Jenoff’s terrific, fast-paced novel follows a network of female WWII operatives in a smartly constructed narrative. In 1946 New York, young war widow Grace Healy stumbles upon a suitcase at Grand Central with photographs of 12 women inside. She follows a cold but irresistible trail through New York and Washington, D.C., determined to learn about the women and, in the novel’s second story line, uncovers information about the girls’ leader, the indomitable Eleanor Trigg: “Her style was brusque, unfeminine and unquestionably stern.” Eleanor had recruited Marie Roux in 1943 for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) to work with the French Resistance as an undercover radio operator. Marie’s deployed to work in France with an intense, handsome circuit leader. As much as Marie often shows courage and pluck, some of her behaviors are misguided, including putting lives at risk for her budding romance when she pursues her own ideas rather than SOE orders regarding dangerous field operations. Despite Marie’s sometimes dubious decisions, her colleagues in the field do show more guile as they fight in the Resistance, and Jenoff (The Kommandant’s Girl) allows their distinct personalities to shine. This is a mesmerizing tale full of appealing characters, intrigue, suspense, and romance. (Feb.)
Jenoff brings serious girl power to this story of brave women and the war.” —Cosmopolitan
“A portrait of sisterhood, courage, and drama. A must-read.” —Glamour
“[A] terrific, fast-paced novel…. This is a mesmerizing tale full of appealing characters, intrigue, suspense, and romance.” —Publishers Weekly
"[A] gripping WWII-era tale…. Jenoff breathes life into the tale of a committed “Band of Sisters” who displayed boundless courage in the face of historically dire circumstances, creating a compelling and exciting read." —Booklist
"Jenoff deftly brings to life the history of ordinary women who left behind their home front lives to do the extraordinary—act as secret operatives in occupied territory. Fraught with danger, filled with mystery, and meticulously researched, The Lost Girls of Paris is a fascinating tale of the hidden women who helped to win the war." —Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours
"In The Lost Girls of Paris, Pam Jenoff has used her finely honed story-telling skills to give us a smart, suspenseful, and morally complicated spy novel for our time. Eleanor Trigg and her girls are every bit as human as they are brave. I couldn't put this down." —Jessica Shattuck, New York Times bestselling author of The Women in the Castle
"Pam Jenoff's meticulous research and gorgeous historical world-building lift her books to must-buy status. Her latest interweaves the gritty World War II exploits of England's female spies with the post-war struggle of damaged survivors trying to build new lives in the fallout of tragedy. An intriguing mystery and a captivating heroine make The Lost Girls of Paris a read to savor!" —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of THE ALICE NETWORK
“Based on true events, The Lost Girls of Paris showcases important WWII events and brings us three courageous, determined women who braved constant danger to survive this fascinating, little-known part of the war.” —Martha Hall Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls
Fictional account of the unsung women operatives who helped pave the way for D-Day.
Jenoff's (The Orphan's Tale, 2017, etc.) latest alternates between postwar America and war-torn Europe. The novel opens in 1946 as Grace, whose soldier husband died in an accident, is trying to reinvent herself in New York City. In Grand Central terminal she stumbles upon an abandoned suitcase, wherein she discovers several photos of young women. Soon, she learns that the suitcase's owner, Eleanor, recently arrived from London, has been killed by a car. Flashback to 1943: Eleanor, assistant to the Director of Britain's Special Operations Executive, suggests sending women agents to France to transmit radio intelligence on Nazi movements in aid of the Resistance and the coming Allied invasion. Women, she points out, are less conspicuous masquerading as civilians than men. A native speaker of French, Marie is an ideal candidate. After rigorous training, she is dropped into an area north of Paris, with scant instructions other than to send wireless transmissions as directed by her handler, Julian, code-named Vesper. For reasons not adequately fleshed out, Grace feels compelled to learn more about the women pictured and their connection with Eleanor. With the help of her late husband's best friend, Mark, a burgeoning love interest, Grace accesses SOE records in Washington, D.C., only to find puzzling evidence that Eleanor may have betrayed her own agents. We hardly see Marie in action as a radio operator; we know of her transmissions from France mainly through Eleanor, the recipient, who immediately suspects something is off—but her superiors ignore her warnings. In any spy thriller clear timelines are essential: Jenoff's wartime chronology is blurred by overly general date headings (e.g., London, 1944) and confusing continuity. Sparsely punctuated by shocking brutality and defiant bravery, the narrative is, for the most part, flabby and devoid of tension. Overall, this effort seems rushed, and the sloppy language does nothing to dispel that impression.
A sadly slapdash World War II adventure.
In 1946 New York, newly widowed legal secretary Grace Healy stumbles upon a suitcase labeled with the name Trigg containing a dozen photos of women with only first names and no other identifiers. She learns it belongs to Eleanor Trigg, an outsider with a painful past and the leader of a group of secret female agents sent from London into occupied Europe during the war. These young women, who posed as radio operators, were charged with sabotaging the Germans and arming the citizens. Grace feels a connection to Eleanor and the girls, yearning to discover why they never made it home, and creating an element of mystery to the story. She's especially drawn to single-mother Marie, who was sent to Paris and served in Trigg's Vesper circuit under the direction of roguishly handsome Julian. In the City of Light, passion and heartache greet the brave patriot. VERDICT Jenoff (The Orphan's Tale) seamlessly weaves the stories of three remarkable women in this fast-paced title that boasts an intriguing plot and strong female characters. Recommended for fans of Martha Hall Kelly's Lilac Girls and Kate Quinn's The Alice Network. [See Prepub Alert, 8/20/18.]—Laura Jones, Argos Community Schs., IN