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The Last Train to Paris
     

The Last Train to Paris

4.5 2
by Michele Zackheim
 

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1935.  Rose Manon, an American daughter of the mountains of Nevada, working as a journalist in New York, is awarded her dream job, foreign correspondent.  Posted to Paris, she is soon entangled in romance, an unsolved murder, and the desperation of a looming war.  Assigned to the Berlin desk, Manon is forced to grapple with her hidden identity as a Jew,

Overview

1935.  Rose Manon, an American daughter of the mountains of Nevada, working as a journalist in New York, is awarded her dream job, foreign correspondent.  Posted to Paris, she is soon entangled in romance, an unsolved murder, and the desperation of a looming war.  Assigned to the Berlin desk, Manon is forced to grapple with her hidden identity as a Jew, the mistrust of her lover, and an unwelcome visitor on the eve of Kristallnacht.  And . . . on the day before World War II is declared, she must choose who will join her on the last train to Paris.
This is a carefully researched historical novel that reads like a suspense thriller.  Colette and Janet Flanner are only two of the well-known figures woven into the story. The parts they play will surprise readers. Last Train to Paris will enthrall the same audience that made In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson and Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky bestsellers.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Zackheim’s BROKEN COLORS
 
“With soaring lyricism, Zackheim limns an exquisitely haunting portrait of an indelibly scarred, yet deeply passionate, woman.” – Booklist
 
“This is a beautiful novel, sometimes comic and always wise.” Library Journal
Library Journal
01/01/2014
This engrossing, historical novel from Zackheim (Violette's Embrace) has the feel of a memoir. This may be partly because she based it on an incident involving a German national's abduction of a distant cousin in 1937. Rose "R.M." Manon is a crack American reporter in prewar Paris when a cousin from the States is murdered during a visit to the City of Light. The accused murderer's trial is attended by R.M. and such luminaries as Colette and Janet Flanner in cameo appearances. Also attending the trial is, of all people, R.M.'s mom, with whom she has a tortuous relationship that is intertwined with issues of Jewish identity. That relationship even threads its way through the journalist's love for a Berlin Jew who is forced to work for the Nazis so he and his family can survive. Though Zackheim does not identify it as such, her depiction of Kristallnacht is one of the most chilling this reviewer has ever read. VERDICT The author revivifies the drama of the interwar years and convincingly relates these historical events to a very personal albeit fictional narrative. Highly recommended to readers interested in women's issues, the history of the era, and the Holocaust.—Edward B. Cone, New York
Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-14
More than 50 years after the events recounted, a reporter reminisces about her life in Europe prior to the outbreak of World War II. Although, or perhaps because, she was born and raised in Nevada, Rosie Manon craved another kind of life--more adventurous and meaningful than the one she'd known as a child. Her father was Catholic and her mother Jewish, although the latter lived in denial of her religious background and tried to keep Rosie from this part of her identity. In 1933, after a stint as a reporter with the New York Courier, Rosie seeks a transfer to its Paris office and finds herself the only woman on the staff and particularly ill-treated by her editor, Ramsey, an intolerant bigot who nevertheless recognizes Rosie's talent. She styles herself R. B. Manon and becomes a tough-skinned reporter, eventually moving to Berlin, obviously a perilous place for her. There, she falls in love with Leon Wolff, a gifted engraver (and forger of documents) who, against his will, uses his talents on behalf of the Reich. Rosie and Leon carry on a surreptitious affair, but life eventually gets too dangerous, and Rosie reluctantly moves back to Paris. One sidelight of her life involves the murder of her cousin, Stella, the daughter of Rosie's beloved Aunt Clara, and Rosie's reporting on the outcome of the trial. Rosie lives through the horrors of Kristallnacht and, two years later, through the fall of Paris, losing track of Leon and only toward the end of the novel, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, finding out about his time in Sachsenhausen concentration camp and his postwar life with another woman. Despite some occasionally wooden dialogue, Zackheim gives us a poignant glimpse into the tensions and anxieties of prewar Europe.
Publishers Weekly
01/20/2014
Loosely based on the real-life kidnapping of the author's distant relative, Zackheim's latest novel is set in 1937 in Paris on the brink of WWII. Rather than focus on the victim of the crime, the story centers on her cousin, Rose Manon. Rose is a serious young woman who escapes her dusty Nevada roots to become a working journalist. She loves the rhythm of putting pen to paper and using words to make sense of the world—the "thrill" of turning a page to find her byline: "R.B. Manon." But all is not fun and games even as her career as war correspondent picks up; she is in-and-out of love with the tortured Leon, her cousin Stella has come to Paris and promptly been kidnapped, and Hitler has risen to power in Germany and, as a result, Rose most conceal her Jewish roots. Despite these compelling circumstances, the novel feels sketchy and light in a way that dampens its suspense. Key characters, like Stella lack the fullness of real-life people. At times the prose is lovely and precise and at other times it is rushed into cliche. Still WWII enthusiasts may appreciate this quieter evocative look at a much-examined era. (Jan.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781609451790
Publisher:
Europa
Publication date:
01/07/2014
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
1,343,987
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for Zackheim’s BROKEN COLORS
 
“With soaring lyricism, Zackheim limns an exquisitely haunting portrait of an indelibly scarred, yet deeply passionate, woman.” – Booklist
 
“This is a beautiful novel, sometimes comic and always wise.” Library Journal

Meet the Author

Michele Zackheim worked as a visual artist before turning to writing. She has shown in numerous museums and galleries. She is also the author of Einstein’s Daughter, nonfiction, and Violette’s Embrace. She lives with her husband in New York.

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The Last Train to Paris 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
leoraskolkinsmith More than 1 year ago
"Michele Zackheim's lucid prose has both rare qualities of modesty and depth. One sits so comfortably inside the story of a young American woman brought into the hellish undertow of nazism in France right before the outbreak of World War II. She could be one own's recognizable mirror image swept into this still unknown terror. And yet Zackheim provides enough distance to reason and  integrate what would be otherwise a painfully unbearable odyssey. I loved this book. I became immersed in its gentle telling, the moving humanity that propelled it forward.  A wonderful writer who never betrays the large historical canvas she has chosen to write on." –Leora Skolkin-Smith, Author, Award-winning Hystera, and Edges
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book starts out slow but soon enough you can't help but become involved. Heart wrenching but well done. A very good book.