Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The French Photographer” as Want to Read:
The French Photographer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The French Photographer

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  5,461 ratings  ·  768 reviews
Inspired by the incredible true story of Lee Miller, Vogue model turned one of the first female war photojournalists, the new novel by the bestselling author of The Paris Seamstress

Manhattan, Paris, 1942
: When Jessica May's successful modelling career is abruptly cut short, she is assigned to the war in Europe as a photojournalist for Vogue. But when she arrives the army m
Paperback, 448 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Hachette Australia
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The French Photographer, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Megan I thought they might be, but it just seems that the titles go together, as well as the time period. The Paris Orphan is actually called The French Pho…moreI thought they might be, but it just seems that the titles go together, as well as the time period. The Paris Orphan is actually called The French Photographer in other countries. I didn't notice any overlap in characters from one book to the next. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,461 ratings  ·  768 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The French Photographer
Jessica May’s modelling career stalled when she headed for Europe as a photojournalist in 1942. She was only allowed to the hospital camps – women couldn’t go near the front line – and while the male journalists had their own areas to send copy from, Jess and her friend Martha Gellhorn had to do the best they could. It would be the meeting by Jess of Dan Hallworth, paratrooper in charge of many men and well respected by those same men, that would change Jess’ ability within those pages of war, a ...more
Dale Harcombe
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Two and a half stars
In Paris 1942 Jessica May’s successful modelling career is high jacked and abruptly stopped by someone she once cared for and trusted. Jessica is also an excellent photographer. Assigned to the war in Europe as a photojournalist she is thwarted by certain army men who seek to make her life as difficult as possible. With her new friend Martha Gellhorn, wife of Ernest Hemingway, Jessica manages to bend the rules and is taken to the front by paratrooper Dan Hallworth to take pic
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

The French Photographer by Natasha Lester. (2019).

Paris, 1942. Jess's modelling career ends abruptly and she manages to get assigned to the war in Europe as a photojournalist. The army men make her life as difficult as possible but three friendships keep Jess going: journalist Martha, paratrooper Dan and a little girl called Victorine. But Jess's success comes at a price...
France, 2005. Australian art curator D'Arcy arrives at a beauti
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The French Photographer is the fifth novel by best-selling Australian author, Natasha Lester. Art handler and aspiring documentary maker, D’Arcy Hallworth has travelled to France in June 2004 to pack a collection of photographs for exhibition in Australia. D’Arcy has long admired The (anonymous) Photographer’s work, and D’Arcy is sure work of such compassion could only have been done by a woman. At the chateau, Lieu de Réves, D’Arcy encounters The Photographer’s agent, Josh Vaughn, an attractive ...more
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first part of this book could not have been better, I relished the story, the characters and the superb writing.
Come Chapter 26 it all fell apart.
The personal relationships were unrealistic, ridiculous and annoying.
I wish I could say more without giving spoilers, but I can’t.

Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well, I am having a hard time accepting the ending.....
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have no idea where to start with this book, what an intensely, powerful, beautiful, emotional and moving story that was so hard to put down, yet I read slowly and savored every word, as I journeyed through World War 2 with Jess and Dan and then 2005 I got to know D’Arcy as she un-ravels some secrets that cause some more heartbreak but also opens hearts to forgiveness, keep the tissues ready.

Jessica May is modeling for Vogue in New York in 1942 she is a beautiful woman who is open and honest an
Tea Jovanović
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Pure bliss! This author is new voice for me (skipped under my radar somehow)... This novel is recently awarded RNA best historical fiction! And it deserved this award! Right mix of past and present, WWII and nowadays, France... Based upon story of true model turned war reporter, well researched novel... It is the first time I've seen in fiction title author explaining what is taken from where, what is true, what is fiction... (that is usually done in non-fiction or text books)... Love, war, fate ...more
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
A writing star on the rise’, we are just so lucky here in Western Australia to call Natasha Lester one of our very own. She is truly a megastar in the historical fiction world, cementing her place as one of the leading specialists in the field of dual timeline and historical narratives. The French Photographer exudes Natasha Lester’s style, grace, commitment to history and her ability to place the focus on our female trailblazers of yesteryear.

The French Pho
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poignant, heartbreaking, and enthralling!

The Paris Orphan is an absorbing, emotive tale predominantly set in France during 1942, as well as 2005, that is told primarily from two different perspectives; Jessica May, a young model turned photojournalist who journeys to Europe to document the real dangers, consequences, and atrocities of war; and Darcy Hallworth, a young art handler who inadvertently stumbles upon a family history littered with secrets and sacrifices while preparing a collection of
Lisa Zetes
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I totally loved the 1st part of this Historical fiction and couldn't wait to keep reading it. Then after midway into the book and after the WWII era I started losing interest in the book. This is so sad I had such high hope's for this book and it was more of a soap opera ending, needless to say very disappointed. ...more
Theresa Smith
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Last year, when I reviewed The Paris Seamstress, I wrote that it was my favourite novel by Natasha Lester, and indeed, it was in my reading highlights list for 2018. But here we are, a new year with a new novel by Natasha, The French Photographer, and yes, I’m saying it again…this is my favourite novel by Natasha Lester. I’d go so far as to say that it is her best yet. There’s a strength to the writing in this novel, a reckoning with regards to her themes that just elevates this novel into a cla ...more
Literary Redhead
Natasha Lester’s latest historical novel is a drop-dead gorgeous winner!

It features Jessica May, a protagonist inspired by real life Vogue model and WWII correspondent Lee Miller.

The dual timeline narrative starts in 1942, when Jessica leaves modeling in Manhattan after her boyfriend destroys her career. Vogue sends her to Europe as a photojournalist, but the Army’s sexist restrictions make covering the war a nightmare.

She finds salvation, however, through journalist
Rachael McDiarmid
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Easy five stars from me. Why!? Even though the author broke my heart (like she will yours) it is a wonderfully written story of an amazing, strong, courageous woman in WWII (Jessica - the photographer in the book’s title). You can’t help but love her. She’s feisty. And obviously talented. Fast forward to 2005 where we meet D’Arcy, another strong willed young woman - and how she uncovers the connection between the two of them. The world works in mysterious ways and I’m not going to give away anyt ...more
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Paris Orphan by Natasha Lester was an epic and emotional story told in an alternating time frame. Natasha Lester was able to transport her tale back to World War II. It focused on the numerous hurdles many of the female photojournalists encountered while trying to get to the front because of the preconceived views many male soldiers had about women serving in World War II. Women contributed to this war in a way that many men were unable to. However, recognition for their honesty, courage and ...more
Jessica (the naptime writer)
(🍁 Thanks to @grandcentralpub & @readforeverpub for my complimentary copy of this book. All opinions provided are my own.)

3.5 stars

Do you remember the Friends episode where Rachel makes trifle? So many of the layers were spot-on and probably quite tasty. Then out of nowhere comes the beef.
That’s how I feel about THE PARIS ORPHAN by Natasha Lester. You all, this sweeping story told from multiple perspectives—mostly in the WWII-era and the early 2000s—had exactly the things that usually captivat
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
This is my 4th book by Natasha Lester; I have mainly enjoyed them all. Her historical research is excellent, she writes well & evokes a real sense of time & place, her characters are believable & fairly well rounded & she faces complex issues with realism.
So why only 3 stars? Because of the theme which runs through each book & drives me mad! She has, I’d now say, a predictable format in which her characters second guess each other, assume all sorts of nonsense, have a propensity to dramatic mar
Robin Loves Reading

Every word I write is as difficult as tears wrung from stone.

She’d tried letting her photographs speak for her and it wasn’t working. Time to unleash a different weapon.

The war was marching on without them. Their male counterparts were the only ones reporting anything worth reading.

she knew the moment she caught it that it was the image that would show America what war had become. Not a gallant and heroic jousting for glory but a savage and bestial destruction of humankind.

4.5 stars
After a rather slow start I found myself engrossed in this historical fiction novel set in France. The main story revolves around Jessica May, a beautiful young American woman whose career as a fashion model is cut short in 1942. Having already done some photojournalism work, she persuades the editor at Vogue magazine to permit her to travel to Europe to report on the war, one of a handful of female war correspondents.

Jess has a discerning eye which endows her photography and writing wi
Mandy White (mandylovestoread)
I loved this book! For somebody who doesn’t like books about war I could not get enough of this story.

I fell in love with these characters, especially Jess. My heart broke for her, I felt her pain and anger. A beautiful and powerful story
Leanne Lovegrove
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Natasha Lester makes you feel so much in this, her latest novel. We fall in love with the main characters, Jessica, Dan, Victorine and D'Arcy and shed tears over what they must endure. Everything is perfect - the settings, the history, the exquisite writing. It's a passionate and heart-wrenching fabulous read. ...more
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, heartbreaking and utterly captivating. Some authors write a book or two and peak and that’s it – but my goodness, Natasha Lester is an absolute gem whose talent is just amazing and again and again I am totally in awe of her books. I am so happy I loved this book as much as her previous books if not more. Based on a real photojournalist in WWII and how women tried everything possible to be included in reporting the war, this book features a storyline and narrative that just takes you e ...more
✰  BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰
Oh my, Natasha Lester knows how to write amazing stories.

Before you start reading, google Lee Miller Hitler bathtub for a bit of an idea of what kind of woman our leading lady, Jess May is inspired by.

I just started singing Pop Musik by M as I was writing this, as our story takes us from New York and all across Europe during the last couple of years of WW2.

I was drawn right into this story, and swept away with Jess and the other female war correspondents, who tackled not only war, but misogyny a
Vanessa Carnevale
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved every minute of it! It was everything I want in a novel and more. Sweeping, romantic, and utterly captivating. Natasha Lester has done it again. I won’t forget this story in a hurry.
Monique Mulligan
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What can I say about The French Photographer by Natasha Lester that hasn’t already been said? Natasha goes from strength to strength, delivering old fans and new immensely engaging stories one after another. I don’t know how she does it (although if you check her blog, she shares a lot of her process)! Inspired by the true story of American photographer and photojournalist Lee Miller, The French Photographer is romantic, captivating and bursting with historical insight. It’s exactly what I’ve co ...more
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Absolutely brilliant, loved it from start to finish. It’s soulful, heartbreaking, with powerful imagery.
Best quote
“She caught it, it was the image that would show America what war had become, not gallant and heroic jousting for glory, but a savage and bestial destruction of humankind.”
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The French Photographer is a beautifully written novel by Natasha Lester.

Inspired by a true story of one of the first female war photo-journalists, Natasha brings us this new enticing novel, The French Photographer where we meet the main character, Jessica May, a Vogue model and photographer in Paris.

It's historical fiction with a vision into all aspects of photography in the 1940's ~ a time of war and destruction.

There's solace, peace and tranquility to be found in the gardens of the chateau na
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had some issues with this book. First, I have already read historical fiction on female journalists in WWII, including books on Martha Gelhorn and Lee Miller. Maybe if I hadn't read a few of these, THE PARIS ORPHAN would have been better. But then, the book devolved into a melodramatic telenovela with truly unbelievable things happening. Natasha Lester had to keep Dan and Jess apart, and she does that in a rather unique yet entirely stupid and unbelievable way. Then there are more revelations ...more
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a story! Told in two timelines, this is the story of Jessica May, a model-turned-photographer for Vogue during WWII, and D'Arcy Hallworth, a curator in modern-day Australia. It has all the hallmarks of a Natasha Lester novel—meticulous research, brave women, a story that keeps you guessing and romance.

I was particularly drawn, too, to the Author's Notes at the back of the book. I'd never heard of Lee Miller, upon whom the protagonist is based. As soon as I'd finished reading, I found an of
Kerran Olson
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I love Natasha's books because not only are they beautifully written and full of well rounded characters, but I also learn so much reading them! All the research that went into creating this story is evident in the little details, the locations, the descriptions of hotels and chateaux and photographs. The character of Jessica May is inspired by the life of Lee Miller,  and some of the things that Jess (and in reality  also Lee) has to endure in this book is astounding. The fact that appearing in ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Winemaker's Wife
  • Beautiful Death
  • Bokskåpets hemlighet
  • The Book of Lost Names
  • The Sparkle Pages
  • Villa of Sun and Secrets: A warm escapist read that will keep you guessing
  • The Ex Girlfriend
  • The Promise
  • The Spanish Promise
  • An Irish Country Family (Irish Country #14)
  • The Whispers of War
  • All the Ways We Said Goodbye
  • Suitcase of Dreams (The Girl from Munich #2)
  • Small Blessings
  • White Horses
  • Klubben för lyckliga slut (Vid livets vägskäl. #1)
  • Fatal Inheritance
  • Devil's Lair
See similar books…
Natasha Lester is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of THE PARIS ORPHAN / THE FRENCH PHOTOGRAPHER and THE PARIS SEAMSTRESS.

Prior to writing, she worked as a marketing executive for L’Oreal, managing the Maybelline brand, before returning to university to study creative writing.

Her first historical novel, the bestselling A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald, was published in 2016. This was

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
30 likes · 9 comments