Book Review: The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene

For the month of September I'll be reading a few books----my pile of books is growing----with the theme of Paris. As long as the books story is in Paris whether they are there for the entire time or for a brief period, whether it's fiction or non-fiction, the book will be okay to be added to this challenge.
I love France, I love Paris, I hope to travel back to France again someday. I visited the Normandy area in the fall of 1999. This includes Cherbourg, Caen, St. Lo, and St. Mere Eglise. We visited the American cemetery for D-day Veterans. We also visited the beach that was named Omaha Beach. This beach is where my own father stormed ashore 6th of June 1944.

First on the list of books for this reading challenge is The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene.
Published by Berkley Books 2011
368 pages
Historical Fiction/World War II/Nazi Party/Germany/France/Paris/September in Paris Reading Challenge 2012/Romance

The year is 1940 and Claire Harris Stone age 29 lives in New York City with her husband Russell. They live an affluent, high society, social climbing lifestyle. Each of them have an angle going and they use and abuse each other. A man from Claire's past knocks on her door one fateful evening. He reminds her what she left behind. Claire in an impulsive decision and with the help of someone that "owes" her, leaves on the next flight to Paris, France. Never mind that Nazi Germany is on the outskirts of Paris. Claire with the determination of an obstinate mule begins anew in Paris.

Claire is an assertive, aggressive, selfish, impulsive, independent-minded, stoic, sarcastic, prideful, overly-confident gal. She has a commanding presence, when she walks into a room, there is a remarkable hush, and all eyes turn toward her. Yet, I felt that early on in the story she was hiding something, a past that had scarred her and caused her to become bitter. Her bravado is a mask---a stiffly-placed mask, hiding the pain of her earlier life. To me in the beginning she was not a likable character, but I cared about what happened to her. This I love! When I read a story that has a character or characters that I don't like, yet I'm drawn to them, I become invested in the story because I care what happens to them. As the story progressed, and certain experiences and people she became involved with molded her strengths and softened her rough edges. Claire is a the main character of the story as well as the heroine. She was a reluctant heroine at first, becoming involved in the resistance of Parisians against Nazi Germany. Her remarkable talents and abilities become useful in this life or death game against the enemy. 
The Last Time I Saw Paris gives a solid description of the events that unfolded before Nazi Germany invaded France and Paris. The affects on civilians are brought into the story. Their fear and hatred of the enemy, the intense pride and love for their nation are all explored.
The layer of characters are written with just the right amount of information. They added chemistry to Claire's story, they did not vier off and take away from her. They complimented each other.
My favorite secondary character was a middle-aged woman who owns a flower shop named La Vie en Fleurs. Her mentoring of Claire brought about a positive difference in both of them.
Claire is a gal who is sexually aggressive, while the story is not explicit. She knows what she wants and goes after it.

I recommend this story to anyone who loves a love story, World War II fiction books, and a different view coming from the eyes of an American woman living in Paris during the invasion.

Link @ Barnes and Nobles:
Paperback $14.43
Nook $12.99


  1. I know I am over-committing myself this month, but I do want to participate. It might be the only way I ever get to Paris :)

  2. I'm glad to see you liked this one because it's been on my wish list!


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