Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Last Train to Paris by Michele Zackheim

Good morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Michele Zackheim's Last Train to Paris.

It's been fifty-two years since Rose Manon left Paris. Now in her eighties, a trunk arrives on her doorstep. Inside are the notes she kept during the war years. Years when she worked as a correspondent in Paris and Berlin. Rose, half Jewish and half Catholic, witnessed first hand the horrors that occurred as the Nazis first came into power in the 30s. She was there when war broke out and barely made it out alive. Many of those beside her - friends, colleagues, and acquaintances - did not.  As an elderly Rose revisits those memories, she also reminisces about her early career and her family life.

Last Train to Paris was a bit of an odd bird. The book begins with a note from the author stating "A German citizen named Eugen Weidmann abducted a distant cousin of mine in Paris in 1937." Tell me that isn't an intriguing way to begin a book?! The case, which you can actually read more about on Wikipedia, does play a role in the book itself, but the overall focus of the story is Rose looking back on her life in the war years.

The story alternates quite randomly between various timelines. It was an approach that I actually enjoyed thanks to how well Zackheim transitioned between each new memory and Rose's present day. It made the book read more like an actual memoir than anything else. Unfortunately I did enter into the book with the expectation that it was going to lean more towards a thriller/mystery than anything else - and I definitely wouldn't consider Last Train to Paris to be that at all. As a result I had a tough time moving beyond what I'd expected the book to be and embracing what it actually was.

One of the things I really adored about this book was the way the author incorporated historical events and people throughout the story. The French author Colette becomes involved, as well as the fictionalized approach to the Eugen Weidmann case, even Ian Fleming gets a bit of a sidebar mention in the end.

To see more stops on the tour, check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Michele Zackheim and her work, be sure to visit her website here. You can also like the book's page on Facebook.

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

That first sentence would certainly grab MY attention!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.