I admit I have a softness for stories about the First World War. Perhaps it’s because two of my great uncles fought in the war to end all wars and I’ve read their letters to their mother during that time, but I found this epistolary novel charming.
Four young friends, sister and brother Evie and Will and their best friends Tom and Alice, find their lives changed in innumerable ways over the years of the First World War.
Told primarily through the letters the friends wrote to each other, and with an extra framing device set during 1968, this novel is a romance filled with nostalgia and tragedy.
Kudos to the authors for depicting such realistic characters, keeping them true to the time period, and making a story told almost only through correspondence entertaining.
The warmth of the characters and their personalities shone through their different letter writing styles. A lot of information is conveyed without weighty exposition, which the authors make look deceptively simple.
While friendship and love is the main story, the subject of the war is treated with the seriousness that it deserves. I wasn’t thrown out of the book by any historical inaccuracies and the tone of the letters reminded me of correspondence I’ve read of real people going through similar situations at the time.
The only thing that didn’t work for me was the framing device of first person narration set in 1968. I found it jarring, so much so that I started the book in December 2019 and set it down for a year before finishing it.
I’m so glad I persevered though, because this is a sweet book about the triumph of hope in the darkest of times.
I award Last Christmas in Paris…
Last Christmas in Paris is available for $7.85 ebook and $14.99 print book on Amazon.