The Paris Orphan (Deckle Edge)

The Paris Orphan (Deckle Edge)

by Natasha Lester


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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 determined to make her life as difficult as possible. But three friendships change that. Journalist Martha Gellhorn encourages Jess to bend the rules. Captain Dan Hallworth keeps her safe in dangerous places so she can capture the stories that truly matter. And most important of all, the love of a little orphan named Victorine gives Jess strength to do the impossible. But her success will come at a price...

France, 2005: Decades after World War II, D'Arcy Hallworth arrives at a beautiful chateau to curate a collection of famous wartime photos by a reclusive artist. It's the opportunity of a lifetime, but D'Arcy has no idea that this job will uncover decades of secrets that, once revealed, will change everything she thought she knew about her mother, Victorine, and alter D'Arcy's life forever.

Includes a reading group guide!

"An emotional and sweeping tale set against the backdrop of World War II...Rich detail, compelling characters, and an interwoven dual timeline make this an engrossing read for historical fiction fans." —Chanel Cleeton, USA Today bestselling author of Next Year in Havana

"[A] splendid, breathtaking novel, full of mystery and passion...a must read!" —Jeanne Mackin, author of The Last Collection

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538764893
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 09/03/2019
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 32,124
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Natasha Lester worked as a marketing executive for L'Oreal before penning the USA Today and internationally bestselling novel The Paris Seamstress. When she's not writing, she loves collecting vintage fashion, traveling, reading, practicing yoga, and playing with her three children. Natasha lives in Perth, Western Australia.

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The Paris Orphan 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous 9 days ago
Wonderful Book
gaele 5 days ago
Intensely personal and extrapolated from the real-life women and men who served as photojournalists during World War II, Lester has given us Jessica May, a well-regarded model in 1940’s New York, one who takes photos and writes articles in hopes of something more. When her ex decided to scuttle her modeling career in hopes of ‘putting her in her place’ she is determined to go to Europe and write of the events of the war. With help from her editor and friend at Vogue, she obtains the credentials and is soon on her way to Italy, expecting to be embedded with the nursing corp. But, the hospital is on disputed territory, and the CO of the outfit, one Dan Hallworth not only keeps her safe, but the two are entangled in an attraction that neither will admit. A solid friendship forms, and the two are inexorably linked, when Jess photographs Dan with four year old Victorine, an orphan that Dan has “inherited’ from his brother and his wife, both killed by Germans. 2008 in a chateau in France, D’Arcy has been hired to package and ship photographs for an exhibit in Sydney. Not knowing the photographer, she is met by the agent, who is also unwilling to share details about his very private client. But, D’Arcy spots a photograph that is attributed to Jessica May, lost to history and her more renown male counterparts, and D’Arcy is determined to get to the bottom of the story. Well versed in Jessica May’s work, known and attributed, she did a thesis on “the Photographer” and her hard work, and some personal connections have brought her to see the archives: thousands of photographs, some known, others not- all by Jessica May. Two stories, intertwined as Lester takes us through the stories of Jessica on the front lines (or desperately trying to get there) with the other female reporters: Margaret Gellhorn, Lee Miller and others – all fighting the inherent sexism, harassment and dangers, yet doing the job, as well, or better than the men. Their eye and perspective is different – the first shots of concentration camps, the bravado of young soldiers not yet battle tested, and the haunted look of those after surviving and seeing things unimaginable. D’Arcy’s growth and revelations, as she finds her own footing – always tentative about putting herself out there – with all she learned, despite her fears, she’s moved forward and onward, hoping to find a new path that will guide her. Utterly gripping and with a full set of notes and information about these women who have been lost to history but provided images that brought the war home to thousands, not as a glorified series of battles from which the allies stood heroes – but as a true human tragedy, one that sent shockwaves throughout the world for years to come. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous 3 days ago
beautifully done!
teachlz 10 days ago
Natasha Lester, author of "The Paris Orphan" has written a captivating, intense, intriguing,dramatic.emotional, and powerful novel. There are two timelines in this novel. One is around 1942, and the other is in France in 2005. Both stories and timelines do connect and like pieces of a puzzle connect. The Genre for this story is Historical Fiction. The themes in this story center around World War Two, and the tragedy and turmoil, dark secrets, discrimination, danger, and betrayals. The author discusses the importance of communication, family, friends, love, hope, peace and equality. Natasha Lester describes her dramatic characters as complex and complicated, possibly due to the circumstances of the times.  The author vividly writes and describes the characters, landscape, locations, and their emotional feelings. American model/photographer Jessica May arrives in Europe around 1942, to take pictures and write about the war in Europe. Many of the soldiers give her a difficult time, and she is lucky to meet a few friends. Jessica does make friends with Captain Dan Hallworth who does try to accommodate her needs. Besides being in charge of a large number of men, Captain Hallworth has rescued and is providing care for an orphan named Victorine. In 2005, D'Arcy Hallworth is offered the opportunity of packing up and assessing the photographs that were done during the war by an artist that prefers to keep their name secretive. These pictures are extremely artistic and show life and death.  Little does D'Arcy know how her life will change forever.   I highly recommend this book for readers who appreciate Historical Fiction. I had trouble putting this book down.
RobinLovesReading 10 days ago
Female photojournalists during World War II were treated unfairly, and that is an understatement. Jessica May has just lost a contract with Vogue magazine. Jess may have lost her livelihood, but not her drive. Actually, she has had another desire all along. Having spent years learning about photography while her parents were alive, along with a yearning to write, she strives to become a woman taken seriously in the world of photojournalism. First Italy. Then Paris, with many places in between. Jess not only sees the very worst war has become, she must fight another battle. This is one of becoming worthy of being taken seriously, despite the fact that she is a woman. Jess, along with a few other women, fight tooth and nail to get access to the important stories. They want to report on the travesties of war, just like their male counterparts. Not only does Jess have to fight to be in a place that counts, she fights one man in particular, Warren Stone. Stone would rather Jess fail on many levels. However, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Hallworth opens many doors for Jess, keeping her as safe as possible so that she can prove her incredible value. Meanwhile, Dan casts a protective net around a little girl named Victorine, keeping her as safe from the horrors of war as possible. The story begins a back-and-forth shift from the war to 2005. We then meet D'Arcy Hallworth, an art handler and curator hired to protectively package countless photos from an unnamed artists. The scope of the job is a bit out of the ordinary for her, but it is a once and a lifetime opportunity for her, so she travels to Paris. When D'Arcy arrives, she meets people who will change her life forever. This will also affect the relationship she has with her mother, Victorine. What an emotionally charged story! Having read dozens of historical fiction novels still left me woefully unprepared for what I was about to read in The Paris Orphan. The realities of war, dark, brutal and devastating, left me in tears more than once. I was drawn into the characters as much as I was drawn into the effects of the war. Those named, and those unnamed. For starters, There are Jess, Dan, Victorine, Martha Gellhorn, Lee Miller, D'Arcy, Josh and Jennings. Then there were the victims of the war. Although fiction, Natasha Lester did a tremendous amount of research (as revealed in the words at the end of the book), that allowed her to include historical facts, characters and places in the affecting story. This book gets the highest rating I can give. Can I say I loved it? In some ways, no. I was heartbroken. However, it is history that contained an incredible amount of realism and that allows me to highly respect it and find the tremendous value it offers tor lovers of anything historical related to war. I usually read my books straight through, but this book took a few sessions. I had to think about it, dry more than a few tears, and realize how thankful I am to live in a land unaffected by war. It saddens me, however, that there are yet entire populations still suffering the unimaginable in today's times. Thank you, Ms. Lester, for writing such an impressive book. I also want to thank the author for writing Jessica May's story that was actually based on the life of Lee Miller. I encourage readers to discover for themselves why this book wasn't about Lee (although she was a secondary character) and why Ms. Lester chose to create the character of Jess. hanks to Forever and to NetGall
whatsbetterthanbooks 14 days ago
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 photographs for an Australian exhibit. The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are brave, resilient, and determined. And the plot, along with all the seamlessly intertwined subplots, is an impressive blend of drama, mystique, emotion, secrets, love, loss, courage, passion, heartbreak, as well as an insightful look at the struggles faced by female correspondents during WWII, and the importance of friendships. Overall, The Paris Orphan is a wonderful blend of historical facts and alluring fiction that transports you to another time and place and immerses you so thoroughly into the personalities, feelings, and lives of the characters you never want it to end. It is without a doubt one of my favourite novels of the year and is another fine example of Lester’s extraordinary talent as a remarkable researcher and memorable storyteller.
TheGenreMinxBookReviews 15 days ago
The Paris Orphan is a poignant story that emphasizes how determination and a strong will can bring about the most amazing changes in one’s life but that sometimes life also comes with a high price. Some costs that can even resonate through time and affect another generation. Current day for this story starts in 2005 with D’Arcy traveling to France with the purpose of curating a collection of wartime photographs, taken by an anonymous photographer, that are going to be exhibited in Australia. While there, D’Arcy comes across a photograph that shocked her to the core. With the discovery of the photograph and who the photographer truly was, D’Arcy finds a link to the past that she cannot ignore. Her determination to explore this connection exposed a myriad of secrets that D’Arcy was in no way ready to accept but had to find the will to understand. Jessica May was a model living in New York City at the peak of her career until one person’s misstep caused her to have to rethink her life’s trajectory. With a keen interest in photography, Jessica finds herself seeking a possible career in photojournalism. In 1942, it was no small feat for a woman to be accepted as a photojournalist, let alone one with their heart set on covering the war that was taking place. Despite the opposition, Jessica was determined to follow her heart’s desire and after jumping through many hoops she was sent to Europe as Vogue’s war correspondent. At the start of her journey, there was a mishap that led to Jessica being sent to the front lines. A woman in the trenches was not even a conceivable event in this time period but Jessica did not falter, she did her job with the help of Captain Dan Hallworth who supported her and protected her. It was this time in the trench that would forever change Jessica’s life because the path it put her on would include deep friendships, love that she never thought truly possible, and enemies that would stop at nothing to bring her low. For fans of historical fiction, The Paris Orphan is truly a masterpiece! It was inspired by the life of American war correspondent, Lee Miller, and there are many points where this story includes actual events that took place. It is a compelling look at life during World War II and it is also a heartbreaking exposure of the treatment of women during the 1940’s. There are many well developed characters that you will truly come to care for but the story also illustrates the crueler side of humanity with characters that you will absolutely despise. With each page that I turned my emotions were strung tight! The Paris Orphan truly opened my eyes to the importance that photojournalism played in World War II. It gave me a much deeper appreciation for the strength of the women correspondents as they fought their way through misogyny and sexual harassment that was widespread during this time. The story also goes on to show that the wickedness of men’s treatment of women was not confined to one side of the war. What these women endured was truly appalling but their strength made way for the opportunity’s women have today and I am grateful. The Paris Orphan was a magnificent story that captivated me from start to finish! This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
CharJones2525 15 days ago
Natasha Lester’s latest historical novel is a drop-dead gorgeous winner! VOGUEING It features Jessica May, a protagonist inspired by real life Vogue model and WWII correspondent Lee Miller. NIGHTMARE 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. SALVATION She finds salvation, however, through journalist Martha Gellhorn, who encourages her; paratrooper Dan Hallworth, who makes possible access to key places and stories; and orphan Victorine, who opens her heart. SHOCK Segue to 2005, when Australian art handler D'Arcy Hallworth comes to France to curate a collection of famous photographs. Through her work, she uncovers the unknown photographer’s identity and is shocked to discover a connection to own mother Victorine. HEART The story seizes the heart, undergirded by Lester’s meticulous historical research, compelling characters, masterful narrative, and writing as lovely as Lee Miller herself. FAN! I grant THE PARIS ORPHAN the highest stars possible and can’t wait for Lester’s next, The Dior Legacy, slated for publication next year. I’m a fan through and through now! STUNNER But please please please replace this cover, pretty as it is, with the stunner that graces the Australian release. It is the most arresting in all of publishing! Pub Date 03 Sep 2019. Thanks to the author, Forever (Grand Central Publishing) and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #TheParisOrphan #NetGalley #FemaleWWIICorrespondents #NatashaLester