and it is clear that they will have connections throughout the entire story. The book jumps to 2012 in the following section. In this, a descendant of one of the main characters, Kat, travels to Cornwall to visit her grandmother’s house. Grandmother Margaux has ties to Nick and Skye as I think will become clearer. This is another story with sections set before, during and after WWII. Illuminated through Skye is a story of the women who flew planes during the war. There is a sense that Liberty and the other main characters will face many threats as the novel continues. It also feels like the past and present will tie together by the end of the book. This appears to be an involving and interesting novel. As noted above, I will be purchasing it so that I can see how it ends. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this preview. All opinions are my own.

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  • Plot-driven Historical Novel About Women Pilots

    Four stars is a bit of a gift. What you have with THE PARIS SECRET is a compelling, fast-moving, plot-driven historical novel, with lots of twists and turns. The writing is competent, the characters are all fabulously attractive, but the character development is limited. Like so many other historical novels these days, the novel presents two stories, unfolding in parallel, where the connection between the two is slowly revealed: • The first story begins in the late 1920s with two sisters, Skye and Liberty, growing up along the ocean in Cornwall, England and the close friendship Skye makes with a neighbor's nephew, Nicholas. Nicholas soon returns to the United States for school and he and Skye don't meet again until World War II, where both are pilots. Limited by her gender, Skye shuttles planes between military bases while male pilots like Nicholas do the actual war work. • The second story takes place in our current era. It concerns Kat, a recently divorced Australian fashion conservator, and her encounter with an author researching a book on World War II espionage he believes may involve Kat's grandmother. For me, the most interesting part of the book was learning more about the work women did during the war, especially the dangerous intelligence work some got involved with. At the same time, men and women were treated so differently, regardless of the work they were doing or their skill levels. The discrimination is consistent and overt and Skye and the women pilots she works with must tolerate all sorts of abuse and testing. Be prepared however. There are some very difficult passages to read which describe the brutal life of prisoners in the concentration camp of Ravensbruck, a camp which housed only women. The connection with early fashion designs by Christian Dior is played up in the book's description. But I did not find it at all necessary to the main plot. Be sure to read the author's note at the end which explains why Natasha Lester included them. Overall, I'd put this in the category of good beach read.

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  • Loved this riveting, mesmerizing novel!

    Thanks to Reading Group Choices/Grand Central Publishing for a gifted copy of this book. All comments and opinions are my own. This is now one of my favorite books - I loved it! I just don't know where to start explaining why. It checked all the boxes: well-written and meticulously-researched, brilliant concept and intriguing plot, memorable characters, the best kind of drama, family secrets, and a moving yet satisfying ending. With a dual timeline of 1939 and present day, the author skillfully weaves a mesmerizing story of two sisters and three friends, Dior's historic couture gowns, the French Resistance, enduring and committed love, and a mysterious Paris secret. This book was riveting and had me in tears. I'm still thinking about it and am telling everyone to read it.

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  • Love!

    A must read, I couldn’t put this book down. I read the 3 books in a row! Fabulous

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