Brenda's Reviews > The French Photographer

The French Photographer by Natasha Lester
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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, and the stories and pictures that would make a difference.

When Jess first met Victorine, a sweet little girl who was being cared for at one of the field hospitals, she soon grew to love her. The daily horrors and cruelty that surrounded them all were eased just slightly as she held Victorine in her arms. Other women photojournalists joined Jess and Martha, among them Lee Miller – their work essential, and what the censors didn’t cut out, made it to publication.

When Australian curator D’Arcy Hallworth arrived at the chateau in France in 2005 to collate the photographs of an unknown photographer, she had no idea the shattering changes which were about to overtake her life. Her disbelief when she saw a photo of her own mother in among the relics of the past had her doubting everything she’d known of her life. D’Arcy couldn’t understand the connection of her mother to this long ago past – and she wasn’t sure if she was brave enough to pursue it either…

The French Photographer is the latest by Aussie author Natasha Lester and it’s absolutely heartbreakingly brilliant! I can’t believe this author can continue to improve her books, time and again – but this one, in my opinion, is her best yet! Based on fact, the descriptions of the war years, the different characters which grew on me – Jennings was a sweetheart; Victorine a delight – and the others who were despicable but so well drawn. But the three main characters – Jess, Dan and Victorine – were so very special. The French Photographer is a wonderful historical fiction novel by an author who is right on top of her game – and I highly recommend it.

With thanks to Hachette AU for my copy to read in exchange for an honest review.
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Reading Progress

September 27, 2018 – Shelved
September 27, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
September 27, 2018 – Shelved as: 2019-release
September 27, 2018 – Shelved as: aussie-authors
September 27, 2018 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
March 18, 2019 – Shelved as: arc
March 18, 2019 – Shelved as: reviewing-by-request
March 18, 2019 – Shelved as: sent-by-publisher
April 8, 2019 – Started Reading
April 8, 2019 – Shelved as: 5000-2019
April 8, 2019 – Shelved as: own-read
April 8, 2019 – Shelved as: war-military
April 9, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Bianca (new)

Bianca Lovely review, Brenda.


Helen Fabulous review Brenda and I totally agree brilliant story


Brenda Thanks Bianca and Helen :)


message 4: by Joanne (new) - added it

Joanne Love it, I saw this at the library the other day I will definitely keep an eye out next time.


Brenda Thanks Joanne - yes Natasha Lester writes great historical fiction!


Dawn Churchill Enjoyed the story as my imagination and appreciation of film photography ran wild. The facts were well researched by the author and entertwined well. I was very disappointed when reaching 91 percent read, the book abruptly ended. This annoyed me having set aside an allocated time thinking the ending was much further away only to find 8 percent was a sample book!


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