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The Race for Paris

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The New York Times bestselling author of The Wednesday Sisters returns with a moving and powerfully dynamic World War II novel about two American journalists and an Englishman, who together race the Allies to Occupied Paris for the scoop of their lives

Normandy, 1944. To cover the fighting in France, Jane, a reporter for the Nashville Banner, and Liv, an Associated Press photographer, have already had to endure enormous danger and frustrating obstacles—including strict military regulations limiting what women correspondents can do. Even so, Liv wants more.

Encouraged by her husband, the editor of a New York newspaper, she’s determined to be the first photographer to reach Paris with the Allies, and capture its freedom from the Nazis.

However, her Commanding Officer has other ideas about the role of women in the press corps. To fulfill her ambitions, Liv must go AWOL. She persuades Jane to join her, and the two women find a guardian angel in Fletcher, a British military photographer who reluctantly agrees to escort them. As they race for Paris across the perilous French countryside, Liv, Jane, and Fletcher forge an indelible emotional bond that will transform them and reverberate long after the war is over.

Based on daring, real-life female reporters on the front lines of history like Margaret Bourke-White, Lee Miller, and Martha Gellhorn—and with cameos by other famous faces of the time—The Race for Paris is an absorbing, atmospheric saga full of drama, adventure, and passion. Combining riveting storytelling with expert literary craftsmanship and thorough research, Meg Waite Clayton crafts a compelling, resonant read.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published August 11, 2015

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About the author

Meg Waite Clayton

11 books1,284 followers
Meg Waite Clayton is a New York Times bestselling author of 8 novels, most recently the international bestseller THE POSTMISTRESS OF PARIS, which is a Good Morning America Buzz pick, New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, People Magazine, IndieNext booksellers, LoanStars librarians, USA Today, Book of the Month Club and Amazon Editors’ pick and Publishers Weekly notable book the San Francisco Chronicle calls "gripping … an evocative love story layered with heroism and intrigue — the film ‘Casablanca’ if Rick had an artsy bent … powerful.”

Her prior books include the international bestseller and National Jewish Book Award finalist THE LAST TRAIN TO LONDON, the #1 Amazon fiction bestseller BEAUTIFUL EXILES, the Langum-Prize honored national bestseller THE RACE FOR PARIS- and THE WEDNESDAY SISTERS, one of Entertainment Weekly's "25 Essential Best Friend Novels" of all time. Her THE LANGUAGE OF LIGHT was a finalist for the Bellwether Prize (now PEN/Bellwether Prize). Her novels have been published in 23 languages.

She has also written more than 100 pieces for major newspapers, magazines, and public radio. She has participated in the Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman sponsored The Writers Lab for screenwriting, mentors in the OpEd Project, and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and the California bar. megwaiteclayton.com

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5 stars
497 (18%)
4 stars
1,018 (38%)
3 stars
837 (31%)
2 stars
228 (8%)
1 star
63 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 426 reviews
Profile Image for Joy D.
1,901 reviews220 followers
October 4, 2019
Based on experiences of real people, this historical fiction pays homage to women news correspondents during WWII. Liv, a talented AP photographer from New York, and Jane, a reporter from Nashville, have joined Allied forces in France to document the last stages of the war. Women are not welcomed or wanted in these roles at the time, and they persevere in the face of many barriers. They want to be among the first to cover the 1944 liberation of Paris, so they head out on their own in the hopes of getting closer to the action. They meet and travel with Fletcher, a British military photographer and friend of Liv’s husband, who tries to protect them without making it too obvious.

The author does an exceptional job of helping the reader imagine what it must have been like to live in a warzone, where they travel by jeep, survive on military-issue rations, sleep in uncomfortable surroundings, try to keep clean by washing in a helmet, and deal with imminent danger. For example, at one point, they are shown caves where people have been hiding from the Nazis:

“Within a minute, the world around us was pitch-black and I was creeping uneasily behind Liv, groping for the sides of the cave. They were gritty cold, but anchoring, and slightly less frightening than the smell of the damp stone and the taste of underground air and the quiet crunch of steps that might be ours alone, or might not.”

Well-selected relevant quotes from real war correspondents open each chapter. It is mostly told in first person from Jane’s point of view. There is a bit of a love triangle among the trio, but it does not overpower the historical story. The history is well-researched, and the writing is direct. The characters are believable, and their camaraderie feels authentic. The plot is based around the trio’s journey and is portrayed as a series of encounters, though a key piece of the story appears to be abandoned at the half-way point. The ending is particularly well-done. It is an inspirational story of strong women risking their lives, overcoming obstacles, and surpassing social stereotypes.
Profile Image for LillyBooks.
982 reviews52 followers
September 7, 2015
I feel like the author couldn't decide if she wanted to write a fiction or a nonfiction book, and it shows. The story is exactly what the title implies: a "race" to be the first byline out of liberated Paris by two women journalists who are technically not permitted and thus AWOL. But as a story, it was lacking. The jeep breaks down, they sleep in a barn or a trench, the stay in the jeep while their male escort goes to gets supplies, they are warned about the MP looking for them by some real-life famous person (Erie Pyle, Andy Rooney, etc.) who also just happens to repeat their most famous quote of the war to the women, they take off, then their jeep breaks down, they sleep in a barn or a trench, they stay in the jeep . . . you get the idea. Also, the bookending of the first and last chapter were completely unnecessary and added little to the already meager plot.
Profile Image for Cold War Conversations Podcast.
415 reviews262 followers
March 31, 2015
A powerful story of women defying the conventions of the day to report from the battlefield.

Two women reporters go AWOL to report from the front lines of France in 1944. Fletcher, a British military photographer agrees to escort and conceal them as they race for Paris across the still dangerous French countryside.

Meg Waite Clayton has obviously done extensive research on this book. She has taken the stories of the likes of Margaret Bourke-White and Martha Gellhorn and created a compelling story with believable and multi-dimensional characters . Liv, Jane, and Fletcher naturally grow ever closer in the perilous warzone where you hear their back stories, their fears, their loves and their dreams making you connect intimately with them.

A great read that should appeal on many levels.
Profile Image for karen.
257 reviews
October 14, 2015
I thought this would be my kind of book due to the setting and subject, but just couldn't get to know any of the characters enough to care about what happened to them. Another block for me was the excessive name-dropping without the prerequisite explanations as to who these folks actually were. The missing history might have helped me to stay engaged with the characters and the plot. And last, just a current pet peeve, but I'm really bored with authors beginning their story with a older character reflecting on their life. Enough already with this overused cliche of a literary device! It's gotten to the point that it's formulaic and trite and it's not a very exciting way to start off a story.
Profile Image for Carly Ellen Kramer.
Author 3 books63 followers
September 17, 2015
The Race for Paris is historical fiction at its finest! Meg Waite Clayton's account of WWII through the eyes of a female writer and a female photographer is engaging and unique. The plot lines wrapped up a bit quickly for my taste, but that is a minor detail in the context of this well written book.
Profile Image for Amy.
938 reviews234 followers
August 16, 2017
3.5 stars? The Race for Paris follows two women journalists, a photographer and a correspondent, during 1944, as folks are risking their lives to be able to cover the liberation of Paris from the war. And at a time when women are not allowed, and these women journalists are not authorized to be there. In fact, Liz has an MP trailing her, trying to arrest her and bring her home to her editor husband, who was formerly at the front. Jane, Liv, and Fletcher, each have their motivations and reasons, even beyond the political or career advancement, for trying to cover the war, and one thing the author, Meg, Waite Clayton does extremely well is the character development and portraits of these three, and their interlacing dynamics as their relationships develop - and at the front, where danger is the backdrop. Fletcher Roebuck is electric, and these women hold their own.

One interesting theme is abut whether certain images "capture" a war, and whether editors try to put on a brave face for the news, versus publishing the devastation. The question about whether one should blur the faces, show the faces of the dead, runs through the novel, as does, what is the story that should be told, and does it capture all of the features of the war, which nothing could. It was a fascinating look at how a war is perceived, "shot", described, and conveyed.

One interesting thing about this story, is that each of the chapters opens up with actual quotes and descriptions from the real biographical journalists who were there at the time, and the characters reference them. It was extremely well researched, and in my opinion, extremely well done.

One aside note, largely for myself - I had committed to reading six books featuring Paris this year in 2017 for a challenge component, and it was interesting to note, that most of the book didn't take place there, and was abut trying against the elements to get close to it. It was really more abut the dream of Paris, and the experience of its liberation. Which I think still counts, and is a different look at Paris, than Romance, baguettes sticking out of bicycle baskets, and artists on the street. I'm choosing to count it - like one cannot cover an entire war with one photo or story, Paris is also larger than a few iconic images.
March 2, 2016
Setting: World War II France
Steam Factor: Mild

When Liv Jame's officer refuses her request to be among the first photojournalists to reach Paris with the Allies, she leaves her no choice and she goes AWOL.
Along with Jane Tayler, and British military photographer Fletcher Roebuck, they not only face their enemy, but also their fears, loves, and dreams.
Determined to be in Paris for the momentous event, they trek through war zones travelling by bike, Jeep and on foot to be able to get there and capture history on film.
Even though shortages of food and fuel make the trip more harrowing they gather strength and make it.
After Paris, they all decide to follow the army to the Netherlands as well as Germany.
With Liv's photos and Jane's words, they manage to tell those at home the real truth while learning a great deal of truths about themselves.
I believe "The Race to Paris" is loosely based on the lives of female photojournalists working during the Allies liberation of Paris.
A Fast multi-layered novel that I found not only dramatic with plenty of danger and action, but with wonderful historical details that where obviously well researched by the author.
It also had enough romance to satisfy this reader without it taking away from their story.
It was a nice change to read a different backdrop/plot in the usual WW II historical period.
I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
Profile Image for Susan Peterson.
1,568 reviews252 followers
May 27, 2018
This was a truly spectacular book! It is the story of Liv, a photographer, and Jane, a journalist, who are in Paris covering WWII following D-Day. They, like so many other journalists at the time, want more than anything to be in Paris for its liberation, and for their photos and stories to be the first published on that momentous day. With that in mind, they become AWOL from their assigned camp, hitching a ride with Fletcher, a British photographer who is in France to take pictures for British intelligence. Their journey is fraught with danger, but Liv and Jane are very determined to beat the odds and make names for themselves. The author gave us a real feeling for what the trio endured every day along their journey: the weather, the food, the sights and sounds of war, and their own fears. I truly felt like I was in that jeep with them, feeling every bump in the road along with them. Each of them also have struggles in their past and present that they are dealing with while still trying to do their jobs the best way that they know how. The characters in the book are well-written, so many dimensions to each of them. I was very lucky to have received this book from the publisher as a First Reads Winner from Goodreads. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fast-paced, well-written book on a very interesting subject.
Profile Image for Pam Jenoff.
Author 35 books5,165 followers
December 12, 2016
An inspiring tale of two female American correspondents, willing to break all the rules to get to Paris in time for the Allied liberation. Exciting and inspired by the real women journalists of World War II.
Profile Image for Joanne.
579 reviews55 followers
July 1, 2022
A well researched, well written book, based on the lives of the few women journalists who dared to cover WWII from the front lines.

Meg Waite Clayton's writing had the power to take me to France in 1944-45. I could see the beautiful French countryside being destroyed, I could feel the bombs going off.

For me, connecting to the characters is an important factor. Our 2 female leads, Liv and Jane are believable and I connected to them immediately.

For those of you who are tired of WWII, let me just say that this is more than a war story. It is story of women, strong and resilient-women who dared to do what men thought only they could do.
Profile Image for Peggy.
62 reviews1 follower
August 29, 2015
Three stars for the story. Two stars for the writing.

Very interesting subject. The story follows a female photographer and a female journalist as they travel together to the front lines in Nazi occupied France. Meg Waite Clayton based her characters on real-life photojournalists who bravely broke the gender barrier in the 40's. I am intrigued by those innovators, and will read more about Lee Miller, Margaret Bourke-White, and Martha Gellhorn.

Clayton's writing is quite amateurish. Full of cliches and repetition. Mixed metaphors and clumsy imagery.
Hiding in a fox hole, the protagonist Jane says of photographer Liv, "Her eyes reflected the constriction in my throat." Huh? As they bounce along in a jeep entering a battle-torn city, Journalist Jane says, "I wrote my guts out."

The pages are easy to skim, which accounts for my completing the book. Overall, disappointing. But opened new insights on war correspondents.

p.s. Tatjana Soli's The Lotus Eaters is superior.
Profile Image for Suzanne.
178 reviews6 followers
August 28, 2015
An exceptional, engaging and informative read about WW!!!

I love books about WWII, and "The Race for Paris" is an incredible story of one of the lesser talked about aspects of the war - the role that journalists and photojournalists played in getting the images and stories of what was happening to the newspapers in the U.S.

Exceptionally well-written and researched, I could not put the "The Race for Paris" down once I started reading it! As Clayton described the adventures of what Jane, Liv and Fletcher as they went AWOL in an effort to get to Paris in time to capture the full essence of the liberation in words and images, I felt as if I were traveling right there alongside them - such bravery in the face of so many challenges!

I also love the fact that Clayton wraps of the story so nicely with a "where are they now" section at the end to bring closure to the book.

This was a wonderful book, and must-read for anyone interested in learning more about the history of WWII!
Profile Image for Kathy.
3,348 reviews177 followers
September 25, 2019
I recently read a review of this author's work and went to my library to see what was available. I chose this World War II book featuring women who wanted to cover the war for the media. I found the main characters complex and interesting and the war action and sites well described.
In addition to the detail from the field there was a rich emotional story that unfolded in a meaningful way.
First reading for me of Clayton and I plan to check out some of her other books.

Library Loan
Profile Image for Dianne.
270 reviews51 followers
Want to read
January 28, 2015

The Race for Paris

Read an Excerpt | For Bookgroups and Readers

My new book, The Race for Paris, tells the story of a British military photographer and two AWOL American women - a journalist and a photojournalist - who join the "Race for Paris." They hope to be among the first to cover the liberation of the city from Nazi occupation, an accomplishment that could make their careers.

The story of this new novel was inspired by real women journalists like the ones pictured above. It explores the obstacles female journalists faced covering the war, as well as issues of motherhood, friendship, and love. I've included my author's note for the novel below, in case you'd like to get a better sense of who these women are.

I've been working on this novel off and on for more than a decade, and I'm delighted to share the news that it will be published by HarperCollins on August 11. Please join my Readers' Circle through the short form below if you'd like to receive an email when it releases.

If you're looking for something to read in the meantime and haven't already done so, please have a look at The Wednesday Sisters, The Wednesday Daughters, The Four Ms. Bradwells, and The Language of Light. And thank you for your interest in and enthusiasm for my work. It means a lot to me.




The Race for Paris Author's Note

This novel was inspired by the women who defied military regulations and gender barriers to cover World War II and the “race for Paris,” vying to be among the first to report from the liberated city in the summer of 1944. They did so by stowing away in bathrooms of Channel-crossing boats, going AWOL from support positions to get to the front lines, climbing fences meant to contain them, struggling to get their photographs and stories out, and risking their lives. Despite being confronted with red tape and derision, denied access to jeeps and to the information and accommodations provided to their male colleagues at press camps, pursued by military police, and even arrested and stripped of credentials, women like Lee Carson, Helen Kirkpatrick, Sigrid Schultz, Iris Carpenter, Ruth Cowan, Lee Miller, Sonia Tomara, Catherine Coyne, Dot Avery, Virginia Irwin, Judy Barden, Tania Long, Barbara Wace, Margaret Bourke-White, and Martha Gellhorn proved that they could report the war, and opened the way for generations of women. Although this is a work of fiction, I’ve striven to make it historically accurate, and to that end have borrowed heavily from the facts of the lives of soldiers, support troops, journalists, and civilians involved in the war, and particularly from the experiences of these pioneering women.
Profile Image for Melissa.
647 reviews28.6k followers
November 18, 2015
I don’t read a ton of historical fiction, but when I do it tends to be set around WWII. When I happened to stumble across the blurb for this book, I was excited to pick it up. It was a different perspective from some of the others that I've read.

As the title implies, it’s a story of two women journalists, racing to Paris, in hopes of being the first to capture the beginning of the liberation. From the start, I had a really hard time connecting with the characters and sort of losing myself in the story. I found myself rereading constantly because I was zoning out and thinking about other things. The author tries to creates an intensity and buildup with Liz and Jane going AWOL and racing to Paris, but the payoff was weak. Not much happened, the story was repetitive and it felt like the couple that ended up together was just settling.

I will say, I appreciated that the author included quotes from some of the actual journalists that risked their lives to share what was happening during the war. I found that to be the most interesting part.
Profile Image for Story Circle Book Reviews.
636 reviews62 followers
October 13, 2015
Because author Meg Waite Clayton used quotes from actual World War II correspondents at the beginning of each chapter of The Race for Paris, her fictional characters took on the aura of their actual colleagues. Clayton's characters, Jane and Olivia, two women covering the war, are in this novel, contemporaries of Margaret Bourke-White, Martha Gelhorn, Ernie Pyle and other real journalists. Jane and Olivia have met them or know of them, and desperately want to beat them to Paris, where the Allies will liberate France from the Nazis in August, 1944 and end the war.

Meg Clayton obviously did extensive research, adding to the authenticity and realism of the tale. Many scenes in the book are based on real events that occurred in real towns in France, Belgium and the Netherlands in the summer of 1944 as the war came to an end.

The story is told from the first person point of view of Jane, a young journalist for the Nashville Banner. At an army field hospital in Normandy, she meets Olivia (Liv), an Associated Press photographer who is so determined to cover the victory that she goes AWOL rather than waste time fighting the protocol that works against women in the combat zone. Jane immediately sees her chance to become recognized as a serious journalist and runs off with her. They soon meet Fletcher, a British male reporter who reluctantly lets them accompany him and helps them elude the Military Police hot on their trail.

The women sometimes sent their stories and photos out under Fletcher's name to conceal their whereabouts from the MPs. Jane, the daughter of a poor single mother, looks up to Liv, who is married to a well-known newspaperman. Soon she has romantic feelings for Fletcher, feelings she conceals as his growing affection for Liv becomes clear.

The two "girl reporters," as they are called by almost everyone they meet, encounter regulations and military officers determined to stop them, and even Liv's husband starts a rumor she is pregnant so she will be sent home. He wants to be seen as supporting her yet he fears for her safety, and this rumor is his cover story for getting her back.

Precursors to today's women war reporters (for example, Christiane Amanpour and Martha Raddatz), Jane and Liv sleep in foxholes, drink cold powdered coffee and dodge bullets, all in the service of bringing the war back home to their readers.

As Jane and Liv lie in an open field at night, their helmets on and their bodies under a jeep but with their heads out so they can see the stars, Jane relates this conversation.

"I'm not smart at knowing who to love," I said.

"No one is," Liv said. "That's the problem with love."

The concerns of a young woman, even amid the horror of war, are not treated lightly here. In fact, when death seems near and no one is completely safe, love and home are often on everyone's mind.

This is the first World War II novel I have read that treats the subject from the perspective of a female correspondent, making it more relatable for me as a reporter for a local newspaper. These women were truly dedicated to the truth and worked against enormous odds to bring their stories to light. Censors would redact whole sections to disguise their location, or to conceal losses from the folks at home lest their morale be affected. Jane received a letter at the front from the White House.

Dear Miss Tyler,

Your compassionate portrayal of the nurse helping save the wounded boy in "Operating Room by Flashlight" will surely help convince American women how dearly the auxiliary military services need them. Thank you for writing it.

Very sincerely yours,

Eleanor Roosevelt

The censors had cut the last part of Jane's story to conceal the fact that the soldier had died.
Reading this reminded me of the letter my mother received from my dad, stationed in the Pacific during this war.

"I'll let you know where I am as soon as we get there," he wrote.

The censor added a note: "Not if I can help it."

It was seventy years ago, and it was only yesterday. That's what made this book so real to me.

by Linda Wisniewski
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
Profile Image for Maranda   Melange of Reviews.
69 reviews4 followers
October 24, 2015
4/5 stars
You can find all my reviews here.
*Disclaimer: I won this book from Goodreads First Reads, all my opinions are my own.*

J'ai plus de souvenirs que si j'avais mille ans.

This book is one of the hardest I've ever tried to place a rating on. The book was based around a time of war and while historical fiction, the history was definitely there. Books filled with history I generally have a harder time reading. I was never good at history, in fact, it was one of my worst subjects in high school and college. So I guess all the dates present and names that I feel like I should recognize but don't in history-related books make me feel dumb. I started off with that kind of mentality and it stuck for quite awhile. I would read for a bit and put it down because I felt overwhelmed by the dates and places (The only thing I'm worse in than history is geography. I don't know where anything is) and names. But as the story went on I began to emotionally connect with Jane. And through my emotional connection to her I could finally experience the story rather than feel bogged down in details. I could feel her desire to be wanted, her bitterness towards a friend. I understood Jane and that's what made this story special to me. It was a drastic change. I went from reading a chapter or two when i found a chance to making time to read 40 or more pages. I felt so connected to the book that I would just burst into tears. Not at anything overtly sad, but more at the whole concept, how bad the war must of been, how many people died, children left without parents, mothers without sons, fathers and brothers in trenches praying they make it home to see their loved ones smile one last time. I guess until I read this war was just something that happened. I had never really been affected much by war, but something in the writing and in that bond I formed with the main character made me realize how terrible war can be for once, made me realize this is something that actually happens, actually ruins lives.

So in the end, no I didn't give it a 5 star review. But that doesn't mean you wouldn't. If you are someone who loves history, someone who enjoys historical fiction it would suit you better than me. It was wonderfully written but I rate books on an personal enjoyment basis, and there were times where me and the book didn't click at all. If you have the money, you enjoy WWII literature, and you don't mind getting teary-eyed pick up this book because Meg Waite Clayton spent years making this book as close to perfect as she could get it.
Profile Image for Booknblues.
1,121 reviews8 followers
July 3, 2022
Sometimes you know that a book will be one you love reading and Meg Waite Clayton's The Race for Paris was one of those books. I am familiar with Clayton's work having read and enjoyed Beautiful Exiles, and so learning that she had written a book about war reporters and photojournalists, it seemed I had to read it.

The Race for Paris is set in 1944, when it seemed the next step in the allies war would be the liberation of Paris and all reporters were poised to be the first to report from a free Paris. Liv a photojournalist of some renown a great skill, wants to be there and convinces Jane, a Nashville reporter to join her. This is their story.

I enjoyed it immensely and expect fans of World War II fiction will as well.
500 reviews11 followers
August 11, 2015
Read my full review here: http://mimi-cyberlibrarian.blogspot.c...

Books about World War II seem to be ubiquitous in 2015. My book club read All the Light We Cannot See earlier this year, but I have pretty much resisted reading any of the many other books until Clayton's agent sent me The Race for Paris.

Jane is a journalist for a Nashville TN newspaper. She meets Olivia (Liv), a photographer for her husband's New York newspaper, at a hospital in France shortly after the Normandy invasion. They have been stuck reporting from the hospital for quite some time and have been denied access to the forward movement of the troops because of military regulations and gender barriers. When they meet up with Fletcher, a British photojournalist, they take matters into their own hands, jump into his jeep, and race the allied troops toward the liberation of Paris.
Worried about exposing themselves to the MPs that are tracking them, Jane and Liv send out their articles and photographs anonymously or under Fletcher's name as they move relentlessly forward keeping pace with the troops. Jane muses about why they were putting themselves so prominently into harm's way: "a chance at immortality when mortality had you by the throat." They see it all and report on it all. Liv takes extraordinary risks to catch the action with her camera while Jane types up her stories on a portable typewriter. Along the way, they both fall for Fletcher, who always is seeking to protect them—even when they don't want to be protected. The three bond in a powerful way that sustains them and reverberates throughout the rest of their lives.

The Race for Paris is filled with relentless action that is vividly represented in the text. For example, Jane reports: "Liv moved into the valley to better photograph the fleeing Germans, and because she did, Fletcher and I did as well. We went down toward the confetti of paper and clothing and supplies, medical paraphernalia and food packages. The twisted metal of abandoned vehicles. Blackened trees. Well-creased letters stuck in the mud, and frayed photographs of wives, of children, of parents and siblings, of sisters and brothers. Sprawling tangles of hooves and necks and manes and bleeding horseflesh, and corpses." At the same time that they are reporting on the action, Jane poignantly reflects: "I wanted to be in a place where the sun always shone and the world was quiet, no gunshots in the distance, no stench of death."

Clayton says that she spent years researching the women reporters and photographers of World War II, including Margaret Burke White, Helen Kirkpatrick, and Lee Miller. At the heading of each chapter, there is a quote from a war reporter or photographer, and the text is peppered with references to other famous wartime personalities, including Ernie Pyle and Earnest Hemingway. It is obvious that Clayton took enormous care with the historical accuracy of the novel. For the most part, the plot moves along, with some scenes breathtakingly compelling. I wanted the climax of the book to occur about 50 pages before if actually happened, but as Liv becomes more and more reckless in her photography, I knew that something tragic was about to happen—and then it did.

The Race for Paris is not a beach read. It is designed to appeal to the World War II historical reader as well as the reader interested in women's rights and women's history. I am none of those people, but I was completely captivated by the story and the charm of the characters. I can only imagine how consumed Clayton must have been as she researched and wrote this most compelling novel. I recommend it. The Race for Paris has already appeared on several "Best Books" lists including the BBC and Bookreporter.
Profile Image for Suze.
539 reviews35 followers
October 7, 2015
I never knew there were so many women journalists and photographers at the front during WWII. That's probably because their work was often completely ignored. Males got most of the ink in those days.

This book brings their bravery and talent to the forefront where it belongs. The author did meticulous research and it shows throughout the storyline. Though the story is fictional, it is laced with events, battles, life and death, just as reported by the brave women photographers and journalists who witnessed it.

Thank you, Meg Waite Clayton, for an eye-opening book I won't soon forget.

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Julia.
687 reviews
September 9, 2016
I really wanted to like this book, especially since it had a good premise: two American female journalists try to be the first in Paris for liberation during World War II. Jane and Liv had to break through barriers in order to be successful journalists.

But I couldn't get into this book. I didn't feel like there was much of a plot. I didn't like any of the characters. And I didn't care when Liv died at the end. Overall, I was bored and disappointed - and this book had plenty of blurbs from authors I like.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sharon Huether.
1,477 reviews10 followers
September 6, 2015
I won this free book through Goodreads First-Reads. Thanks Goodreads for picking my name for this extraordinary book. It was the race for Paris in 1944 and it's liberation from the Nazis. Liv and Jane left their assigned posts and traveled with Fletcher, a Brit to get closer to Paris and take the best photos. I loved all the quotes from well known photojournalists and correspondents. Kudos to the author for capturing the reality of war and her excellent writing.
Profile Image for Delilah.
191 reviews12 followers
November 11, 2015
This was a quick read about the women photographers/journalists who reported on WW2. Very interesting and based on true women. The fictional part of the story fell short for me, but it was fascinating to read about the struggles women had to endure in order to document the realities of DDay and the Paris Liberation. Recommend!
Profile Image for Kerrin .
293 reviews230 followers
October 23, 2015
Enjoyable story of two American women, Jane a writer and Liv, a married photojournalist, who go AWOL in the race to be the first journalist into Paris on the day of liberation in WWWI. The story is also about the British photographer, Fletcher, who takes the women into the war zones.
Profile Image for Robin.
42 reviews
May 11, 2015
I really, realy enjoyed this novel. Wonderful POV from women WWII war time photo journalists.
Author 3 books227 followers
June 27, 2017
A powerful story of women journalists and photojournalists determined to cover the end of WWII in the face of both physical dangers at the front and discrimination that tried to stop them from doing the work they fiercely wished to do. The book combines the intensity of first hand experience of war with a subtlety of emotion that makes for an unforgettable story, and the main characters won my heart from the first moment of the book to its last page. Beautifully written, captivating, and a remarkable portrait of a time and place. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Colleen Marie Zukowski.
137 reviews24 followers
September 16, 2015
I was so torn on the rating for this book. I did enjoy it but between the first half and the second half it seemed as if I were reading two different books; the first I wanted to give three stars and the second four stars (If only we could give half star ratings!). I was incredibly excited to read the book for several reasons. When I was younger it was my dream to become a war correspondent and to this day I regret not following that dream. I thought it would be so hard to be respected in that field as a woman so I was immediately pulled towards this book. Also, I am a sucker for war books and for books about women who are all about kicking the rules to the curb and showing they can do anything that men can do.

The story is based on real life events portrayed by fictional characters. The narrator is a journalist named Jane and the story follows her experiences with Liv, a female photographer, and a male photographer named Fletcher. The women, grown tired of all the rejection they receive to their requests to go to the front, decide to go AWOL and they meet up with Fletcher (a friend of Liv’s husband) who aids them on their quest to become the first to photograph Paris at the moment cease-fire is declared. The issue I ran into early in the book is how slow it was progressing. It bordered on slightly boring sometimes and seemed to drag on quite a bit. A lot of time was spent on the characters earlier lives, a love triangle, and jealousy that I feel could have been portrayed in a more intriguing way. Instead a lot of it fell flat. The book definitely picks up halfway through when they reach Paris and the second half of the book I found too exciting to put down. I only wish the entire book had been like that.

The main characters were interesting but not well-developed, in my opinion. It was hard to feel any emotional attachment or bond with them and I found myself caring more about the history behind the book than the main characters in it. On a positive note, I admire the amount of research that Meg Waite Clayton put into writing this book. Her portrayal of war, soldiers, and civilians was absolutely brilliant and she was able to make you feel something for what those people were going through at that time. Her account of the moment in Paris where the cease-fire was declared was so brilliant and powerful that it gave me chills.

“Tears streamed down the hollow, stubbled cheeks of old men, the old and the sick brought out from hospitals to greet freedom in the streets. Young women pulled their children tightly to their sinewy legs, watching for their children’s fathers, hoping they might appear in a passing truck and wondering if they would recognize them.”

Overall I think the second half of the book made it worth struggling through the first half. I never knew of what women actually went through during World War II as war correspondents and what they had to do to be allowed the same chances as men. A male photographer or journalist would be given permission immediately to go to the front to cover the war while a female photographer or journalist (in her fitted Saks Fifth Avenue uniform that she was required to wear) needed to go AWOL to get that same opportunity. Even then there was no guarantee their work would be published, because of their AWOL status, unless they allowed a man to take credit or it was published uncredited. The history this books teaches and the glimpse it gives into war from a woman’s viewpoint is fascinating and ultimately, The Race for Paris is worth the read.

“It is quite a job being a woman, isn’t it; you cannot do your work and simply get on with it because that is selfish, you have to be two things at once.” - Journalist Martha Gellhorn in an April 28, 1944, letter to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

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Profile Image for Kristine.
700 reviews15 followers
August 11, 2015
Original review can be found at http://kristineandterri.blogspot.ca/2...

** I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

I have to start out by saying that I am a huge fan of historical fiction and books surrounding both World Wars both fiction and non fiction. It would not be an exaggeration for me to say that I have read hundreds of them. Just when I thought I had read a story from every angle along came The Race for Paris. I have read many books about strong women and their roles during the war but never about a woman journalist and photographer racing to the action to do their job. I was hooked. I absolutely adored everything about this book from the writing to the characters in it. Although the story was fictional it wasn't hard to tell that a lot of time, thought and research went into making it as accurate as possible.

There is nothing I love more than reading a book about a strong female character and this one gives us not one but two. Both Jane and Liv were easy to like and easy to route for. Perhaps it is the strong female in myself that found myself relating to them in many ways. I am not the type of person that stands down if I am told I can't do something because I am a woman and that is exactly who Jane and Liv were. Of course, times were a lot different and they were in a war zone which made the obstacles for the two of them even more of a challenge. The easy friendship and bond between the two of them was beautiful to read.

I wasn't sure of the direction the story was going to take when Fletcher entered the picture and part of me worried unnecessarily. The love and friendship between the three of them as they struggled towards Paris and farther was beyond what I am capable of putting into words. I could say beautiful or poetic but it just wouldn't do it justice. All I can say is that it was a real pleasure to read.

After reading this book I really want to know more about the female journalists and photographers during the war and may have to do a little research to find out more. I know I have loved a book when it makes me want to know more.

I laughed, I cried and I couldn't put it down. It was a beautifully told story about an ugly time in our history that I won't soon forget. I would highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction about war.
August 26, 2016
A clamant story as Clayton guides you through the harsh and challenging environment of chaos in minute details of WWII. The peruser feels part of the determined threesome.

Clayton excels with her characters three dimensionality. Their history's revealed, fears admitted, dreams shared, disappointments along with struggles, creating a true intimacy with the audience. The cast has incredible depth, you know their hearts and minds. Impeccable particulars as you taste the food, witness the bombs drop, endure bitter temperatures, smell of cordite in the air and attempt to banish the carnage around you from your memory, you are knee-deep in the action with Fletcher, Liz and Jane.

Liz is an unforgettable protagonist, her determination, bravery and passion matches her willingness to put her life on the line to be among the first to witness the Allied liberation of Paris. She stays with you long after the cover is closed, the click of her camera lingers in the air.

An exciting story with rogue, trailblazing women risking it all to be first to prove their journalistic abilities equal with talent. Both characterization and narrative wonderfully rendered, extremely well done.

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722 reviews27 followers
September 2, 2015
I went to an author event for this book the day after I first heard of it (from Dorothy Hearst), and was very impressed with the author talk. Happily, the book lived up to my high expectations! The author talk focused on the nonfiction story that inspired the novel, apparently because the author is a historian as well as novelist, and so is at least as invested in the facts behind her story as in her reshaping of it into fiction. The story concerns two women, a journalist and a photographer, trying to be the first to document the liberation of Paris in 1944. Since my father was a press officer at that time and place, I was naturally drawn to the story. The story is beautifully told, and does not hold back on the horrors of war or the excitement of the journalists as they race to get the "scoop" (and ambivalence about caring about their professional success in the middle of war). There's also some romance amidst the carnage, because as the author said at the bookstore event, "Who doesn't like a love story?" So if you like character-driven fiction, read this. If you like history, read this. If you like both, read this. (Are you getting the message?)
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