Monday, October 9, 2017

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb + a Giveaway

Good morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb.

When Thomas and her brother, Will, went off to war, Evie Elliott promised to write. And write she did. Taking up residence at Will's writing desk, she kept them abreast of everything going down on the home front while they, sometimes in the case of Will, wrote to her of their experiences on the actual front. 

It was a war everyone expected to be over by Christmas, and yet it dragged mercilessly on and on. And throughout, Thomas and Evie kept up their correspondence. Decades later, Thomas is ready to rerun to Paris. Along the way, he reminisces over his letters, saving one final one for Christmas Eve.

Christmas in Paris is a (mostly) epistolary novel set within he framework of Thomas's trip in 1968. And while it might sound as though the letters that make up the tale are only between Evie and Thomas, that's not the case at all. There are letters between Evie and her friend Alice, letters between Thomas and his father, letters between Evie and Will, and telegrams and letters from and to others besides.

Through them, we see the evolution of each character through the most horrible of circumstances: war. They begin bright eyed and excited, ready to take on the world and defeat the enemy. But it doesn't take long for reality to set in. Evie, who can't go to the front, fights the only way she can: with her pen and her words. Thomas fights to gain his father's approval and to defend his country and others, but never expected it to be as brutal as it inevitably is revealed to be. Fortunately, through it all, they have one another to turn to.

Apparently the idea for this book came out of the anthology Fall of Poppies, edited by Heather Webb.  According to the authors' note, they wanted to tell more stories set in WWI. You can read the note yourself, but I find it fascinating to see how the idea for this came together. Two writer friends with a passion for history, emailed discussions back and forth, and an idea is born and brought to fruition!

And WWI is a fascinating time. The kind of battles fought were indeed different from those before with effects no one dreamed about. A virtual generation of men was lost. And the massive nature of the war caused huge social change as well. Women back home had to take on the roles left behind by men, roles that were then taken from them when the men returned. Both Evie and Thomas illustrate these issues and changes throughout the book.

Last Christmas in Paris works seamlessly and the fact that the authors were able to create such a great story while also giving ample life and breath to their characters through letters is fantastic! Definitely recommended for any fan of historical fiction!

Oh, and if you're like me and feel like reading Christmas books when it's not Christmas is just weird, this isn't really a Christmas book. Fair warning, though, it is a bit of a tearjerker!

And now for the giveaway! I've got one copy to give away to one of you lucky readers. To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, October 23. Open US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Hazel Gaynor and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

For more on Heather Webb and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


traveler said...

Thanks for this beautiful and unforgettable book which I would enjoy greatly.

John Smith said...

Christmas a Paree--l'amour, la neige....

Danielle H. said...

I enjoy reading books that can bring out strong emotions--these are my favorites. I love the idea of letter writing and have enjoyed many books with this format.

Terry said...

I love reading books that give me a good cry. Looking forward to reading this one.

TarheelFIT1 said...

I'm a huge hist fic fan and love these two authors. I recently finished The Cottingley Secret and can't wait to read a new book by Hazel Gaynor especially!

rhonda said...

Two wonderful authors a book through letters��

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I'm the kind of person who is starting my Christmas shopping now, so reading a Christmas-y book would be perfect for me right now. :)

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

Carol L. said...

Love both Authors books. Together will be amazing. Thank you for this giveaway opportunity. Looking forward to rewarding this.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com