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The Lost Girls of Paris

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From the author of the runaway bestseller The Orphan’s Tale comes a remarkable story of friendship and courage centered around three women and a ring of female spies during World War II.

1946, Manhattan

Grace Healey is rebuilding her life after losing her husband during the war. One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, she finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a ring of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war, and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances

377 pages, Hardcover

First published January 29, 2019

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About the author

Pam Jenoff

27 books4,891 followers
Pam is the author of several novels, including her most recent The Woman With The Blue Star, as well as The Lost Girls of Paris and The Orphan's Tale, both instant New York Times bestsellers. Pam was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her master’s in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The position provided a unique opportunity to witness and participate in operations at the most senior levels of government, including helping the families of the Pan Am Flight 103 victims secure their memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, observing recovery efforts at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing and attending ceremonies to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of World War II at sites such as Bastogne and Corregidor.

Following her work at the Pentagon, Jenoff moved to the State Department. In 1996 she was assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland. It was during this period that Pam developed her expertise in Polish-Jewish relations and the Holocaust. Working on matters such as preservation of Auschwitz and the restitution of Jewish property in Poland, Jenoff developed close relations with the surviving Jewish community.

Having left the Foreign Service in 1998 to attend law school at the University of Pennsylvania, Jenoff practiced law at a large firm and in-house for several years. She now teaches law school at Rutgers.

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Profile Image for Matt.
899 reviews28k followers
March 27, 2020
“And now go set Europe ablaze!”
- Winston Churchill to Hugh Dalton, first director of the Special Operations Executive

It has been awhile since I read a book with a wider gap between idea and execution. The concept of Pam Jenoff’s The Lost Girls of Paris is excellent: a World War II thriller based on the missions of the real-life women of the Special Operations Executive. Unfortunately, this great idea is squandered in a book of such mediocrity I hesitate to say anything further.

But I will, with regrets.

The Lost Girls of Paris is focused on three women operating in two different timelines, a needless convolution that insistently strips what little drama emerges organically from the narrative. These three women are “characters” in only the loosest sense of the word. They all have names, and each are given exactly two attributes, with one of those attributes the fact that they have two X chromosomes. Eleanor is in charge of the female operatives, and aside from being a woman, she is outspoken. Maria is one of her agents, and her secondary attribute is – and there is really no other word for it – stupidity. Eleanor and Maria share the same timeline, operating mostly in 1944, in the weeks leading up to the D-Day landings in Normandy. Grace exists in 1946. Her secondary attribute is widow, a circumstance that defines her.

Things begin with Grace in postwar New York City. She is on her way to work and is very flustered because she has just slept with her dead husband’s best friend. In fact, she cannot get the “delicious-but-wrong-smell of Mark’s aftershave” out of her head. Typically, when I read a line like that, on literally the second page of the book, I quit reading. I probably should have followed that instinct.

Anyway, Grace wanders into Grand Central Station and sees an abandoned suitcase. For inexplicable reasons, she opens up the suitcase and finds some pictures of women in uniform. For inexplicable reasons, she takes those pictures. For further inexplicable reasons, she embarks on a crusade to find out who those women are. The ridiculous absence of motivation for any of these actions is a hallmark of The Lost Girls of Paris. Grace has no good reason for doing any of the things that she does; her actions are dictated by plot mechanics, which is too bad, because Grace’s plot is entirely needless. More than that, it is a lame distraction. Eleanor and Marie are in London and Occupied France respectively, in a life and death situation. That is drama (or at least it would be, in a better book). Grace is in postwar New York, getting the vapors every time she thinks about Mark. That is boring.

This is not to say that the chapters concerning Eleanor and Marie are any better (the book is split into viewpoint chapters shared between the three women), because they certainly are not. They share the same slapdash plotting and reason-free decision-making that mar our time with Grace.

The problem is the central conceit that Eleanor would be put in charge of secret agents, and that Marie would be allowed to be one of those agents.

None of it makes sense. Eleanor recruits Marie to be an agent. Why? Good question. Apparently she speaks excellent French. Beyond that, she is nothing more than a vessel of impulsive and bizarre decisions. To paraphrase the movie Home Alone, Marie “is what the French call les incompeténts.” At almost every inflection point in the novel she does something so baffling that it utterly destroys any sympathy you might have for her.

For example:



It is hard to know who to blame. Eleanor, for her lack of perception. Marie, for her inability to ever be right, even by accident. Me, for expecting some internal logic that is not at odds with an ordinary understanding of the universe.

Of course, it would be unfair to make Marie carry the entire burden of unfathomable judgment. Indeed, she apparently exists in a world in which common sense and reason have been banished. At one point, Eleanor becomes frustrated with Marie during training, because Marie is terrible at being a secret agent. In a fit of temper, Eleanor destroys Marie’s radio, and then orders her to put it back together. Subsequently, despite Marie’s total lack of fitness for the job, Eleanor taps her for insertion into Occupied France. What’s more, she sends Marie to France with the exact same radio she destroyed, and forced Marie to put back together! This has repercussions.

Jenoff has an extensive and laudable resume, including a master’s in history from Cambridge, a juris doctorate, and experience working with the State Department. Yet, in spite of this, nothing in The Lost Girls of Paris feels the least bit realistic or authentic.

For example, even though the SOE operates in the shadows, in putative confidentiality, no one knows the first thing about secrecy (which is not to tell everyone everything the first time you are asked). When Marie gets to training, she starts asking questions. A woman named Josie tells her to stop, since their mission is classified. It’s good advice. However, after a couple seconds have elapsed, Josie immediately answers all of Marie’s questions. The same thing happens with Eleanor, who tells Marie to stay in her lane, and then proceeds to fill her head with operational intelligence. When Marie gets to France, she meets with her circuit (led by a man who does not speak French!), and again, is told everything about the operation. This is nuts, and not how intelligence operations actually work. You don’t allow a person to marinate in secrets, and then put them in a position where they can be captured and tortured. This basic field-craft is ignored by everyone.

Marie’s purpose in going to France is to bomb a nameless bridge for vague reasons. This should have been the narrative focus, since this is supposed to be a thriller (and as tired as it is, I'm always up for the old we-gotta-bomb-a-bridge mission). Unfortunately, it is treated as an afterthought.

Almost immediately, Marie is sidetracked by a man. Frankly, I found this insulting, and part of a larger problem with The Lost Girls of Paris. You have three major female characters, and two-thirds of them can’t think straight in the presence of a male. When Marie meets Julian, the non-French-speaking leader of a French-based circuit of saboteurs, she immediately reverts to a twelve year-old. Her literal thoughts: “Some might call [Julian] good looking, including herself, if she hadn’t disliked him from the start.”

Like any good romantic comedy, Marie instantly gets over her dislike (Julian made her sleep in a shed, which is apparently a privation that Eleanor’s training failed to prepare her for) and falls instantly, implausibly in love with him. There is no reason for these feelings, as the two do not share any chemistry or exchange any meaningful thoughts or words. Nevertheless, Marie is entirely ready to betray her mission, her country, and her comrades for this puddle-shallow relationship. Her lack of agency in this regard is astounding. Apparently, she can’t be in Occupied France five minutes before getting knock-kneed over the first cute boy she meets. It would have been nice to have one female character who was brave, clever, and goal oriented. Instead, in a book full of women who are caricatured as impulsive, shortsighted, and lacking in accountability, Marie stands out. The portrait Jenoff paints is disappointing.

The Lost Girls of Paris is filled with leaden dialogue, tired clichés, and sloppy writing. Several examples stood out, and I made note of them, but I feel like I'm already a step past belaboring my point. However, I would be remiss if I did not offer this:



I never pick up a book expecting it to be bad (except when I occasionally hate-read Norman Mailer). This was no exception. I picked it up with high hopes. Whenever I dislike something this intensely, I try to ask myself: Am I the problem? There are times when, yes, I can admit I am probably not the target audience. Here, though, we are dealing with a historical thriller set during one of my favorite time periods. More than that, I think it's a fantastic idea to find different voices (in this case women) to tell well-worn stories.

Yet, this did not work. Indeed, it has left me searching for something nice to say.

Recently, my wife and I been looking for a new house. During one visit, our realtor – who dabbles in house flipping – kept excusing the various cosmetic deficiencies by assuring us that “the house has good bones.”

The Lost Girls of Paris has good bones. It is based on a really good idea, one that is bursting with possibilities. Moreover, it shines a light on a mostly-forgotten sacrifice by a small group of women, a sacrifice that gets lost in general histories of World War II. There really were women who gave the last full measure for a cause in which they believed. For instance, Noor Inayat Khan (upon whom Josie seems based) was captured and executed at Dachau with a bullet to the back of her head, her last word reportedly Liberté.

Unfortunately, this novel does no credit to the women of the SOE. About the only thing I got out of it was a desire to know more of the actual history, and a hope that someday better use will be made of this material.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,686 followers
August 5, 2021
I wish I had a better experience with and more positive things to say about this book. I went in worried about it being another “Girl-in-the-title” book or just another entry in the oversaturated “Girl-living-through-WWII” genre. While it was definitely both of these things, it was neither of those that led to this being a frustrating read.

The book was way too cheesy. If a book is supposed to be fun, silly, or light-hearted, cheesiness is a thing to be celebrated and embraced. This book was supposed to be a dark, WWII era mystery so I was not expecting dialogue leading to eye rolling or scenarios causing me to audibly groan. I feel like the biggest offender in this case was bizarre insta-love. While the following is not exactly what happened, it would be like the main character was getting shot at, some random guy shows up to save her, and then the next page they are kissing and have declared their undying devotion to each other.

The book was way too convenient. “Oh, silly me, I accidently tripped over something! What is it? Oh look, a major plot point!” “Goodness, I just parachuted into Europe and need to be careful of who I meet out here in the middle of nowhere! Why hello there, who are you? The exact person in all of Europe I need to find? Excellent!” There are a few other scenarios like this – and, I know in fiction there sometimes have to be convenient turns of events to keep the plot moving. But, in this case, the conveniences started as a snowball at the top of the mountain and quickly became an avalanche!

The book had way too many giant plot jumps. One of the best parts of many stories is meeting the characters and watching them develop. Or, you learn of a key goal in the story and you watch as everything progresses to a climax. Several times in this book, we met a person as a rookie and at the beginning of the next chapter, they were the MVP. Another time, you learn what the main characters are attempting to do and it sounds very complicated and like it will involve a lot of planning and organizing moving parts. Next thing you know, it is done. This is another case where at times you may need to move events along by making a jump, but I just kept feeling like giant chunks of story were missing. I seriously several times looked back through what I had read to see if I had missed something!

I liked the story okay, but in the realm of WWII fiction it is not in the upper echelons. Maybe you will enjoy it more than I did and can look past the issues I mentioned above. But, for me, it is a bit of a dud.

Many thanks to Park Row for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I am sorry that this honest review could not have been a better one in support of the book!
Profile Image for Mary Beth .
377 reviews1,596 followers
April 17, 2019
4.5 stars!

This is a historical fiction novel about women working with the SOE as spies during the World War II. The setting takes place in France and is inspired by true events. There are girls who are recruited and trained. One of the girls who are recruited is Marie, who is a single Mom.

Eleanor Trigg is the leader of a ring of female secret agents who are deployed out of London during the war. There were twelve woman that were sent to Occupied Europe as radio operators and couriers to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery.

Grace Healey had lost her husband during the war. She finds a suitcase that was abandoned, hidden beneath a bench. She decides to open it and she finds lots of photographs of different woman. She decides to take the photographs with her. Grace then discovers that the suitcase belongs to Eleanor Trigg. Grace then is drawn to Marie, a young single mother, turned agent whose very brave and courageous mission overseas, reveals a remarkable story of friendship and betrayal.

I loved this book. Usually books of World War II are so graphic and dark and it was nice to have a change, since this one wasnt that way at all. I am enjoying the historical fiction genre more and more because they usually are inspired by true events. We need books like this so that are history will be remembered and not forgotten. It is so great to read a book that gives you knowledge.

I felt that I was back in the 1940's with all of these characters. The author did a great job in the development of the characters and I loved the dynamics. My favorite character was Marie. She was so daring, brave and courageous.
This book was also so beautifully written.
I am looking forward to reading her book, The Orphan's Tale and have it on hold on Overdrive.

This was a Traveling Sister read and I always love reading with them because it always is a great and fun discussion.

I want to thank Edelweiss, Park Row/Harlequin and the author for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Available Now
February 2, 2019
4.5 stars! Another outstanding novel by Pam Jenoff!

This fascinating and unforgettable story, inspired by true events, revolves around a handpicked group of British female spies sent to France by a top secret government division during WWII. Weeks of rigorous training aim to prepare these young women to venture into unknown territory, planting themselves as everyday French citizens, intending to smoothly transition into society. Putting their lives largely at risk, they plan to connect with the local resistance members, send back critical information and complete various goals of sabotage.

This book was exceptional! Extremely engrossing storyline. Beautiful and brilliant writing. Endearing and unforgettable characters. Smooth and seamlines timeline transitions. Suspense surrounding every chapter. The presentation, pace and flow of the story was perfection.

It is a deeply affecting novel that explores a shocking and largely unknown piece of wartime history, bringing to light the immense bravery and determination these women had in being able to step up and immerse themselves in this opportunity. As always, the fact that this was based on true events made the book even more powerful for me. If you enjoy historical fiction, you do not want to miss this! My one tiny critique was that I could have done without the romance.

This was a Traveling Sister read. To find this review, please visit our blog at:

https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com/2...

Thank you to Edelweiss, Park Row Books and Pam Jenoff for providing me with an ARC to read and review!

Expected date of publication: February 5, 2019.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,424 reviews9,000 followers
January 25, 2023
Vivid. Inspiring. Moving.



The Lost Girls of Paris drew me in from the very beginning and it never let go.

This is a compulsively readable story!



Following three perspectives, this Adult Historical Fiction novel weaves together a beautifully intricate story of a group of women working Special Ops during WWII.

The reader learns of the development of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) Women's Unit and follows along with the founder and head of that unit, Eleanor, as well as with one of the women, Marie, recruited to go undercover in Paris.



The third, loosely connected perspective, Grace, is a young woman living in NYC in 1946. After a night she would just as soon forget, Grace discovers an abandoned suitcase in Grand Central Station thus linking her to the others.

Unable to quash her curiosity, she opens the case and discovers photographs of young women. She becomes obsessed with finding out their story and why their photos ended up abandoned at Grand Central.



Grace begins to investigate the mystery of the suitcase and discovers so much more than she could have ever anticipated.



Loosely based on true events, this story brings history to life.

Although this is fiction, it made me think about and appreciate the real women who actually went through this type of situation and sacrificed so much for their country and what they believed was right.



Despite the fact that this is a heartbreaking story, it is also an inspirational story and I hope other people draw from it what I did.

Jenoff did a fantastic job writing this story and I think, again, although the women in this story are fictional, she did a great service to the ACTUAL women of the SOE, and their memory, by bringing their existence into the light.



I hope they turn this into a film. I think it could translate to that medium really well and would help to bring this story to the attention of a wider audience.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Park Row Books, for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and am absolutely in love with this book. I can't wait for more readers to get their hands on it so we can discuss!
Profile Image for Angela M (On a little break).
1,270 reviews2,217 followers
January 10, 2019
4.5 stars

I wasn’t planning on reading this book. I had previously read two books by Pam Jenoff, and while I thought they were important books on the Holocaust, I just didn’t connect with the characters. I was offered an advanced digital copy by the publisher but didn’t immediately accept it. Then a lovely Goodreads friend sent me a paper version of the advanced copy. Then I saw some rave reviews by some of my trusted Goodreads friends. Those were enough things to convince me to read it and I’m really very glad I did. If I hadn’t read it I would have missed learning about such admirable women, courageous women who played an active and important role during WWII. I found this to be a fast paced, tension filled story that had me hooked enough to read it in two days because I came to care about the characters.

The focus of the story is on three women, spanning from England to France to the US from 1943 to 1946. Grace Healey, finds a suitcase in Grand Central Station that leads her on a search to find out about the women whose pictures she has taken from the suitcase. Eleanor Trigg works for the Special Operations Executive in England and her job is to run the top secret program placing women in France as radio operators, but who actually play a variety of roles to sabotage the Nazis. Marie Roux is one of the women recruited by Eleanor, selected because of her perfect French. There were other women, too, most notably Josie who befriends Marie on her first day of the arduous training. There are lesser characters, one of whom I fell in love with , the little boy Sammy, a Jewish refugee who comes to Grace’s attorney boss because he needs a place to live.

To say more about the plot would be giving the story away, so I’ll just say that it was harrowing and poignant. It was about brave characters who wonderfully represent the real brave women who took on these dangerous missions. It was about friendship and about women realizing their worth and strength in these endeavors, previously reserved for men. There have been a number of books over the last few years about women who played a role in WWII, the unsung heroes who acted as spies, decoders, mathematicians and in the case of this book, their mission was sabotage against Hitler and the Nazis. Pam Jenoff is among the writers deserving of praise for bringing to our attention the bravery and the contributions of the women of the SOE. While Jenoff makes a point of telling us in an ending note, that this story was inspired by some real people and events, this is a work of fiction. She made it feel very realistic, created characters who could easily have been the brave women of the SOE.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Park Row/Harlequin through NetGalley.
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
771 reviews12.1k followers
December 29, 2018
Historical novel that tells the story of fierce women who served as British secret agents during WWII. This is a story about friendship, love, and tenacity.

The plot is intriguing: British women are recruited to assist the military during WWII. They are trained to serve on the ground as operatives in France. Not only was this an extremely dangerous and risky mission, but it also is one that was filled with betrayal.


The reader experiences the plan to recruit and train the women through Eleanor Trigg’s character--the woman responsible for thinking up the idea to bring women into the operation. Through Marie’s character, we learn of the danger and excitement of serving as an agent. With Grace, the reader comes to discover not only what happened to the women who served, but also what led to their downfall.

Inspired by true events, The Lost Girls of Paris made me want to learn more about the women who served in the SOE, especially those who lost their lives for their country. Marie’s story was most intriguing. Being on the ground with her character helped me get a sense of the fear and sacrifice of being an operative.

Oftentimes when reading historical fiction, I find myself shaking my head at elements that feel contrived. Thankfully, I didn’t experience any moments like this while reading The Lost Girls of Paris! It is clear that Jenoff did her research and her attention to detail captures another time.

The Lost Girls of Paris has a good amount of tension and suspense. It is fast-paced and easy to read. However, some moments are hard to witness, especially closer to the end.While I was most interested in Marie’s story, Eleanor’s and Grace’s chapters held my attention for the most part--but I was always anxious to return to Marie’s character.

Overall, I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy historical fiction and WWII novels.

Thank you to Kim at Park Row Books for providing me with an ARC of The Lost Girls of Paris!

Profile Image for Michelle.
588 reviews443 followers
February 22, 2019
2.5-3 stars. Disappointed...don't hate me people!!!

Despite owning several Pam Jenoff books this the first one I have read! I definitely will give her another shot as I respect her research and creativity (for coming up with this story) and I was happy to learn something new. I enjoyed how the story was told from three different perspectives (kind of a past, present & future) so that you were always seeing the story from a different angle. I think this was the strongest part of the book.

My lower rating has a lot to do with the character of Marie. Please do not go any further if you do not wish to have some plot points spoiled!!



Maybe too much time was spent focusing on the research and believability kind of fell by the wayside. Whatever it is, maybe I'm being too picky, but the above points really bothered me.
Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :) .
960 reviews2,566 followers
February 4, 2019
***NOW AVAILABLE***

I read a lot of historical fiction and I had read “The Orphans Tale” by Pam Jenoff and really enjoyed it. I most recently read “The Light Over London” by Julia Kelly which was about the Brtitish “gunner girls” who worked atop London’s rooftops calculating the firing of anti-aircraft guns.

This novel drew me in from the beginning, it was a quick, satisfying read with characters that I could root for. The story starts in 1946 Manhattan when a young woman, Grace, comes across a suitcase in Grand Central Station. She is running late for work but looking inside the suitcase she sees the photographs of 12 young women with their names on the back and on a whim takes them with her. When she returns the next day for the suitcase, it is gone. She decides to try and learn who these women are and their fate. She is a recent widow, her husband killed while in training for the Army, the war is still a very real part of her life, even though it is officially over.

Eleanor Tripp was working closely as a secretary for the Secret Operations Unit (SOE) an agency in London which was created to sabotage German efforts in France, all presumably for the invasion of Normandy within a few months. Eleanor convinces the Director that women would be the most useful as they could blend in with French women, particularly if they spoke French fluently. Soon a plan was formulated to train the women that were hand picked for this job, they were dropped into France, expected to find a safe house and transmit information back and forth from London to their locations within France, they were extensively trained in radio transmissions. Ms. Tripp was in charge of the entire women’s corp of volunteers and cared deeply about the girls.

Marie is one of the group of women dropped into French territory, alone, with little to go on besides her instincts and a map. She makes it to a safe house with the help of the leader of the entire operation in France, known as Vesper (his real name is Julian). Marie begins her work of transmitting messages until she starts noticing messages that seem inconsistent and incorrect to her. Within weeks she will find out the reason. Julian and his cousin Will tell her that there is something very wrong about the operation, someone has betrayed them, but who? Is it one of the girls, someone back in London? Marie is told to get out of France, but her pilot, Will, never shows up for the planned extraction.

The story is told from the POV of Eleanor, Grace and Marie and they are all equally interesting. The more I read, the more I enjoyed the book. I don’t want to reveal any more of the plot for fear of spoilers but it was definitely a great story. The author’s note doesn’t tell us how much of the book is based on fact, perhaps that will come out when the book is published in January 2019.

I found a lot of interesting information on the following website, if you care to explore more:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwar...

I think most fans of historical fiction will enjoy this book with yet another example of how much women contributed to the war effort.

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley.
Profile Image for jv poore.
606 reviews196 followers
April 23, 2022
One simple statement changed the course of Eleanor’s life forever.

It was 1943 when the infuriated Director of Special Operations Executive called a meeting. As his secretary, Eleanor was present. As his metaphorical right-hand, she understood the operations better than anyone else in the room. The SOE, created three years prior to light Europe up with sabotage and subversion, had run smoothly and successfully until now.

Too many agents were being caught, and the captures seemed to quickly follow infiltration. The Director demanded to know why. The answer so apparent, it exploded from Eleanor, “It’s that they are men.”

After her outburst, albeit an accurate assessment, Eleanor was tasked with recruiting and training female spies. Working harder and longer than she ever imagined, she did everything in her power to ensure the safety and success of ‘her girls’; but she never considered the possibility of a saboteur within the SOE.

This historical-fiction magnificently manages to demonstrate how we’ve come so very far, while simultaneously showing a stubborn stagnation—but in an oh-so-subtle way. The improbable intermingling of three ladies’ lives, over three tumultuous years, spanning several countries, certainly takes center stage.

I was buoyed by the strength, drive and determination of those in training and totally intrigued with the spy techniques. Easily invested in the characters, many emotions were evoked as they worked diligently—both independently and collectively—to identify the traitor in the ranks.

I am psyched to submit this copy to my favorite classroom library. It brings me great joy to introduce historical fiction highlighting how much harder it is for the person breaking through barriers built from determined ignorance and I know the students will love Ms. Jenoff’s entertaining and engaging writing.

This review was written for Buried Under Books by jv poore with gratitude to Park Row Books for providing an ARC that I can pass on to my favorite classroom library.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,687 reviews14k followers
January 18, 2019
3.5 Women operatives during WWII, and the dangers they faced. I just adored these characters, become very invested in their welfare, wanted them to succeed where the men had failed. When the OSE realized their male agents were being captured, so many men were gone fighting, they stood out like sore thumbs. It is suggested by a woman named Twigg, that females would more easily blend in, and accomplish what they needed to accomplish. She is given control of this very secret program.

The book follows the women as they train, friendships are made, stories are shared. Once deployed to Paris, a few find each other, working for the same circuit. Josie and Marie, one fearless, the other determined to complete her mission. Two timelines, a few years apart, picked up a year after the war has ended, when a young woman finds a suitcase, abandoned in Grand CentrAl Station. Inside, a group of pictures, that will lead her on a trail to putting some erongs, right.

A fast paced story, told well. That is except for the romantic bits, which seemed almost thrown in as an aside. Those didn't work for me, found them a little too obvious snd well corny. Still a interesting read, with some great characters.

ARC from Park Row books.
Profile Image for Liz.
1,917 reviews2,353 followers
December 26, 2018

4.5 stars

Now this is what historical fiction is meant to be! A wonderful story that draws you in quickly and completely while teaching you about something you knew nothing about.

As is typically the case, this one is told through two storylines. Right after WWII, Grace finds an abandoned suitcase in Grand Central which contains the photos of a dozen young women. The women turn out to be agents of SOE, couriers and saboteurs sent behind enemy lines into France. It turns out the suitcase belonged to Eleanor Trigg, the woman who ran the operation and was killed in a car accident that morning outside the station.

The second story details what happened with those women during 1944. They are part of the prep team ahead of the Normandy invasion.

So often, with dual storylines, I feel myself drawn to one much more than the other. But not here. There is a good amount of suspense to both and I was equally invested in the characters of both stories. We know from the book’s blurb that these women never make it home, but how did things end for them and who was to blame? That’s what first Eleanor and then Grace seeks to discover.

The book is not without its flaws. It would have been better for chapters to include months in addition to years to more firmly cement the time period. One scene near the end of the book was definitely unbelievable. I would have also appreciated an author’s note telling me how much of the book and which characters were based on real people and events. But I read an advance copy, so maybe this has been rectified in the actual book.

My thanks to Park Row Books for an advance copy of this novel.

Profile Image for Larry H.
2,440 reviews29.4k followers
December 6, 2018
4.5 stars.

C'est magnifique!!

In 1946, shortly after World War II ended, Grace Healey is living in New York, fleeing for an anonymous life in the city after the tragic death of her husband. One morning on her way to work she takes a detour through Grand Central Station, where she trips over a suitcase hidden beneath a bench.

She can't resist opening the suitcase, and when she finds a group of photographs, each of a different woman, she can't seem to explain why she has this powerful need to keep them.

Grace soon finds out that the suitcase belonged to Eleanor Trigg, a British woman who ran operations for a group of female spies during the war. These women were deployed throughout Europe, given missions as radio operators, couriers, and other necessary positions to help defeat the Nazis. Twelve of these women—the women in the photographs Grace found—never returned home. This motivates Grace to try and figure out what happened to them, and what Eleanor Trigg was looking for in New York City.

Grace's quest to uncover the truth is juxtaposed with the story of two other women. We follow Eleanor as she is tapped to create this program that brought women into the war as special agents, then tries to understand what is going wrong as her agents are being captured and messages are being compromised, and then, after the war, she, too, wants to understand what happened to the women under her supervision. The book also follows Marie Roux, one of Eleanor's special agents, a young mother who wasn't really sure she was cut out for this type of mission, yet found her bravery and strength just when she needed it most.

The Lost Girls of Paris is inspired by true events. It really does a great job putting a human face on those courageous people, particularly young women, who risked everything to help defeat those seeking to destroy the world.

I am not one who typically reads historical fiction—in fact, I think I've read one other work of historical fiction this year. But when I was offered a chance to read a pre-publication copy of The Lost Girls of Paris , something about the book intrigued me. I thought it was an excellent book, full of rich characters, suspense, emotion, and historical details, all of which made it a tremendously fast read. (I read the entire book in one miserably rainy day.)

I'm new to Pam Jenoff's books, but I was really impressed with her storytelling ability and the evocative imagery she used. I felt the different conditions Marie found herself in, I heard the noises of the city as Grace encountered the suitcase at Grand Central Station. The book took a little bit to build up momentum, but it really hooked me, as I hoped I'd get answers to all of the questions the characters raised.

If you're not a fan of historical fiction, don't be dissuaded from reading The Lost Girls of Paris . It's an excellent novel, a great character study, and even has some suspense, as you wonder how everything will be resolved. If you are a fan of this genre, you probably already want to read it! (And if not, you should!)

Park Row Books provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,335 reviews1,821 followers
January 22, 2019
THE LOST GIRLS OF PARIS is a story I wanted to love. It's an excellent premise, with multiple POV and some overlapping timelines, of three women during and after the second world war. One a spy, another her commander, and a civilian who is compelled to pursue the truth of their story after piecing together their identities. It sounds amazing, right? If only.

Not only was the writing slow, dull, halting and unpolished (not something I think is to blame from an ARC format perspective), but the characters were.. kind of tossed about. They either felt completely out of their depth (the spy) or were compelled to move the plot forward for reasons that aren't very clear (the civilian) while both (well, all three, actually) drag around a bunch of backstory that is littered with hardships as if that was the only she could actually make them interesting. Despite the fact that one of them was a spy and should've been awesome because lady spy in WWII. But as a result of their lack of personalities, and abilities, I suppose I can see why the author made a point to give us something to distinguish them. Which, if you're curious, are the following : widower, survivor, and single mother.

Don't even get me started on the frustrations of sending someone to do a job that you don't fully believe they can do (which we get to witness when, as an example, the spy leaves her radio at the safe house, in Nazi occupied France, despite protocol saying she is to destroy it, and then actually returns to the safe house that she's fairly sure has been compromised to collect the radio because she left it behind. facepalm emoji), drag them all over the place and throw them into situations where they have little to no information, and then have a male character get mad at them for asking questions.. only for these two people to fall in love.

But it isn't restricted to just one POV/plotline, oh no. To make matters worse, there are multiple of these shoehorned in pseudo-love stories that seem to blossom over the course of, like, days, and take away even more credibility from the whole story.

The characters are painfully one dimensional, we have time-waster romances, and everything ends up reading really hyper dramatic or just completely unbelievable. Which I feel is a total disservice to this story and the real women, and true events, it is inspired by. I felt no emotional connection, no grief, no relief, no nothing. I was just bored or frustrated by the whole thing.

I thought this was probably going to be a two-star "well you tried" kind of read but in writing this review I've just annoyed myself beyond reason by thinking over all these bits I disliked so much, or was just mystified by, so, yeah. Here we are. This was my first read by Jenoff and while I have THE ORPHAN'S TALE on my bookshelf I'm definitely going to be reluctant to prioritize it after this experience.


** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Profile Image for Holly  B (busy month catching up).
788 reviews1,744 followers
December 30, 2018
I loved it!

Once I started reading and became invested in these wonderful characters and the suspenseful plot, I simply had to  keep on reading...

This took over my day and I set aside chores, appointments and anything else that was causing me to have to put this book down.  It did take a few chapters to get settled into it, then it was easy sailing all the way to the end.  A week later, I'm still thinking of these "girls".

The author does a wonderful job of characterization and I felt that I almost knew some of these women. It is a well researched fictional story, although some events were based on fact.  She includes some fascinating notes at the end of the novel.

Two timelines alternate between New York in 1946 and France in 1944 to tell the story of some women who were recruited and trained to help the resistance in WWII.  There were moments that I was  on the edge of my seat and holding my breath with worry.  There are some surprises and some nail biting moments.  The SS Nazi police literally made my heart race. Just the mention of them lurking around gave me chills.

Full of heart, surprise, love, friendship and betrayal. I adored this book.  Fans of historical fiction with some depth, won't want to miss this gem!

Big thank you to Park Row for my arc!
Profile Image for Tammy.
494 reviews419 followers
November 12, 2018
I have rolled my eyes as many times as I have heard, “This is the next Nightingale”. To be fair, I didn’t hear this regarding The Lost Girls of Paris. Instead, this book is being compared to Lilac Girls and The Alice Network but this one comes very close to Nightingale. I never expected it. It’s a fictionalized account of Vera Atkins and her “girls” who were dropped into France to work with the resistance as saboteurs and radio operators. Another storyline takes place shortly after the war that puts together all of the pieces. This is exciting, believable, eloquent and arresting.
Profile Image for Christine .
568 reviews1,070 followers
January 24, 2019
4.5 (rounded to 5) stars

Wow, this one was a real surprise. I had never read this author before, but was struck by the blurb as well as the title of this novel, and just look at that cover. These factors, plus the fact that several of my Goodreads friends gave it 4 or 5 stars, moved me to give this book a go. I was most impressed!

This WWII historical fiction novel is darker and a bit grittier than many of the other books of this subgenre. It revolves around a small organization of young women willing to risk their lives by being deployed to the war zones of France as radio transmitters. This is a facet of the war that I was unfamiliar with, and I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about these brave women and what they did. There are three narrators of this story, all women. My favorite was Eleanor Trigg, stationed in London, who is the (fictional) founder of this agency of women as part of Churchill’s SOE (Special Operations Executive). The mission of the SOE, which by the way was composed of nonmilitary volunteers, was to sabotage and subvert the Germans in any way possible. The other voices are those of Marie, one of the transmitters out in the field in 1944; and Grace, a young woman who found photographs of twelve of Eleanor’s “girls” in an abandoned suitcase in New York City’s Grand Central Station in 1946. As we follow Grace’s mission to figure out the significance of these photographs, we flash back to 1944 through the eyes of Marie and Eleanor.

This story is laden with tension. These women truly laid their lives on the line for the Allies. The plotline is gripping and emotive; my heart was in my throat on multiple occasions. There is a thread involving romance, but this is minor and not intrusive. There is deception, lies, betrayal, and treachery. We witness the strong bonds women form with each other. We see the true essence of individual human beings unmasked by war. I was glued to this compelling novel. At night I laid in bed thinking about the characters and trying to figure out how all the pieces could possibly come together.

I highly recommend The Lost Girls of Paris to all readers of wartime historical fiction, especially those who love the darker tales such as The
Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

My thanks go to Net Galley, Harlequin - Trade Publishing/Park Row, and Ms. Pam Jenoff for an advanced review copy of this novel. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,054 reviews30k followers
February 5, 2019
The Lost Girls of Paris is historical fiction storytelling at its finest. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

It’s 1946 in Manhattan, and Grace Healey is late for work. She is starting over because her husband was killed during the war, and she has to keep this job to make ends meet.

As she rushes to work, things continue to go awry, when she happens upon a suitcase in Grand Central Terminal. Inside are a dozen photographs of women. In a moment of haste, she takes the photos with her.

Grace later learns the suitcase belonged to Eleanor Trigg…And Trigg’s job? Leading a ring of female secret agents in London during the war. They worked carrying messages and operating radios, all in the name of the resistance. However, these women never returned home, and it’s not known why.

Grace is determined to find out what happened to the women, and she is especially inspired by Marie, a young mother. I can’t say more because I don’t want to give anything away about the plot that isn’t already shared in the synopsis.

Gosh! These women were so brave and inspirational, and I’m so grateful Jenoff brought their stories to life. For a well-researched historical fiction title, The Lost Girls of Paris has substantial page-turning suspense. The pace is quick, and the writing is creamy smooth. There are three narrators, and I was invested in all three.

Overall, The Lost Girls of Paris is engaging, intriguing, suspenseful, and well-written. Fans of World War II fiction and wonderful storytelling will not want to miss this book!

Thank you to the author and publisher for the complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
Profile Image for Whitney.
131 reviews48 followers
March 7, 2019
Overall: I wish I could say I liked this book, but I didn't... For a similar storyline but done much, much better, try The Alice Network by Kate Quinn or learn about the true story that inspired this book 3.5/10

The good: This book had a lot of potential and was based on a portion of the resistance I knew nothing about. The novel is based on the true story of Vera Atkins and her team of Special Operations Executive spies (many of them young women) who advanced into France before D-Day to help the British defeat the Germans. I enjoyed researching and learning more about Vera Atkins so the book resulted in that at least. Unfortunately I can't say much more was good beyond that.

The bad: This book is told from the perspectives of three separate characters and this was a big mistake. Eleanor is the character that represents Vera Atkins and is the only one I enjoyed, somewhat. The other two storylines are awkward, superficial, and I had to suspend disbelief repeatedly. Two of the three storylines have the addition of superficial romance that feels forced, fake, and takes away from the book. Marie, the narrator who actually becomes a spy for the SOE leaves her young daughter to become a spy, then refuses to go back to her because she must look for the love of her life who she has maybe interacted with for all of thirty minutes.
“Her eyes met his and held as they had on the train. But it was daylight now, their feeling unmasked and out of the shadows…” this was pretty much the extent of their relationship, and did I mention, they are trying to get her to leave and go back to her daughter because the Germans find out about about the operation, have infiltrated the operation, and every single women is in danger? Completely logical and believable.. not. And less than fifty pages later he is shot in the face but somehow manages to confess his undying love for her (after being shot in the face) and this is after she breaks down and does exactly what the bad German wants. The writing is not great... The number of times the narrator "bites her lip," or "catches her breath" is a bit over the top and gets very annoying. Do not read this one.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,394 reviews7,265 followers
April 1, 2019
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Historical fiction is not typically my wheelhouse, but when I heard that The Lost Girls of Paris was about a group of female spies in WWII, I was all in. It seems this plotline may be the new Gone Girl as I’ve seen several new releases regarding women in WWII all over my Goodreads’ feed, but I wanted it pretty much due to my one and only experience with this topic - Code Name Verity. The story here is about a woman named Grace who notices a suitcase in Grand Central Station that appears to have been left behind. In an attempt to track down the owner, Grace discovers it was a woman who ran a branch of the Special Operations Executive which used females as operatives a few years prior.

Although a 3 Star rating should never be considered bad by any stretch, since I appear to be on the low end of the spectrum amongst my friends I wanted to make it clear that I read this book in a matter of a few hours, so obviously the page turnability factor was 100% present. It most certainly kept my interest. With that being said, I did have some issues that I couldn’t ignore so let’s get .giffy with it. First of all . . . .



The timeline here was expedited. It seemed like it went from creation of the women’s division to the deployment of the trainees in about 3.2 seconds. And about those trainees. I have this to say about Marie (the one this book chose to focus on) . . . .



Seriously. Homegirl gets dropped in the middle of enemy territory and is basically like “hey guys I’m British pretending to be French. Can somebody help me find my secret hideaway and the radio they’re supposed to be dropping off in order for me to tell all your secrets????” You’re probably assuming I’m over exaggerating, but sadly it’s not by much. I would have preferred to read snippets of all dozen women's experiences (or at least Josie's) in order to counterbalance the "meh" which was Marie.

Which brings me to my biggest gripe of all. This book had so much potential to focus on . . . . .


What happened instead???????




Oh noes . . . . .



This ended up being a pretty chicky option in the historical fiction genre. And the instalove between a supposed spy and the gristled lifer who ran in the entire operative in Paris?????



I need an epi-pen if I’m going to get past the violent allergic reaction I have to that scenario.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Felicia.
254 reviews917 followers
December 11, 2018
Loosely based on real events involving female spies in 1942 war-torn France.
I mean, seriously, what is there not to love about that?

Even before starting this book I was fascinated with the plot so it didn't take me long to become totally enamored.

The story begins in 1946 following Grace after she finds a set of photographs of women in an abandoned suitcase. Her curiosity gets the best of her and she goes about trying to find the identity of these women.

Honestly, I could have done without Grace's entire storyline. The only purpose she really serves is...well, I don't really know. I would have much rathered this story been told exclusively through the actual women who lived it. The narrative surrounding Grace seemed like an unnecessary distraction from the real heart of the story.

Unlike the majority of historical fiction, this book isn't bogged down with a lot of extraneous details that turn what should be a 300 page story into a 500 page paperweight. This is a super fast read compared to most others in this genre. I have to say that the first half of the book was more compelling than the second but overall it was a very enjoyable read.


Thank you Kim with Harlequin Books for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,126 reviews34.9k followers
July 11, 2019
A suitcase found - stories told.

Grace finds a suitcase while traveling through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work. Curious about what is inside, she opens it and finds pictures- each one of a different woman. Who were these women? Who does the suitcase belong to?

Grace soon finds the answer as to who owned the suitcase - a woman named Eleanor Trigg who was the leader of female secret agents deployed out of London during the war. The twelve women who were in the pictures that Grace found, were sent to Occupied Europe to work in various positions to aid in the war. Those women did not return home. What happened to them? What stories do they have to tell?

The book is told using dual time-frames/timelines focusing on Grace, Eleanor and a young mother named Marie. Marie was recruited by Eleanor because of her perfect French. Each of these women has a story to tell. And what a story. This is a story of courage, strength, bravery, sisterhood, treachery, and betrayal. There is some romance thrown in as well.

This book began a little slowly for me but soon, like Grace, my interest was piqued, and I wanted to know more about Eleanor and the women she recruited. While reading this book, I wondered could I have done this? Could I have been this brave, this willing to risk everything? This book is based on real people and events but is a work of fiction. It is at times tense, suspenseful and thought provoking.
Profile Image for emma.
1,784 reviews42.9k followers
December 1, 2020
At a certain point, I had to be honest with myself and say that I don't really like historical fiction.

It is, by and large, boring. Most of the stories are about the same thing (World War II). Most of the characters are just boring old people. Well, not old at the time, but would be old now. And I am young and full of life and have, like any other living person, read a lot about World War II already.

But this book...well, this was cool as hell.

It's about WOMAN SPIES in WORLD WAR II in FRANCE. What more could you ask for?!

AND there were multiple perspectives and I could actually tell them apart.

A real diamond in the rough of the genre, if you ask me.

Bottom line: This took me two years to get to and that is my grave error!!

--------------
pre-review

turns out historical fiction is actually...good sometimes?

review to come / 4 stars

--------------

i'm going to be canceled for reading ARCs two years after they're published. this i know

thanks to the publisher for the ARC, though. i mean it
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,164 reviews883 followers
August 22, 2019
It’s post-war 1946 and young widow Grace Healey is running late for work. As she takes a shortcut through Grand Central Station, she discovers an abandoned suitcase under a bench. In it, she finds photographs of 12 women and something compels her to take them with her. Once Grace learns that the owner, Eleanor Trigg, was killed in an accident that morning, she returns to get the suitcase but it’s gone. As she continues to investigate Eleanor’s life and the identities of the women in those photos, Grace uncovers the story of a secret group of women spies who worked undercover in France on behalf of the British government during World War II.

This is a fictional version of the true story of a female British intelligence officer and the women under her charge in the French section of the Special Operations Executive (SOE). The story transitions between 1944 and 1946, told from Grace and Eleanor’s perspectives, as well as from one of the agents, Marie Roux. The fate of these women following the Allied invasion was unknown and Grace, with the help of a friend, slowly unravels the details. The three narratives provide the full scope of the intrigue with Marie’s account of what was going on in France; Eleanor’s navigation of the management, politics and covert methods of the program; and Grace’s patchwork of what ultimately happened. It was well crafted, the story riveting and intriguing throughout, especially since I was completely unfamiliar with this aspect of World War II.

I love the use of multiple narrators when the story dictates it and I thought the performances were well done, especially those for Eleanor and Marie. I wasn’t as enamored of that for Grace as she sounded a bit more “frivolous” than the character was designed, less serious than she was portrayed. Otherwise, it was an overall exceptional performance.

I read historical fiction in the hopes of learning something and this book delivered well beyond my expectations. My husband is a history buff and he was aware of this unit and the woman on whom Eleanor is based (Vera Atkins). His understanding of the true events supports the author’s points of view, which made it even more credible in my eyes. I’m really glad I opted for the audio version as Eleanor and Marie’s narratives added a level of excitement and intrigue that were heightened through the storytelling. I’m so glad the author decided to tell the story of these brave, resourceful women, even if in the telling we had to learn the distasteful facts surrounding their fate. It’s a story everyone should know. 4.5 stars

Posted on Blue Mood Café

(Thanks to Harlequin Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,878 reviews22.6k followers
February 16, 2019
4+ stars. This historical novel of WWII focuses on an unusual aspect of the war: the British women who were deployed to France under Britain's Special Operations Executive or SOE program to work with the Resistance as radio operators, saboteurs, and couriers.

description
Real-life SOE agent Christine Granville with members of the French Resistance in 1944

Most of the reason for this dangerous venture is that most men were too suspiciously visible in France (since most men were off at war). It was a highly perilous job for these women.
"You're transmitting in Occupied France and the Germans will do anything to stop you." Then her expression grew serious. "Six weeks."

"Excuse me?"

"That's the average life expectancy of a radio operator in France. Six weeks."
We follow this group of women - especially Marie, a young single mother - as they are recruited, go through intensive training, and then are sent over to France ... fully prepared or not.

This is also a dual timeline novel, but not quite like any I've ever read before. The secondary timeline is only a couple of years later, in 1946, when Grace Healey, a young American war widow, finds an abandoned suitcase in Grand Central Terminal in NYC, and impulsively takes a set of a dozen photographs of women from the suitcase. When she tries to return the photos later, the suitcase is gone, and this sends her on a search for the owner of the suitcase and the story behind the women in the photos.

Excellent but heart-wrenching historical fiction. I recommend it.

Bonus material: There's an excellent web page, The Female Spies of the SOE, that tells the true stories of several of the 55 women who served as SOE agents, including Noor Inayat Khan, who was executed in Dachau after being captured and betrayed, and Nancy Grace August Wake, given the nickname “the white mouse” by the Gestapo "because of her uncanny ability to evade capture. When she learned one of the resistance groups no longer had a radio for communication, she rode almost 300 kilometers on a bicycle to make radio contact with the SEO headquarters and arrange for an equipment drop. Despite many close calls, Wake survived the war."

I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher. Thank you!!

Content notes: wartime violence and death. Otherwise this is pretty much clean.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,167 reviews1,212 followers
March 15, 2019
The Lost Girls of Paris opens with Grace Healey trying to maneuver her way through the crowded streets of Manhattan. It's post-war in 1946 and traffic jams and throngs of people are the new norm. Grace decides to take a shortcut through the Grand Central Terminal knowing full well that she's already late for work. A policeman tells her that there has been an auto accident and the individual didn't survive.

As Grace enters into the darkened train station building, her eyes come upon a lone suitcase tucked under a bench. She looks around for an owner. Her curiosity gets the better of her and she opens it. Inside there are a few items of women's clothing and some photos. Surprising even herself, Grace tucks the photos inside her bag. And so our story begins.

Pam Jenoff will hand the microphone, so to speak, to three distinct narrators in this one. Grace begins tugging at the thread in 1946 with the discovery of those photos. Then the timeline will shift back to 1943 when we meet Eleanor Trigg, a wartime secretary working for the SOE (Special Operations Executive). Eleanor speaks up during a staff meeting and is unexpectantly handed the responsibility of recruiting and training women for secret operations. "Nonsense, Trigg. We all know you are the man for the job, if you'll pardon the expression."

And with no other recourse, Eleanor begins her search for able and talented women. It's then that we meet Marie Roux who is the mother of a young girl. Her lover abandoned her and her mother helps with childcare. Being fluent in French will be an asset when the women begin their undercover operations in France.

The training is arduous as the women will be couriers and radio operators. Mental and physical stability are key. Some of the women don't make the final cut and are sent home. Although historical fiction, the premise of this book reflects a real operation implemented during the war. I had hoped that there would have been Author's Notes at the end that would have supplemented the storyline with factual information as to the basis of this novel.

The Lost Girls of Paris is an entertaining read without a doubt. My wish would have been to curtail some of the romance that wound its way into this story. Strong, dynamic women under the weight of a serious task don't have the time or the inclination to be smitten with a handsome face. Focus had to be everything. Decision making also faltered here and there with me questioning the "why" behind certain actions. But all in all, The Lost Girls of Paris has gained high reviews here on GR.

I received a copy of this book through the publisher. My thanks to Park Row Books and to Pam Jenoff for the opportunity.
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,686 reviews2,241 followers
February 8, 2019
4.5 Stars

As this story begins, World War II has ended, and Grace Healy is living in New York City, where she can spend her days without the look of concern and pity on the faces of passersby, unlike her former home. Here, she is just another face in the crowd, nameless and unknown, no one knows her, or that her husband has died. She’s been avoiding Grand Central Station, but on this morning on her way to work she decides to go through there and ends up bumping into a suitcase left under a bench, with no one around to claim it. Curiosity got the better of her, and soon she was opening it, just a little at first, cutting her finger on what turns out to be an envelope containing photographs. A dozen or more apparently unrelated women, some in a military uniform, some not. Her curiosity aroused, she finds herself putting the envelope into her purse and heads for work.

Alternating between Grace’s story in 1946 in New York, Eleanor’s beginning in 1934 in London, as well as Marie’s in 1934 in London, the pieces of the puzzle begin to come together to portray a story of the bravery of a group of women who made up a new segment of the SOE, an organization that was formed in 1940 following Churchill’s orders to “set Europe ablaze.” Women who ranged in age from their teens to those with children and established lives, women from the upper class to working-class were among their ranks. All these women who helped change the world for the better.

Based on the stories of women who served as agents of the Special Operative Executive, this was a very engaging fictionalized account that brings the stories of the women who served in the SEO to light. While the story does have darker moments as a WWII novel, overall it is a story of sacrifice, bravery, friendship, and the experience of working for a cause, something bigger than themselves.


Many thanks for the ARC provided by Park Row Books
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,231 reviews2,934 followers
November 15, 2018
I hadn't even read the synopsis yet when I realized I wanted to read this book. This is one of the rare instances when a book cover completely sold me. The use of the clock just really stood out to me. Thankfully, this turned out to be a compelling historical fiction read which was worthy of a good cover.

It's 1946 and Grace Healey is working in Manhattan after losing her husband during the war. While at Grand Central terminal she discovers a suitcase containing photographs. She soon learns the suitcase belongs to Eleanor Trigg, the leader of a group of female secret agents in London who were sent out on missions as radio operators and couriers during World War 2. Twelve of the women never returned home and what happened to them remains a mystery until Grace decides to go looking for answers. This is a story inspired by real life events and courageous women.

I read one of the author's other books, The Orphan's Tale, recently and while I did enjoy it I struggled at times connecting with the characters. With this book I found it much easier to feel for the characters because the story line during the war is so high stakes and intense it's hard not to feel like you are right there with them. And Grace is also someone to root for as she is trying to make it on her own after the death of her husband. I thought the back and forth timelines during and after the war provided a nice balance to the story. For me the real heart of the story was the importance of not letting these brave women be forgotten.

While the book might not be among my all time favorites for World War 2 historical fiction it is definitely a solid read and worthy of your time if you enjoy the genre.

Thank you to BookishFirst and the publisher for sending me a free advance copy! I was under no obligation to post a review here and all views expressed are my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Ivana - Diary of Difference.
543 reviews689 followers
March 6, 2022
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In the 1940’s, with the world at war, Eleanor Trigg leads a mysterious ring of secret female agents in London. Twelve of these women are sent to Paris to aid the resistance.

They never return home!

Shortly after the war ends, passing through New York’s Grand Central Station, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase beneath a bench. The case is filled with a dozen photographs, each of a different woman.

Setting out to find the women in the pictures, Grace is drawn into the mystery of the lost girls of Paris, their fierce friendship, unthinkable bravery – and, ultimately, the worst kind of betrayal.

Eleanor is a woman that men fear and women hate. Wherever she goes, fear follows. However, in a world of men who lead and men who are in war, she starts a programme in London where she recruits women, prepares them and deploys them to help in the war. The women have to aid the man, transmit radio messages and blend in with the french people. Eleanor makes sure they are prepared for every possible scenario, and she would’ve joined them, if they let her. As much as she seems cruel, she loves her girls like her daughters, and when things go horribly wrong, she blames herself.

Marie never imagined she would be recruited by Eleanor. Leaving her daughter behind and going into the unknown, she is deployed in Paris for a very dangerous mission. But can friendships so easily made survive the dark days of war? And what happens when Marie is one of those twelve women that disappear without a trace, never to be seen again…

And then Grace finds the suitcase full of photos of women and she can’t help but wonder what happened to them. The paths of these three women will indirectly cross over, leaving us, readers, with an amazing story to follow.

The writing is incredible and it transports you right in the 1940’s. Feelings and emotions are overflowing. I am not completely sure how I felt with the ending, as it ended too predictable for my taste, with a lot of unrealistic scenes and no character development, really.

But even despite all that, it warmed my heart and made me rethink my life decisions. The Lost Girls of Paris is a book about women who are brave and loyal. Women who are not afraid to stand up and fight. Women who have everything to lose and nothing to regret. A tale of pure emotion.

Thank you to the team at HarperCollins – HQ, for sending me a paperback ARC copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review.

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Profile Image for ✨Bean's Books✨.
648 reviews2,916 followers
July 28, 2019
Monumentally disappointing...
Grace is late for work one day and ends up having to walk through Grand Central Station. On her walkthrough she finds a briefcase and when she opens that she finds pictures of other women in uniform. She decides to take these pictures with her and embark on a journey to find who these women were/are.
I can't help but wonder why this book has so many 5-star shining reviews. I'm a little curious to know if we are reading the same book here. Okay so let's talk...
The Grace character in the story I found to be completely pointless. There was really no reason for her storyline whatsoever other than finding the briefcase. But then again the author just could have decided to write about Marie and Eleanor without Grace.
Marie is so stupid for lack of a better way to put it. She is completely and without a doubt the worst person that Eleanor could have chosen for the job. Then when Julian hits the stage, she becomes even stupider. And one thing that I had a problem with Julian, he's the leader of a French rebel group and does not speak a lick of French.... W.T.F? But back to Marie, she is willing to give up King & country for Julian and makes the stupidest decisions that just about anybody I've read in a book makes.
I was really hoping for a book that had 3 heroines. A book about their courage throughout the war but instead I got stupidity and a romance that seem to have been thrown in for no reason whatsoever because it doesn't make any sense in the story.
I guess this book was a good idea to start with but the execution of it just completely fell flat. The writing wasn't even that great. I found it choppy and sloppy with lots of holes in the middle.
Unpopular opinion but I personally cannot recommend this book. I know others have loved it dearly it seems but this is not a book that I would recommend to others.
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