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The Milliner's Secret

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4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,986 ratings  ·  175 reviews
London,1937. A talented young woman travels to Paris with a stranger. The promise of an exciting career as a milliner beckons, but she is about to fall in love with the enemy...

Londoner Cora Masson has reinvented herself as Coralie de Lirac, fabricating an aristocratic background to launch herself as a fashionable milliner. When the Nazis invade, the influence of a high-r
...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published July 30th 2015 by Quercus Publishing
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,986 ratings  ·  175 reviews


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Tracy
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historic-fiction
The Milliner's Secret surprised me. I didn't think I was going to like it - how wrong I was.

Cora Masson works in a hat factory in England; her life holds few pleasures. She works long hours to save money and invariably has all that she has earned taken by her drunken violent father.


During a rare day out at the races with her friend Donal, she encounters a handsome stranger, Dietrich von Ebling; to escape her home life she travels to France with him. Once there she reinvents herself
...more
Emma Crowley
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Milliners Secret is the second novel from Natalie Meg Evans. Following on from the success of her début novel The Dress Thief (which won an award) the author takes us back in time to late 1930's London and to Paris during the German occupation in what was the horrific World War Two. I have to admit The Dress Thief is still sitting in my T.B.R and having heard several characters from the first book make a reappearance I was bit apprehensive about reading this one. I don't like reading sequels ...more
Trish at Between My Lines
This review was originally posted on [Between My Lines]I absolutely adored the concept of this book and the pretty cover didn’t hurt either.  In a nutshell, it was a GOOD read with a FAB setting and a FIERCE main character.   I enjoyed it but not quite as much as I had hoped for.



 
Balancing the books is a quick fire review where I list the assets and liabilities of a book (as I see them) and leave you decide if you think this book is worth investing in.

This review was originally posted on [Between My Lines]I absolutely adored the concept of this book and the pretty cover didn’t hurt either.  In a nutshell, it was a GOOD read with a FAB setting and a FIERCE main character.   I enjoyed it but not quite as much as I had hoped for.



 
Balancing the books is a quick fire review where I list the assets and liabilities of a book (as I see them) and leave you decide if you think this book is worth investing in.

balancing

 
The Assets of The Milliner’s Secret by Natalie Meg Evans:

The Setting : Paris during the occupation of World War 2 is one of my favourite settings in books.  And the setting here is vividly described and came to life within the pages.
Cora the main character was intriguing!  She is straight forward and says exactly what is on her mind.  And she is one TOUGH NUT!  She seizes every opportunity life throws at her and runs full speed ahead with them.  It is impossible to squash her, no matter how bad things get.
The romance: Nothing like a hot, forbidden romance to spice things up a little.  And lots of will they, won't they see-sawing.
The fashion: I really enjoyed the glimpses of haute-couture and just how cut throat the high fashion milliner business in Paris was.   And the hats, be still by beating heart, they sound amazing.
Historically Accurate:  This is so important to me.  It’s obviously meticulously researched and it shows.

 
The Liabilities of The Milliner’s Secret by Natalie Meg Evans:

The pace:  For me personally it was too slow.  There was so much description that I got bogged down and it made me lose my connection with the characters.  I did love the characters but I feel they got lost in the detail.  Because I felt the pace dragging, my enjoyment of the book went down in proportion to this.  Which hurts me to say as there were so many other elements that I did enjoy.
Lots of sub-plots:  There is an abundance of connected sub-plots – the fashion industry, domestic abuse, murder, hiding identities, complex romances and friendships, the occupation of Paris, deportation of Jews, the rise of the resistance, espionage, a forbidden love affair.  It felt a bit over ambitious and I don’t think it fully delivered because of this.

 
Investment potential of The Milliner’s Secret by Natalie Meg Evans:
 



 

Overall it’s romantic and engaging and has some terrific characters.  BUT the pace is slow. If you love historical romances with a World War 2 setting,  I would recommend it to you.  Not so much for those who aren’t already dedicated followers of this genre.

Thanks to Quercus Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. ...more
Jennifer
Aug 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
I received this book from NetGalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review.

I am not sure how this book is getting so many rave reviews and I am clearly in the minority here. The Milliner's Secret was a very long, very drawn out novel that never really went anywhere. For the first 100 pages or so, I was very captivated and very interested in where this story was going, but then it go so convoluted and the author spent way too much time going into detail about the war.

Underst
...more
Karen
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
I went into The Milliner's Secret with great hopes. I enjoy novels set in Paris during World War II and saw its 4+ stars. While the premise is intriguing, the result did not live up to its potential. It is quite beautifully written, with a nice use of French and German names and places. However, this book is in dire need of serious editing. It is too long and convoluted, with too many situations that are unnecessary to the story.
Kobby Gyampoh
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
also on http://chicklitpad.blogspot.co.uk

My Synopsis

Imagine This: It’s 1940s in Paris. You make hats for a living. But your dad is beating the life out of you and taking back all your hard-earned money. How’s that living?

A Londoner, you always imagine yourself living your dream in Paris. You’d escape your dad’s fists. You’d ran to Paris and begin a whole new life out there. Paris, the city of lights with many possibilities.

Except you had no idea how dark your future would turn if you
...more
Debbie
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is my second book by this author and I am hooked. While they most definitely can be read as stand alone's, you will notice that several of the same characters show up in both The Dress Thief and this one.

Mostly set in Paris during German occupation, it provides a very entertaining story. Love, intrigue, secrets, lies, adultery, plagiarism, spies, hat making, danger, and abuse come together to make this a story you will long remember.

I love historical fiction about London or Paris during t
...more
Lisa
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow this book was an emotional roller coaster of emotions. WWII in Paris trying to survive and helping others. Cora seemed to put everyone before herself. There were many characters and different story lines going but they always seemed to connect easily.

The author does a wonderful job making you feel as if you are there in the story. You can see her making her hats. I loved it.
Avi
This book was brilliant. I love historical fiction in this period. The plot was great and the characters came alive for me. I didn't want it to end. One of the best books I've read this year :)
Sarah
I was first drawn to this book by the cover. The gorgeous colors and figure dressed so prettily caught my attention while browsing future Amazon titles. When I saw it offered on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read and review. For the most part, expectations were met.

The character of Coralie took some getting used to. In the beginning, she read as a shallow diva out only to further her dreams and poo to everyone else. I found myself feeling no sympathy for her at all. Yet, once
...more
Erica Parker
Confession time: I'm tired of books and films that deal with World War II and the Holocaust. I tend to actively avoid them.

I know. I know.

I'm terrible, right?

It's not that I avoid them because I don't think the period is important. There's other reasons: 1) I feel that we tend to completely ignore other wars and genocides of the 20th century & 2) often, the period is used cheaply.

Let me explain:. The events of World War II and the Holocaust are
...more
Amanda
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book. Natalie Meg Evans is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. Definitely not 'just another book set in occupied France' this book has everything from beautiful hats, industrial espionage and serious danger.
Tracy
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historic-fiction
The Milliner's Secret surprised me. I didn't think I was going to like it - how wrong I was.

Cora Masson works in a hat factory in England; her life holds few pleasures. She works long hours to save money and invariably has all that she has earned taken by her drunken violent father.


During a rare day out at the races with her friend Donal, she encounters a handsome stranger, Dietrich von Ebling; to escape her home life she travels to France with him. Once there she reinvents herself
...more
Tripfiction
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Novel set in Paris (“French was the language of the hat trade”)

The Milliner’s Secret is a follow on to The Dress Thief, set in pre-war Paris but can absolutely be read as a stand alone.

Cora is a Bermondsey girl through and through, with a dad who, at the drop of a hat (no pun intended) would beat seven bells out of her (in other words, thrash her to within an inch of her life). She works in a lowly position at milliners Pettrew and Lofthouse.

Through her work s
...more
Suze Lavender
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cora wants to make something of herself, so when she has the chance to go to Paris she grabs it with both hands. She renames herself Coralie de Lirac and makes sure she is well connected. She's a skilled milliner and her beautiful hats are soon being in high demand. However, there's a price to pay for the life she now leads. Making sure her secrets will remain hidden and being part of a crowd that lives dangerously are taking its toll.

When the Second World War breaks out everyone in
...more
Brianna
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Whoa. This book is basically an epic. I kept thinking of it as "Gone with the Wind" but in Paris during WW2 and with lots of hats. Not that Scarlet and Coralie have anything in common, besides the drive to survive. There are moments where Coralie is rather as clueless has Scarlet at times, but it was interesting to see her grow throughout the book. This is a really long book for the subject. That surprised me, and I thought I would lose interest honestly, but I never did. Coralie is a main chara ...more
Emily
Aug 12, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, unfinished
I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved the beginning, especially the scene at the Derby, and the characters that the author created. I also really like her writing style and all of the great descriptions that she includes in the book. So what went wrong? Honestly, I got bored with the story when Coralie and Dietrich get to Paris. I have tried to convince myself to pick it up to keep reading so that I can give a complete review, but I just haven't been able to make myself do it.
...more
Kimberly
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Milliner's Secret by Natalie Me Evan is the story of a young lady who left the abusive relationship with her father to move to Paris. Cora met a stranger in her travel and he helped her set up her new life as a milliner in Paris.

Set before WWII, Cora befriends a German who is also a high-ranking officer. He becomes her lover but during their relationship he would suddenly disappear and reappear, without any notice. However, she seeks protection from him. She also discovers that h
...more
Toni
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-challenge
Absolutely beautiful! A must read! An epic sweeping love story, a story of humanity, a story of war, and a love affair with Paris. A story filled with love, heartbreak, betrayal, passion, suffering, and hope. Twists and turns galore that will leave you spell bound. Add a heaping dose of glamour and couture fashion. What more can you want in a book? An excellent writer with a fine touch? Natalie Meg Evans is just that. I'd never read anything by this author before but I will read everything of he ...more
Heidi Baird
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It was a sweeping tale of Cora Masson, a poor Londoner in the 1930's who changes her fate and her name when she meets a handsome German man, Dietrich. He takes her to Paris and she begins to work toward her dream of designing and owning a hat store. Time passes as World War II begins and Paris is occupied by the Germans. Dietrich returns to her life - I'm thinking "please don't be a Nazi - please don't be a Nazi" - but he is!
I thought this was a great story of one wo
...more
Jennifer
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable historical novel set mainly in Paris in the 1930s and 1940s. A tad long, but really enjoyed the characters, the well-evoked setting, and learning a little bit about the world of hat design and making. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy to review.
Sheryl
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very well done. The characters seemed real and the plot fit the times.
EileenNH
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book

The heroine of this book demonstrates that life is full of good people who if given a chance can overcome almost any reasonable circumstance.
Brooke Christofferson
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fun book in occupied Paris during WWII- loved it
Daneesha
Sep 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Cole
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good

This was interesting but confusing in parts. The characters were memorable and I really enjoyed coralie . She was very brave
Rachael Burrows
What an exciting book of twists and turns. It captured the spirit of Paris (as I envision it to be in WWII) perfectly. Wonderful read for WWII fans!!
Pearl
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Girl Who Dreamed of Paris written by the super talented Natalie Meg Evans for me was one of the best books I have ever read. From the first page, I was totally involved in the life of the main character Cora Mason, as she runs away to Paris and faces a new life where soon her life will soon be overrun with danger while she tries to become the woman she knows she can be.
When we first meet Cora she is living with her abusive father while working in a factory for a pittance. She goes to t
...more
Agi
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015

"The Milliner's Secret" is a great introduction of Natalie Meg Evans to me. Even though I have her debut novel "The Dress Thief" on my TBR pile, I still didn't come to reading it, which is a real shame and I am going to make it up as soon as possible. I love reading a good historical fiction and this author for sure brilliantly slots into this category.

This is for sure not a quick, easy read, and I don't only mean the number of pages. There are many subplots woven together and connec
...more
Vickie
The Milliner's Secret is the first book by Natalie Meg Evans that I have read and enjoyed it. Actually, I listened to it and it was very loooong but good!

The setting begins in pre-WWII London and travels over to pre-WWII Paris. It runs through occupied Paris and then back to London. Cora is a young girl in London working in a hat factory and through the magic of fiction and influence of a German officer, ends up running a hat shop in Paris. Espionage, war, murder, abuse...you name it, this book had it. I
...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 3 Jul 28, 2015 04:54PM  

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Being a published writer has been Natalie Meg Evans’ goal from an early age. Having achieved her dream, she extracts maximum fun from it by writing the kind of books she has always loved reading. Plotty and immersive, her novels go behind-the-scenes of glamorous worlds, be that haute couture, millinery or the theatre. Her professional experience includes public relations, freelance copywriting and ...more
“hats are God’s way of reminding women that they have heads with brains in them.” 1 likes
“I am an intellectual, a wage-slave, a hunter and also a Bohemian. I am a politician who hates politics, an anarchist who believes in God. I am a warrior who loves peace.” 1 likes
More quotes…