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Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I

Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I


Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I

Bewertungen:
4.5/5 (93 Bewertungen)
Länge:
8 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Oct 3, 2017
ISBN:
9780062836267
Format:
Hörbuch

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Beschreibung

New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great War.

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father's newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…

Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Oct 3, 2017
ISBN:
9780062836267
Format:
Hörbuch

Auch als verfügbar...

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Über den Autor

Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author. Her 2014 debut The Girl Who Came Home won the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award, A Memory of Violets was a 2015 WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, The Girl from The Savoy was shortlisted for the 2017 Irish Book Awards, and The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter was shortlisted for the 2019 HWA Gold Crown Award. Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Heather Webb) won the 2018 Women's Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Their most recent collaboration is Meet Me in Monaco. Hazel's forthcoming historical novel, When We Were Young & Brave, set in China during WW2, will be published in North America in October 2020. Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. Her work has been translated into fourteen languages to date. She is co-founder of creative writing events The Inspiration Project, and lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.  For more information, visit www.hazelgaynor.com


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93 Bewertungen / 16 Rezensionen
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  • (5/5)
    Beautiful, gorgeous, tre magnifique!
    It was all I could ask for and more. My heart was so involved that their hardships felt like my hardships, their triumphs my triumphs, their darkest days and hopeful nights, my own despair and star wishes set free into the night sky. It reminds us of dark days past but how even with all the living nightmares being struggled through, the most beautiful and fragile thing in the world was still able to be found. A wonderful story for Historical Fiction fans filled with characters to love and OH so much heart.


    *copy received for review
  • (5/5)
    What a beautiful book "Last Christmas in Paris" turned out to be. I was hesitant at first about picking it up as it was written in letter format, but I listened to the audio version of it and the narrators brought it alive.The letters follow the lives of Tom, a young soldier and Evie, a budding journalist through the years of WWI with other letters to and from friends, acquaintances and loved ones. From the light-hearted letters at the start of the war to the heartbreaking ones as the war dragged on unheeding of the people it took, and the emotional and physical upheaval of the ones it left behind.I adored Evie, Tom, Alice and Will, although I hated John Hopper and his arrogance. Evie was such a wonderful character, and I admired her spunk and determination to be more than the lady of leisure her mother wanted her to be. Her newspaper articles were absolutely touching and showed the importance of women and their role in fighting the war. They brought me to tears every time.My heart bled for Tom as the fun, happy-go-lucky boy looking for adventure and determined to play his part in the war effort, gradually morphed into the emotionally damaged, disillusioned young man he became as the war relentlessly continued throughout the years. The atrocities he and his fellow soldiers had to face while in the trenches were brought home through his letters to Evie.Evie and Tom's romance was perfect. Their growing love was evident in the telegrams and letters that passed between them, and their correspondence provided a shining light to the other in a dark, dark time as innocence, hope, dreams and plans were destroyed. As for the ending, just beautiful!"Last Christmas in Paris" brought out a gamut of emotions as I followed Evie and Tom's journey. Heart-warming, heart-breaking, captivating and poignant, this was a wonderful story of love, loss, despair, courage and tragedy. For me, this book was a winner.
  • (4/5)
    In 1968, fifty years after the end of the “war to end all wars”, terminally ill Thomas Harding is travelling to Paris, determined to fulfil a last promise and to lay to rest the ghosts of the past. He is taking with him a collection of cherished letters which were written during the years of 1914-1918. Most of these letters were exchanged between Tom and Evie Elliot, the younger sister of Tom’s best friend Will, with whom he had idealistically volunteered in August 1914. They also include correspondence between Evie and her brother, letters to her best friend Alice, and exchanges of letters between Tom and his father, owner of a London newspaper and various people employed by his father. With only occasional, brief switches to the 1968 timeline, it is through this four-year exchange of letters that the reader is shown how this long-lasting, brutal war affected each of the characters. It demonstrated the many ways in which people are changed by their experiences throughout life, but how this natural process is accelerated and exaggerated during a war, when everything becomes more urgent, more fragile and more precious. As well as evoking the truly dreadful horrors of trench-combat during World War I, it captured how the enthusiastic idealism and patriotism of the early months of the war was gradually eroded when the realities of such a brutal, long-lasting war became apparent. The massive social changes which took place during those four years, especially for women, were interwoven into the story-telling in a convincing way, without ever becoming polemically overwhelming. The explorations of family loyalties and expectations, and how these can shift very rapidly during times of crisis, were all authentically conveyed. However, I don’t want to reveal anything specific about what happens during the shared correspondence between Tom and Evie because the power of the story lies in the gradual revelation of the many ways in which they, and other characters, change during the long years of that dreadful war. The use of the characters to demonstrate how people learnt to cope with loss, in all its forms, whilst still trying to retain hope, not only felt credible, but also felt almost unbearably heart-breaking at times. I loved the epistolary format of this moving and memorable story, mainly because it offered a real sense of intimacy with the characters, making them, and all their hopes and fears, come alive in ways which felt totally convincing. As a result, when I had finished the story I felt a real sense of loss at having to let them go. It also made me reflect on the fact that the real letters which were exchanged between servicemen and their families during the war provided such a rich resource for the authors to explore how the war affected ordinary people. I’m sure this made a huge contribution to the fact that each of the characters, and their individual experiences, felt so authentic and credible. I find myself wondering whether, with the more ephemeral nature of correspondence using modern technology, the minutiae of people’s everyday experiences will survive for future generations to look back on and learn from? It seems astonishing to me that these two authors didn’t meet face to face until half way through their shared writing project; knowing that it was a joint authorship I had wondered whether I would be able spot any differences in style, but I didn’t. I don’t know exactly how they decided to share out the writing of the story, but what I do know is that together they achieved a remarkable, cohesive and seamless whole.
  • (4/5)
    I find novels written in letters beyond charming and this World War I novel was charming. It very much reminded me of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in that two charming characters fall in love with each from a distance. Evie is a young woman with too much energy to be pent up at home while her brother and his best friend goes off to war. She starts writing them both immediately, trying to keep their spirits up and live vicariously through them. She's stuck at home attending tea parties, knitting scarves for soldiers, and writing the most humorous and heartfelt letters to Will (her brother) and Tom (his best friend). As the years progress and the tone of the war changes, she starts to find herself falling for Tom, but she's pretty sure it's one sided. What would Tom ever see in his best friend's younger sister? Romantic, thrilling, and full of wit and charm, this novel will be sure to charm readers.
  • (5/5)
    I have just finished this book and I'm trying to keep my emotions in check. No I'm not going to be able to write without crying. I loved the way the author tells the story through letters between characters. You get to know each character and it is easy to fall in love with them. The details of the war were vivid and I could feel the pain and suffering as the letters were sent back and forth. It is hard to imagine the war raging in 1914 and the trials people went through. So many lives lost and deep sorrow overwhelming for families. Evie is definitely my favorite character. Her heart is so sincere and I love how the author shows her determination to help in someway during the war. Women were mostly used to nurse the injured, supply socks for the troops and keep the home running. Evie has other plans. Her spunk is very refreshing and I loved how her letters to Tom were filled with encouragement and dare I say , infatuation? Evie I applaud you for your love for mankind and your sense of duty to help during the war. Tom is Evie's brother's best friend. As both her brother and Tom are shipped out to serve in the war, a correspondence starts between Evie and Tom. I loved his fierceness and protectiveness Tom had towards Evie. As I read the letters between them I wanted so much for them to reunite and live happily ever after. But as the war rages on, it seems impossible for them to meet up. I love how they share very intimate thoughts and open up to each other. The story takes readers to a war that was hard fought and the lives that were changed by it. I loved the surprises in the story. It is filled with some emotional moments that grab your heart and squeeze as you feel tears stream down your face. Don't miss this wonderful book and share in the lives between Evie , Tom and others. Will there be a wedding between anyone? Can they all survive the war? Thank you for writing a book that takes us from 1914 to the late 1960s as we follow characters that fill the pages with strength, love and dedication.I received a copy of this book from The Goodreads Giveaway program. The review is my own opinion.
  • (5/5)
    In 1969 Tom Harding makes a final trip to Paris for Christmas. While he is there he re-reads all the letters sent between 1914 and 1918. In 1914, Evie Elliot's brother, Will and best friend, Tom leave for the Front. Evie diligently writes to both of them. In their letters, the three divulge their greatest wishes, fears, and emotions. Most of all, they all wish for the war to be over by Christmas so they may celebrate the holiday in Paris. Little do they know how much the War will change all of them. An all at once heartwarming and heartbreaking story of love and loss during World War I. Told almost entirely in letter exchanges between Evie and her loved ones, this book completely enveloped me as I devoured every word. There was so much passion in the writing, especially the letters between Thomas and Evie, I felt as if these could be two real people. I felt like I was immersed into their most intimate moments and my heart raced for when they would finally declare their love for one another. Through the letters, I was able to see the impact of the war from all sides. Through Evie, I got a sense of how it felt to be left behind, the worry, dread and depression of fearing that your loved ones may not come home and the overwhelming urge to do something about it. Through Tom, the gruesome depictions of the Front that the media wouldn't let anyone know of as well as the mental toll that war takes on the soldiers. Also, through Evie's exchanges with her friend Alice, we learn of the many ways that women jumped in to help from delivering the mail, to nursing and driving ambulances to the Auxillary Corps and even writing newspaper articles. What affected me most was Tom's re-reading of the letters and his opening of the final letter at the end. Overall, a wonderfully written historical novel reminding me of the sacrifices made by our veterans. This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    I used to write and receive a lot of letters. I am sad to say that I have let that go by the wayside for the most part, only writing a Christmas letter anymore. Early on in my letter writing career though, I used to keep every letter I ever received. I think I had some sense that if any of my long distance friends became famous, it would be good to have their words for posterity. Yes, I was a weird kid, honestly thinking about this before I even hit double digits! So far none of the friends I spent years writing to have become famous though, which is probably a good thing since their letters have long since found their way to the recycle bin. When you move a million times, unfortunately there's just no good justification for holding onto all of these sentimental things. It actually does make me a little sad thinking about all those lost words sent specifically to me though. Although epistolary novels aren't written to me specifically, I do still love reading through the letters in them and appreciating the idea of all those words tied up in ribbon for posterity so I was delighted to read Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb's new WWI novel, Last Christmas in Paris.Opening in 1968 with an ill and elderly Tom Harding making plans to go to Paris for his last Christmas where he plans to open one last letter, the bulk of the novel is a collection of letters and telegrams from WWI arranged, with one notable exception, in chronological order. When WWI is declared, Evie Elliott promises to write to her beloved older brother Will and his best friend, also a friend of hers, Tom Harding. Tom writes back consistently while Will is a less reliable pen pal. The 1914 letters are buoyant and certain of a quick finish to the war with Evie reminding Tom that the two of them, Will, and Evie's close friend Alice will reunite in Paris for Christmas. As the war continues on, the letters take a darker turn, showing the melancholy and despair that crept in but also showing as Evie and Tom opened up their very souls to each other. Evie not only reminds Tom of the good about the home front, but she also details the frustrations of not being able to do anything substantial (she's an appalling knitter) and the way that small but important opportunities start to open up to the women left behind in order to free more men to fight. Tom's letters tell of his anguish at losing his men and his friends as well as some of the truths that the government is suppressing in order to keep support and morale high at home. Other letters, beyond Evie and Tom's, add substantially to the plot as well. Evie writes to her friend Alice, a woman who enlists as an ambulance driver and nurse near the front, adding to Evie's feeling of being trapped and useless at her family's home but offering another perspective of "the war to end all wars." Tom's father's accountant, who is trying to help Tom keep the family newspaper, The London Daily Times, afloat while Tom is mired in mud at the front and Harding Sr. is ill writes to him about various issues with war time reporting, conflicts with Tom's cousin over the running of the paper, and his father's decline. More letters, to or from others, are sprinkled throughout the novel as well. The epistolary nature of the novel makes for a limited view and few side plots but the letters outside of the bounds of Evie and Tom's correspondence allow the reader to see beyond their own cautious, carefully considered words to each other and see them falling in love through words even if they remain uncertain of each others' depth of feeling. The early letters are naive and hopeful while the later letters show the progress of the war in their aching and uncertainty, freighted with so much that cannot be said. The novel is emotionally full despite the restraint in the letters themselves. Students of history will anticipate some of the events and will cringe as they read certain place names in Evie's letters, making the tale both personal and global. The novel shows the importance and power of words and represents the "un-silencing" of women at home through Evie's newspaper column. It touches on the emotional cost of war, for soldiers and civilians, beyond the obvious loss through death. Jumping back to 1968 and Tom's need to be in Paris at Christmas to read the last letter following each succeeding year of war time letters reminds the reader that life, full of all its attendant love and sorrow, has gone on after the atrocities that played out in France, not once but twice. Evie and Tom are characters with whom the reader will find it easy to become invested and the history is well researched and included organically. Frustratingly, Tom's rancor and lack of trust towards his cousin John is mentioned obliquely many times but the history of these feelings is never quite revealed, a newer incident being the stand-in for why he's not all he appears. And a final surprise toward the end of the novel isn't really much of a surprise for astute readers. The novel is well-written and engaging and will definitely suit epistolary novel fans, those who enjoy reading about WWI, and general historical fiction buffs.
  • (4/5)
    So beautiful, so heart breaking. The most sumptuous prose.
  • (5/5)
    In August, 1914, England was at war and many men joined up to fight the Germans in a war that they believed would be over by Christmas. Left behind in England were the families of the soldiers who were proud of their men for going off to war. Four years later, the war still raged on and instead of joy and hope, the families in England and the soldiers themselves were full of despair and depression. Last Christmas in Paris provides an up close look at the families and the soldiers during this 'war to end all wars'.This novel, written by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb is told almost entirely by letters. Most of the letters are between Evie and Thomas, her brother's best friend, but there are also letters between Evie and her brother Will, Evie and her best friend Alice and a few others. As the novel begins, Evie, Alice, Will and Thomas have plans to spend Christmas in Paris after the war is over but as the years and the war drags on those plans get left behind. The happy young people at the beginning are soon worn out with the constant bad news from the front and they realize that this war will take a toll on them both physically and mentally. Thomas longs to get home due to issues with his father's business and Evie yearns for a way that she can do more to help the war effort than by knitting gloves. As the letters between Evie and Thomas continue, they grow closer to each other and begin to fall in love. Will their love be able to overcome all that is going on in their worlds?This was a fantastic book. By using letters, the reader could learn more about the personalities of the letter writers, their feeling with what was going on and their hope for their futures. I loved getting to know these characters and learning more about WWI. Be prepared, there will be tears so have Kleenex close to you.Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
  • (3/5)
    I've been longing to read Last Christmas in Paris for what feels like ages and what better time than in the run up to Christmas? In actual fact, this is not a book with any real Christmas feels at all and so I would recommend it as a read for any time, not just the festive season.This is a story that is told almost completely in letters. For the most part those letters are between Evelyn Elliott and Thomas Harding. The year is 1914, the First World War is new and although the pair have been friends since childhood (Thomas and Evie's brother, Will, are best friends) it's the onset of war that leads to them entering into a correspondence. At first the letters are fairly tentative and formal but as the war progresses a greater intimacy in the way they correspond comes about.If I'm completely honest, the epistolary format probably took away a lot of the emotion that I might have felt with a book such as this. The First World War usually tends to cause a lump in my throat if not full blown tears, but on this occasion I wasn't moved so strongly. I did, however, enjoy the letters as they flowed between Thomas and Evie, and also between Evie and Will, Thomas and the custodian of his father's newspaper, and Evie and her best friend, Alice, who becomes a nurse in France.It was interesting to view the war from the completely different perspectives. The soldiers were obviously dealing with the day to day horrors, whilst at home it hardly touches Evie, a quite privileged young woman, at all. I enjoyed how their story unfolded, punctuated at each year end between 1914-1918 with Tom in 1968 heading off for Christmas in Paris. There were a couple of points towards the end where I didn't know if the story was going to go one way or the other but I was pleased with how it was wound up. This book will definitely appeal to those who like epistolary books. For me it lacked the emotional punch I was expecting but it was still a lovely and romantic read.
  • (5/5)
    I wish it were longer, especially to wrap up the story.
  • (4/5)
    I am a fan of both of these ladies. They make a great team. It was flawless as I could not tell which writer wrote which parts. If you are a fan of historical fiction than you will be in for a treat with this book. Instantly, I felt a connection with Evie, Thomas, and Will.Although, the story started off in letter format and Evie and Thomas never spent much time with each other physically, I felt as if they were closer than they ever could be through the letters they wrote each other. The letters were short and did not provide a lot of details and they skipped periods of time but this is what made the story good. It kept the story from being bogged down and moving along at a steady pace. Again, even though Evie and Thomas did not spent time with each time, they shared love for one another. The ending will touch your heart. Last Christmas in Paris is a heart warming story that will make you believe in true love. 
  • (4/5)
    "The Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I" by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb is a beautifully written story of love, loss and hope during wartime. It's written mostly in letters and has a Downton Abbey feel to it. Ms. Webb and Ms. Gaynor give such a beautiful and moving portrayal of how war affects every aspect of one's life. They show this through the letters of a few young people. In the beginning of the war, the letters are full of excitement, a sense of adventure, pride and thoughts that the war won't last long. As one can imagine, the letters and the people in the letters change as the war gets more serious, moves closer to home and becomes a lot longer than everyone had anticipated. The characters have to share and communicate everything through these letters (and sometimes telegrams)--they didn't have our modern technology. Parts of the letters in the book are blacked out--showing how even the letters are censored. The large newspapers will show only the happy side of war and newspapers get in trouble and are censored for showing the truth. This fact made me really angry, as it does to Evie (one of our main characters), who takes up writing for one of the newspapers. There is such a contrast between the women's lives at home and what is actually happening on the front (as told by Evie's brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas). We see the war through the eyes of this trio. Their emotions go from enthusiasm, to denial, to despair, and eventually to hope (and love makes its way in there too). I fell in love with the characters in this story, especially Evie and Thomas. I went through all the emotions they went through. At times, it was so heavy that I had to take a break from the book. But it's such a great story, that I still really wanted to know what happened to these characters and couldn't stop thinking about them, even when I wasn't reading. I love how Evie and Thomas become closer through letter writing and are able to say things that they wouldn't be able to say in person. Letters and the written word are so powerful. This is also shown through Evie's column that she writes for the war effort and the amazing response she gets. There are so many great themes in this books and important topics that are covered. This is not a light read, but it is so moving and beautiful. At times it is heart wrenching and I almost started crying (which I don’t often do with books). My heart was on my sleeve as I approached the ending–and it did not disappoint! I will certainly look at Christmas differently this year and will be thankful for peace, family and the opportunity to celebrate in freedom! Content: I give this novel a PG-13 rating. There is the use of minor swear words. The Lord's name is taken in vain. There is the mention of how women are treated on the war front and talk of prostitutes. There is a man with PTSD. A child is born out of wedlock.Rating: I give this book 4 stars.I want to thank Heather Webb, Hazel Gaynor, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, William Morrow Publishers and Harper Collins Publishers for the complimentary copies of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.
  • (4/5)
    Last Christmas in Paris is a dual timeline story told predominantly through letters and telegrams. The majority of the letters are written between Evie Elliott and her brother Will’s best friend Thomas Harding. The authors do an incredible job describing the horrors of war both on the battlefield and at home while also detailing the relationship developing between Evie and Tom. The story unfolds at the right pace, and I was constantly turning pages to see what was going to happen next. My favorite parts of the book were that it was told through letters (I love stories told through correspondence) and the historical information that was included. Some of the World War 1 facts included are commonly known: the British and Germans singing carols on Christmas Day in 1914 and the British thinking the war would be short-lived; however, other facts were new to me. I didn’t realize that treatment for the mental anguish of war (PTSD but not named that during World War 1) existed that long ago. I think of that as a more modern phenomenon. I also was completely fascinated with (and somewhat horrified by) the Order of the White Feather, a woman’s group that made it their mission to shame those men who did or could not join the army to fight in World War 1; many men were working undercover or had been rejected for service for health reasons and still these awful women were indiscriminant in who they targeted. I knew that men who didn’t sign up to join the army were harassed, but I had no idea there was such a coordinated effort. It is very depressing that people are so quick to judge or condemn, and I found this group’s actions to be a good reminder of how an idea (in this case to try and recruit more soldiers) can go so completely awry.Last Christmas in Paris is a gem. Thanks to William Morrow for this ARC; all opinions are my own.
  • (5/5)
    MY REVIEW OF "LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS' by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb WOW! Can you imagine reading a book about "The Great War" World War 1, and not only absorb the devastation, emotional and physical distress of both the men and women involved, and yet feel the love, friendship, faith and hope?  Authors Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb have teamed up to write "Last Christmas in Paris". The Genres of this book are Historical Fiction and Women's Fiction. with a dash of Romance. The timeline of this novel takes place during World War 1, a few years after and then in 1968. The story takes place in England, France, Paris and Scotland. I appreciate the authors' historical research to clarify the details during the war and this time period in history and the political events surrounding this. The authors describe the characters'  personalities, and how they change during these complex and complicated times. Evie Elliott, a headstrong and determined young women watches her brother Will and his friend Tom Harding leave for the front, they all believe that the war will be over be Christmas. They make a promise to meet in Paris for Christmas. The authors show through eloquent letters, how this promise is not to be for now. The descriptions through these letters depict a despicable war, the weapons, the destruction and loss, and conditions, The morale of the men is at an all time low, as the war goes on, and they depend on these letters as a lifeline of sorts. The women in England try to do their part by knitting, sending packages and letters. For Evie, this is not enough. Using a pen name she writes a column in the newspaper, describing how bad the circumstances are for the men and women, and what the women can do to be helpful. Evie and Thomas do keep a correspondence through writing , and each seems to find it difficult to express their true feelings of love. Is it possible for love to endure the circumstances of war? I found "Last Christmas in Paris" to be engaging and captivating and I would highly recommend it for readers who enjoy Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction and Romance. I received a copy of this book for my honest review.   
  • (4/5)
    Evie Elliott watches her brother Will and his best friend, Thomas, leave for Europe to serve in World War I. The three of them are very close and have never been separated. Evie is naive and believes that everyone will be together for a Christmas reunion in Paris. The three of them stay in contact via letters, and these communications become the fabric and timeline for the story. Evie is frustrated with her life as a young woman and is also unsettled with the lack of “real” news reported by the British government. She has an idea of the grim life as a soldier in France from Thomas’ letters. Evie channels her disappointment by writing a column for a local newspaper. As the war drags on, Thomas and Evie continue their correspondence while hoping for the elusive Christmas in Paris.This novel by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb was unique because the story is told in letter format spanning over several years. This book was collaboration between two authors living in different countries, and is a great read for those loving historical fiction.