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The Paris Orphan

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  614 ratings  ·  164 reviews
An American soldier and an enterprising photographer brave occupied France during World War II to help give a little girl her dream--a family--in this gripping novel from the bestselling author of The Paris Seamstress.

New York City/Paris, 1942: When American model Jessica May arrives in Europe to cover the war as a photojournalist for Vogue, most of the soldiers are dete
Paperback, 480 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Forever
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4.44  · 
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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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Theresa Smith
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
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Literary Soirée
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
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
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.

Leanne Lovegrove
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.
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, I am having a hard time accepting the ending.....
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Monique Mulligan
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  ·  review of another edition
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.”
Vanessa Carnevale
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.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
From historical fiction author, Natasha Lester, comes her best novel to date, The French Photographer. Released overseas as The Paris Orphan, Lester’s fifth outing is set in the beautiful country of France with a dual timeline of 1942 and 2005. Right from the beginning, it is clear that Lester has researched her historical narrative. With Lester’s attention to the smallest detail and vivid descriptions, the reader feels as if they stepped through time, back to World War II.

The protagonist durin
Tanya Nellestein
Loved this book, definitely my favourite of Lester’s. the story of female correspondents in WWII is one that deserves telling again. The love stories that weave in and out of the timelines are both beautiful and frustrating as a reader....sliding doors.... the final act seems a little cruel - without spoilers....both on the same soil, couldn’t Lester have given them just one more moment??????
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sam Still Reading
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: love Natasha Lester's novels
The ending of The French Photographer had me at a standstill. It is that powerful. My emotions were in a tangle. I didn’t know whether the cry my heart out with sadness, smile at the happiness for some characters or just collapse in a heap. It is simply a marvellous novel that combines the horrors of war with the dramas of life wrapped up in a beautiful setting (and with quite a few examples of delicious food).

Like Natasha’s past historical novels, The French Photographer has a dual timeline. Th
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Natasha Lester books have all been five star reads for me. So it was with great anticipation that I took up her latest novel. Yet again Natasha has floored me with her storytelling, almost to the point of speechlessness. Where to start with a read that was so powerful, so raw and intense, taking the reader on a rollercoaster ride of emotion. This book consumed me and, closing the last page, left me almost bereft.

Just when you think she can’t get any better, Natasha produces another spellbinding
Anna Loder
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it! I love historical fiction, I love romance, I love characters though so I was always going to love it. I could feel the dirt beneath my nails, everything was all so well described. I know and love Jessica May, I have always admired go getters. Dan is such a gentlemanly hero. I will just always read whatever Natasha Lester writes, I knew I was in the safest hands. Fantastic book
An Aussie Book Nerd
A book that it so far from my usual reads that I almost didn't read it. But boy, am I so glad I did. I laughed, cried, ugly cried, and was angered; essentially I did a full circle of emotions because the content called for it. A story about women's rights and their experience during WWII which was a time that really focused on the masculinity of men going off to war and woman staying home and tending to the house and children.

Jess's character was admirable. She was strong, and identifiable. I lo
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, Natasha Lester has delivered a captivating and touching historical fiction novel. Natasha's writing gets better with each novel she writes. The stories are more complex but still retain her trademark voice and ability to dive deep into the characters. I loved the premise and the switch between timelines. The settings were vivid and the emotion heartfelt. It's hard not to rave on about Natasha's books, so I'll simply say - go get it and devour it - you won't be sorry you did. 
Sharah McConville
The French Photographer is a beautiful and heartbreaking story set during World War II. This is my first time reading one of Natasha Lester's novels. I read this for the April 'Books With Heart Book Club' read and think this is their pick yet! I loved this story and now want to read about the real model and war photojournalist, Lee Miller.
Shelley Baird
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again Natasha Lester has shown how incredible research combined with amazing storytelling results in a novel that you can't put down. In The French Photographer, Lester has created lead characters you will fall in love with, cheer for and cry with.

This dual narrative set in WWII and the early 2000s, charts the journey of the novel's lead character Jessica May, a photojournalist as she covers the war for US Vogue. During this time, Jessica takes on the sexism that existed in both media and
An American soldier and an enterprising photographer brave occupied France during World War II to help give a little girl the one thing she's never had--a family--in this gripping historical fiction from the internationally bestselling author of The Paris Seamstress.

New York City/Paris, 1942: When American model Jessica May arrives in Europe to cover the war as a photojournalist for Vogue, most of the soldiers are determined to make her life as difficult as possible. But three friendships change
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Natasha Lester is the USA Today, internationally best-selling author of THE PARIS ORPHAN 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 followed by Her Mother’s Se