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  • Location: Paris, England

Last Christmas in Paris

Last Christmas in Paris

Why a Booktrail?

1914: A novel consisting of letters written over the course of WW1

  • ISBN: 978-0062562685
  • Genre: Fiction, Historical

What you need to know before your trail

England is at war. Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front. Everyone believes the war will be over by Christmas, which is when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

With the men gone, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict. Meanwhile, Thomas struggles with life on the front line. There are now more stringent War Office regulations on press reporting which is causing trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their thought and feelings about events and love seems to flourish from afar.

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…

Travel Guide

Richmond, Oxford and Surrey

Letters fly from one city to another as Evie writes from Richmond to Thomas who is first in Oxford and then surrey before heading off to France. This shows the preparations of war, both mentally and physically for those who go and those who stay behind. Feelings of anxiety and stress come through but so too does humour and the stiff British upper lip

France

Thomas ends up in France. Evie writes of times they are planning after the war and how the city of Paris will look then:

Join me in a little ay dreaming, Tom will you? Look there we are strolling along the Champs-Elysees marveling at the Arc de Triomphe as fat snowflakes fall from a soft sky.”

Paris

I know something of the romance of the city of lights; how it can steal your heat as easily as a glance from the person you adore more than any other in the world”

In 1968, Thomas is near the end and  grieving the loss of someone very dear to him. It’s not clear exactly why he’s back in Paris until the full significance unfolds slowly over the course of the book.

Trail Gallery

Booktrailer Review

Susan: @thebooktrailer

This novel will make you cry. Oh it’s so beautiful and immerses you in the time and era in which it is set. Using letters as  story telling device is expertly done here and extremely apt. The story, the emotions of the letter writers comes across like  a dream. You read each letter pretty much like the recipients do – looking forward to the next one and imagining the letter writer as you do.

Another clever device was to separate the novel into years of the war. This added to the sense of time, what was happening and when people thought and were told, it would be over by Christmas, what they had to realise is that no-one had said which Christmas.

The flow of the letters also brings the emotions of the people to the fore. The art of letter writing is somewhat lost nowadays but it’s so personal and poignant here. When Thomas writes from ‘somewhere in France’ and some words are blacked out, the reality of their situation comes through. So too does the humour and the innocence of the young – I found certain sections in particular so poignant reading this, knowing how history panned out.

If you’re not an emotional wreck by the time you get to the 1958 visit to Paris, then you have a heart of stone. Hazel and Hannah you really have written a novel with heart here. Emotion, love, history and humanity.

 

Booktrail Boarding Pass:  Last Christmas in Paris

Destination: Paris, England  Author/Guide: Hazel Gaynor  and Heather Webb  Departure Time: 1914

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