The French Photographer
Inspired by the incredible true story of Lee Miller, Vogue model turned one of the first female war photojournalists, the new novel by the bestselling author of The Paris SeamstressManhattan, Paris, 1942: When Jessica May's successful modelling career is abruptly cut short, she is assigned to the war in Europe as a photojournalist for Vogue. But when she arrives the army men make her life as difficult as possible. Three friendships change that: journalist Martha Gellhorn encourages Jess to bend the rules, paratrooper Dan Hallworth takes her to places to shoot pictures and write stories that matter, and a little girl, Victorine, who has grown up in a field hospital, shows her love. But success comes at a price.France, 2005: Australian curator D'Arcy Hallworth arrives at a beautiful chateau to manage a famous collection of photographs. What begins as just another job becomes far more disquieting as D'Arcy uncovers the true identity of the mysterious photographer -- and realises that she is connected to D'Arcy's own mother, Victorine.Crossing a war-torn Europe from Italy to France, The French Photographer is a story of courage, family and forgiveness, by the bestselling author of The Paris Seamstress and A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald.

The French Photographer Details

TitleThe French Photographer
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 26th, 2019
PublisherHachette Australia
ISBN-139780733640025
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, War, World War II

The French Photographer Review

  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    Jessica May’s modelling career stalled when she headed for Europe as a photojournalist in 1942. She was only allowed to the hospital camps – women couldn’t go near the front line – and while the male journalists had their own areas to send copy from, Jess and her friend Martha Gellhorn had to do the best they could. It would be the meeting by Jess of Dan Hallworth, paratrooper in charge of many men and well respected by those same men, that would change Jess’ ability within those pages of war, a Jessica May’s modelling career stalled when she headed for Europe as a photojournalist in 1942. She was only allowed to the hospital camps – women couldn’t go near the front line – and while the male journalists had their own areas to send copy from, Jess and her friend Martha Gellhorn had to do the best they could. It would be the meeting by Jess of Dan Hallworth, paratrooper in charge of many men and well respected by those same men, that would change Jess’ ability within those pages of war, and the stories and pictures that would make a difference.When Jess first met Victorine, a sweet little girl who was being cared for at one of the field hospitals, she soon grew to love her. The daily horrors and cruelty that surrounded them all were eased just slightly as she held Victorine in her arms. Other women photojournalists joined Jess and Martha, among them Lee Miller – their work essential, and what the censors didn’t cut out, made it to publication. When Australian curator D’Arcy Hallworth arrived at the chateau in France in 2005 to collate the photographs of an unknown photographer, she had no idea the shattering changes which were about to overtake her life. Her disbelief when she saw a photo of her own mother in among the relics of the past had her doubting everything she’d known of her life. D’Arcy couldn’t understand the connection of her mother to this long ago past – and she wasn’t sure if she was brave enough to pursue it either…The French Photographer is the latest by Aussie author Natasha Lester and it’s absolutely heartbreakingly brilliant! I can’t believe this author can continue to improve her books, time and again – but this one, in my opinion, is her best yet! Based on fact, the descriptions of the war years, the different characters which grew on me – Jennings was a sweetheart; Victorine a delight – and the others who were despicable but so well drawn. But the three main characters – Jess, Dan and Victorine – were so very special. The French Photographer is a wonderful historical fiction novel by an author who is right on top of her game – and I highly recommend it.With thanks to Hachette AU for my copy to read in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    *www.onewomansbbr.wordpress.com*www.facebook.com/onewomansbbrThe French Photographer by Natasha Lester. (2019).Paris, 1942. Jess's modelling career ends abruptly and she manages to get assigned to the war in Europe as a photojournalist. The army men make her life as difficult as possible but three friendships keep Jess going: journalist Martha, paratrooper Dan and a little girl called Victorine. But Jess' *www.onewomansbbr.wordpress.com*www.facebook.com/onewomansbbrThe French Photographer by Natasha Lester. (2019).Paris, 1942. Jess's modelling career ends abruptly and she manages to get assigned to the war in Europe as a photojournalist. The army men make her life as difficult as possible but three friendships keep Jess going: journalist Martha, paratrooper Dan and a little girl called Victorine. But Jess's success comes at a price...France, 2005. Australian art curator D'Arcy arrives at a beautiful chateau to manage a famous collection of photographs. Then D'Arcy uncovers the true identity of the mysterious photographer and discovers that the photographer is corrected to D'Arcy's own mother, Victorine. Wow. Another 5 star read from this author! Historical war fiction is not one of my favourite genres but lately there has been some pretty great books that I've enjoyed in this category and The French Photographer is definitely one of them. I love that this author has such strong, intelligent female leads that are ahead of their time - I find myself so drawn to these characters and admiring them. I didn't want to put this book down. The best way I can describe how I felt while reading this novel would be: you know your heart is going to hurt at some point but you keep reading because you just can't stop, and you still hold out hope that it will be a perfect ending for the characters you've fallen in love with. The dual narratives work perfectly together and both are intriguing and absorbing. Don't miss out on this enchanting narrative!
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  • Marianne
    January 1, 1970
    The French Photographer is the fifth novel by best-selling Australian author, Natasha Lester. Art handler and aspiring documentary maker, D’Arcy Hallworth has travelled to France in June 2004 to pack a collection of photographs for exhibition in Australia. D’Arcy has long admired The (anonymous) Photographer’s work, and D’Arcy is sure work of such compassion could only have been done by a woman. At the chateau, Lieu de Réves, D’Arcy encounters The Photographer’s agent, Josh Vaughn, an attractive The French Photographer is the fifth novel by best-selling Australian author, Natasha Lester. Art handler and aspiring documentary maker, D’Arcy Hallworth has travelled to France in June 2004 to pack a collection of photographs for exhibition in Australia. D’Arcy has long admired The (anonymous) Photographer’s work, and D’Arcy is sure work of such compassion could only have been done by a woman. At the chateau, Lieu de Réves, D’Arcy encounters The Photographer’s agent, Josh Vaughn, an attractive but very reserved American lawyer. After some days of writing condition reports and crating, D’Arcy is invited to the attic to examine some boxes of unframed work with Josh, and discovers a photograph dated 1944, with her mother’s name on the back: a man with a young girl. Victorine Hallworth was born and schooled in France before giving birth to D’Arcy in Australia, and has never been very forthcoming about her youth. D’Arcy is understandably intrigued: is this child really her mother? And is Dan Hallworth, Editor in Chief of World Media Group, not just her mother’s boss, but something more?Jessica May is famous as a model for Vogue, but her ambitions lie with photojournalism. In 1942 Vogue agrees to send her to Europe as their war correspondent, and she is thrilled. She jumps through multiple hoops to finally be approved and is sent to Italy, a field hospital, where she will record the experiences of the war nurses. But she accidentally ends up at the front, in a trench, her report drawing the ire of her London Public Relations Officer. Captain Dan Hallworth sees her to safety and later backs her up, but from then on PRO Warren Stone seems to have Jess in his sights.Along with the other female correspondents, she’s frustrated by bureaucrats intent on thwarting their attempts to get a story under the guise of “protecting the weaker sex”. They are forbidden to go to the front, they are denied their own transport, they are excluded from Press camps and the work of male correspondents always takes precedence over theirs at the censor. On top of this, Jess is burdened with Warren Stone’s dirty tricks campaign. But at the field hospital she meets little Victorine, Dan Hallworth’s “niece”, and soon there’s a bond of friendship between the three.The narrative alternates between two time periods and is carried by two main narrators (Jess and D’Arcy) with two minor narrators filling the necessary facts towards the end. Two romantic love stories are told, the first against the background of World War Two, the second involving an intriguing mystery, while a third gets a passing mention. Lester gives the reader many characters who are appealing and easy to care about, to shed tears for, but also some truly selfish characters who are coldly and calculating and behave shockingly, taking advantage of the goodness and integrity of others. Guilt and shame, but also the wish to save others from heartbreak, mean that secrets are kept and potential happy-ever-afters not realised. And unknowing children are lovingly raised by parents not actually their own.In her Author Notes, Lester states that this novel was inspired by the true story of American war correspondent for Vogue, Lee Miller. She details her extensive research, noting the many actual events that occur in the narrative, and the story highlights the misogyny and sexual harassment prevalent during the war, as well as the atrocities committed against women, by men on all sides of the conflict. Interesting and moving, this is heart-warming historical fiction.This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Hachette Australia.
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  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    I have no idea where to start with this book, what an intensely, powerful, beautiful, emotional and moving story that was so hard to put down, yet I read slowly and savored every word, as I journeyed through World War 2 with Jess and Dan and then 2005 I got to know D’Arcy as she un-ravels some secrets that cause some more heartbreak but also opens hearts to forgiveness, keep the tissues ready.Jessica May is modeling for Vogue in New York in 1942 she is a beautiful woman who is open a I have no idea where to start with this book, what an intensely, powerful, beautiful, emotional and moving story that was so hard to put down, yet I read slowly and savored every word, as I journeyed through World War 2 with Jess and Dan and then 2005 I got to know D’Arcy as she un-ravels some secrets that cause some more heartbreak but also opens hearts to forgiveness, keep the tissues ready.Jessica May is modeling for Vogue in New York in 1942 she is a beautiful woman who is open and honest and a very talented photographer and journalist as well and gets an assignment as a photojournalist in Europe to cover the war, here she meets many other female photojournalists and the way they are treated is hard to take, but friendships and strong bonds are formed with people like Martha Gellhorn and paratrooper Dan Hallworth, who actually knows how to treat these woman that get the stories told with heartfelt emotions, Jess gets photos that will still be printed years later they are beautiful and special, she also meets a little girl Victorine who is living in a field hospital and the special bond they have is amazing and special. But emotions run high, hearts are broken and yet love survives. In 2005 D’Arcy Hallworth daughter of Victorine, is sent to a chateau in France to gather some photos from a famous collection to bring to Australia for an exhibition, this has D’Arcy uncovering who the photographer is and discovering the link that she has to this person. The photos are opening up so many emotions for D’Arcy making her wonder about the past and what she can do try and see some things right, and there is Josh as well someone for D’Arcy to lean on.I don’t think I am going to forget this story for a long time to come, I am still tearing up thinking about what to write in this review, I can say that it is a book that is a must read, it really has left me speechless in its telling of a woman who was determined to be heard in times when woman weren’t heard well and the things that happened during a terrible time in history and then the love between Jess and Dan that although had so many things thrown at it did last for them both, I loved the courage and strength that was Jess and the forgiveness that was needed and given, yes this is one I highly recommend.
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  • Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.comA writing star on the rise’, we are just so lucky here in Western Australia to call Natasha Lester one of our very own. She is truly a megastar in the historical fiction world, cementing her place as one of the leading specialists in the field of dual timeline and historical narratives. The French Photographer exudes Natasha Lester’s style, grace, commitment to history and her ability to place the focus on our female trailblazer *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.comA writing star on the rise’, we are just so lucky here in Western Australia to call Natasha Lester one of our very own. She is truly a megastar in the historical fiction world, cementing her place as one of the leading specialists in the field of dual timeline and historical narratives. The French Photographer exudes Natasha Lester’s style, grace, commitment to history and her ability to place the focus on our female trailblazers of yesteryear.The French Photographer takes the reader far and wide, to some of the world’s most cosmopolitan destinations. From London to Italy, France, New York and our very own Sydney. We follow the inspiring journey of two women who are inexplicably linked by the bonds of war, survival, sacrifice, love and commitment. The story begins in Paris, in the year 1942. We meet Jessica May, a stunning young woman with a modelling contract, that takes a nosedive when her images are splashed across a Kotex advertisement. This turn of events leads Jessica to the offices of Vogue, working as a photojournalist in the war. Life on the front is gruelling, Jessica faces an uphill battle to perform her job in the face of the men who dominate the field. But, the friendship of a fellow journalist, a paratrooper and a young girl changes Jessica’s life forever. Linked to Jessica’s compelling story is that of D’Arcy Hallworth, an art curator from Australia, who is assigned to a job involving a mysterious photograph collection based at a French chateau in 2005. D’Arcy is determined to learn more about the identity of the photographer, but it comes at a price, striking right at the heart of her own family origins. The French Photographer is a story rich in family connections, the bonds of love and the strength of the human spirit.Natasha Lester has burst back into our reading lives, with her latest and I dare say, her greatest historical fiction showpiece, The French Photographer. A beautifully composed dual timeline narrative, this highly absorbing narrative follows a former model turned photojournalist Jessica May, in the midst of World War II, along with an art curator in the year 2005.Those who know my reading preferences will be aware that my favourite style of books are dual timeline historical fiction novels. So, I knew I was going to be in a clear win-win situation with The French Photographer. However, what I did not expect was to be so taken aback by the strength of Natasha Lester’s story and her prose, as well as the sheer brevity of this novel, I felt a little winded! The French Photographer is one of those special one of kind books. They don’t come around too often, but when they do, it is best to hold on tight and not let go!So why am I singing the praises of The French Photographer? The historical footing is second to none. Just one glance through the extended Author’s Note, contained at the back of the book, provides the reader with an excellent insight into the history behind the story. It also gives the reader a great deal of insight into the extensive research process undertaken by Lester and the fascinating real life figures this book was based upon. What I loved about The French Photographer was the connection to famous figure Lee Miller. I also came to look forward to the various well known artists, writers and journalists that populated the novel. There is just no faulting Natasha Lester’s research, in any shape or form.What I came to appreciate greatly after reading The French Photographer and reflecting on my experience of reading the novel, was the importance placed on the role of a war photojournalist and their vital place in the war. The experiences of war journalists, especially females, are rarely shared, discussed or acknowledged. Lester’s prose gives us an excellent snapshot of the vital work of a war photographer.‘In every photograph, Jess had held both horror and beauty in her hands – a thing as precious and rare as an asymmetrical butterfly. It was her duty to transmit that to the world, no matter what it did to her stomach. She picked up the Rollei, pressed it to the glass and captured on film exactly what now, child’s play had become.’Utterly astonishing, breathtaking and sublime writing, here in all its glory.Dual timeline narratives often depend upon a rich sense of place and atmosphere. This is another area where Natasha Lester shows her prowess. Both the 1942 and 2005 narrative evoked an overwhelming sense of place. With each turn of the phrase I felt like I was stepping on the very ground the characters were walking on, which takes great skill as a writer. In particular, I found the attention to detail in the World War II narrative so impressive. I came away feeling desperately sad about the war yet again, as there was an another set of experiences that I was not previously aware of. Natasha Lester does not shy away from those hard to handle areas of the war, it is a warts and all, not a bandaid style approach. Likewise, the 2005 narrative was absolutely breathtaking. I just adored the sequences set in the French chateau and I relished the experience of uncovering the mystery aspect of the novel.Romance is Lester’s forte and there is so much passion, missed opportunities, heartache, and angst in the love stakes. This applies to both Lester’s modern day couple and her World War II courtship. I do have to say I kept I kept turning the pages just for Jess and Dan, both as a potential couple and their independent stories. I just adored Jess and Dan’s love story, it was an epic, Gone with the Wind style romance, which is my favourite kind. Jess and Dan battle against true love, duty, honour, promises and self sacrifice. And, in keeping with real life, the pathway to love is never smooth sailing, nor does it promise a happy ever after. Expect to reach for the tissues at least once, twice, or even three times while reading The French Photographer!The most overwhelming feature that I feel that I must acknowledge before closing off this review is the feminist focus. Lester’s approach to this aspect of the novel is to be applauded. She recognises the efforts and bold sacrifices made by those women from times past. The women like Jessica May, Martha Gellhorn and the like. The women who fought against the system, broke down the barriers of their gender, asserted themselves in a male dominated world and made steady gains for women across the world, in many roles. In some respects, The French Photographer is an essential novel for the modern day reader, it acknowledges the hard yards undertaken by our sisters of the past.It pains me to have to close off this review, but I fear I could continue singing the praises of Natasha Lester all day and night! I will leave you with a strong parting testament, The French Photographer is a crowd pleaser. This novel should be widely read, enjoyed, discussed and celebrated – for its significant place in the world of progressive historical fiction.*Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.The French Photographer is book #43 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Poignant, heartbreaking, and enthralling!The Paris Orphan is an absorbing, emotive tale predominantly set in France during 1942, as well as 2005, that is told primarily from two different perspectives; Jessica May, a young model turned photojournalist who journeys to Europe to document the real dangers, consequences, and atrocities of war; and Darcy Hallworth, a young art handler who inadvertently stumbles upon a family history littered with secrets and sacrifices while preparing a c Poignant, heartbreaking, and enthralling!The Paris Orphan is an absorbing, emotive tale predominantly set in France during 1942, as well as 2005, that is told primarily from two different perspectives; Jessica May, a young model turned photojournalist who journeys to Europe to document the real dangers, consequences, and atrocities of war; and Darcy Hallworth, a young art handler who inadvertently stumbles upon a family history littered with secrets and sacrifices while preparing a collection of photographs for an Australian exhibit.The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are brave, resilient, and determined. And the plot, along with all the seamlessly intertwined subplots, is an impressive blend of drama, mystique, emotion, secrets, love, loss, courage, passion, heartbreak, as well as an insightful look at the struggles faced by female correspondents during WWII, and the importance of friendships.Overall, The Paris Orphan is a wonderful blend of historical facts and alluring fiction that transports you to another time and place and immerses you so thoroughly into the personalities, feelings, and lives of the characters you never want it to end. It is without a doubt one of my favourite novels of the year and is another fine example of Lester’s extraordinary talent as a remarkable researcher and memorable storyteller.Thank you to HBG Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Theresa Smith
    January 1, 1970
    Last year, when I reviewed The Paris Seamstress, I wrote that it was my favourite novel by Natasha Lester, and indeed, it was in my reading highlights list for 2018. But here we are, a new year with a new novel by Natasha, The French Photographer, and yes, I’m saying it again…this is my favourite novel by Natasha Lester. I’d go so far as to say that it is her best yet. There’s a strength to the writing in this novel, a reckoning with regards to her themes that just elevates this novel into a cla Last year, when I reviewed The Paris Seamstress, I wrote that it was my favourite novel by Natasha Lester, and indeed, it was in my reading highlights list for 2018. But here we are, a new year with a new novel by Natasha, The French Photographer, and yes, I’m saying it again…this is my favourite novel by Natasha Lester. I’d go so far as to say that it is her best yet. There’s a strength to the writing in this novel, a reckoning with regards to her themes that just elevates this novel into a class of its own. It’s brilliant, insightful, and wrenching; an ode to all of the women who fought for their right as journalists and photographers to report on WWII. History is rife with inequalities against women, and here, in The French Photographer, Natasha rips the dust cloth off and shakes out the rot that is steeped into the history of women in journalism, exposing it all, in its shocking and distasteful glory."As a woman, she had absolutely no access to press camps, which meant no access to briefings, or to maps, or to news about hot spots and likely strafing attacks and the day’s objective or anything else that would actually give her an idea which part of the country was safe and which wasn’t. When Jess had pointed out that this would put her at more risk that the men, nobody seemed to care. And she still had to wait in line with her stories; hers were sent back to London where the censors tore them apart and then directed them on to Bel, which meant that her words occasionally make no sense as she wasn’t allowed to review them. Whereas the men submitted theirs direct from France after their very own sensor had checked them and allowed the men a final edit."Inspired by war correspondents such as Lee Miller, Iris Carpenter, Lee Carson, Catherine Coyne, and Martha Gellhorn, The French Photographer not only examines the misogynistic treatment of these war correspondents within their work environment, but also the way in which the war was reported on, particularly with regards to the treatment of women, post Allied victory. The stories the people at home ‘didn’t need to hear’, and which male reporters weren’t interested in reporting on because when balanced against bolstering morale for the war efforts, these crimes against women weighed less. The entitlement that some members of the armed forces had towards women, particularly German women after the Allied victory, can be summed up aptly by the title Jessica May gives to her piece written after the war: “I’ve Got A Pistol and There Ain’t Nobody Going to Stop Me Having Her” – which was based on Iris Carpenter’s recollections in her memoir. The French Photographer tells an important story, and the extent of Natasha’s research gives this work of fiction a gravity and merit that offers it up as a worthy source for historical insight, as well as a springboard for further reading. This novel is strongly feminist, and while Natasha’s work has always been this way, The French Photographer is sharper, less subtle, and all the more powerful for it."Nobody else would take those pictures; a male photojournalist would never think nurses worthy of any interest besides the prurient. And of course the War Department wouldn’t let Bel have Jess’s pictures because then everyone would know that a woman had been in a combat zone and that, apparently, was the real problem, not the death and dying and undocumented bravery of that small tent full of women in Monte Cassino."The French Photographer is a dual narrative, but both eras are firmly linked. D’Arcy, in 2004, is an art handler, charged with the responsibility of packing up a collection of photographs from a famous photographer, whose identity has remained secret for decades. As D’Arcy digs deep into the collection, she begins to discover connections between herself and the photographer that don’t sit well with her. This is where Natasha excels at story building, applying human connections to her narrative that span generations. Keeping the sections short, the story moves along at a fast pace, building the tension within both eras, and as we near the end, Natasha switches perspectives to two other characters, major players whose voices offer an essential finish to this heartbreaking family story. And it is heartbreaking, more tragic love story than romance, mirroring real life with precision."There were almost too many things happening for D’Arcy to grasp them as individual hurts and losses, as well as wonders and astonishments. She suddenly felt as if she understood Balzac’s belief that a person was made up of ghostly layers, layers that image-taking stripped away each time a photograph was taken."There are some really beautiful passages of writing in this novel. Atmospherically rendered, inviting the reader to immerse themselves into the world the characters were inhabiting. A saturation of the senses, so to speak.For example:"D’Arcy felt as if she were being lured little by little into a forest, as if a trail had been laid for her the moment she stepped foot into the chateau and she could do nothing but continue inexorably on into the gloaming."And this:"How lovely the night was, the gentle whisper of flower stems stretching and yawning and then curling in to slumber, the swish of the last bird’s wings flying home to roost, the rustle of night creatures awakening. Lemon and chive-scented air. The taste of champagne grapes on her tongue."Glorious! Needless to say, I highly recommend The French Photographer – an illuminating and transporting read that will take your breath away.Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of The French Photographer for review.
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  • Literary Soirée
    January 1, 1970
    Natasha Lester’s latest historical novel is a drop-dead gorgeous winner! VOGUEINGIt features Jessica May, a protagonist inspired by real life Vogue model and WWII correspondent Lee Miller.NIGHTMAREThe dual timeline narrative starts in 1942, when Jessica leaves modeling in Manhattan after her boyfriend destroys her career. Vogue sends her to Europe as a photojournalist, but the Army’s sexist restrictions make covering the war a nightmare. SALVATIONShe finds salvation Natasha Lester’s latest historical novel is a drop-dead gorgeous winner! VOGUEINGIt features Jessica May, a protagonist inspired by real life Vogue model and WWII correspondent Lee Miller.NIGHTMAREThe dual timeline narrative starts in 1942, when Jessica leaves modeling in Manhattan after her boyfriend destroys her career. Vogue sends her to Europe as a photojournalist, but the Army’s sexist restrictions make covering the war a nightmare. SALVATIONShe finds salvation, however, through journalist Martha Gellhorn, who encourages her; paratrooper Dan Hallworth, who makes possible access to key places and stories; and orphan Victorine, who opens her heart.SHOCKSegue to 2005, when Australian art handler D'Arcy Hallworth comes to France to curate a collection of famous photographs. Through her work, she uncovers the unknown photographer’s identity and is shocked to discover a connection to own mother Victorine. HEART The story seizes the heart, undergirded by Lester’s meticulous historical research, compelling characters, masterful narrative, and writing as lovely as Lee Miller herself. FAN!I grant THE PARIS ORPHAN the highest stars possible and can’t wait for Lester’s next, The Dior Legacy, slated for publication next year. I’m a fan through and through now!STUNNERBut please please please replace this cover, pretty as it is, with the stunner that graces the Australian release. It is the most arresting in all of publishing!Pub Date 03 Sep 2019. Thanks to the author, Forever (Grand Central Publishing) and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #TheParisOrphan #NetGalley #FemaleWWIICorrespondents #NatashaLester
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  • Rachael McDiarmid
    January 1, 1970
    Easy five stars from me. Why!? Even though the author broke my heart (like she will yours) it is a wonderfully written story of an amazing, strong, courageous woman in WWII (Jessica - the photographer in the book’s title). You can’t help but love her. She’s feisty. And obviously talented. Fast forward to 2005 where we meet D’Arcy, another strong willed young woman - and how she uncovers the connection between the two of them. The world works in mysterious ways and I’m not going to give away anyt Easy five stars from me. Why!? Even though the author broke my heart (like she will yours) it is a wonderfully written story of an amazing, strong, courageous woman in WWII (Jessica - the photographer in the book’s title). You can’t help but love her. She’s feisty. And obviously talented. Fast forward to 2005 where we meet D’Arcy, another strong willed young woman - and how she uncovers the connection between the two of them. The world works in mysterious ways and I’m not going to give away anything else. WHY? You just need to read it and get swept up into the story, particularly the story of Jessica May and Dan Hallworth. I will give you one tip however: if you get emotionally invested in your characters and their storylines, have tissues ready. [I’m still mad at you Natasha Lester!]
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  • Fiona
    January 1, 1970
    Well, I am having a hard time accepting the ending.....
  • Robin Loves Reading
    January 1, 1970
    UNFORGETTABLE QUOTES:Every word I write is as difficult as tears wrung from stone.She’d tried letting her photographs speak for her and it wasn’t working. Time to unleash a different weapon.The war was marching on without them. Their male counterparts were the only ones reporting anything worth reading.she knew the moment she caught it that it was the image that would show America what war had become. Not a gallant and heroic jousting for glory but a savage and b/> UNFORGETTABLE QUOTES:Every word I write is as difficult as tears wrung from stone.She’d tried letting her photographs speak for her and it wasn’t working. Time to unleash a different weapon.The war was marching on without them. Their male counterparts were the only ones reporting anything worth reading.she knew the moment she caught it that it was the image that would show America what war had become. Not a gallant and heroic jousting for glory but a savage and bestial destruction of humankind.I implore you to believe this is true.I’ve Got a Pistol and There Ain’t Nobody Going to Stop Me Having HerFiction is all about what is possible and both of these examples made me believe that it was possible for Victorine to have been accommodated in a field hospital for a few months.MY THOUGHTS:Female photojournalists during World War II were treated unfairly, and that is an understatement. Jessica May has just lost a contract with Vogue magazine. Jess may have lost her livelihood, but not her drive. Actually, she has had another desire all along. Having spent years learning about photography while her parents were alive, along with a yearning to write, she strives to become a woman taken seriously in the world of photojournalism.First Italy. Then Paris, with many places in between. Jess not only sees the very worst war has become, she must fight another battle. This is one of becoming worthy of being taken seriously, despite the fact that she is a woman. Jess, along with a few other women, fight tooth and nail to get access to the important stories. They want to report on the travesties of war, just like their male counterparts.Not only does Jess have to fight to be in a place that counts, she fights one man in particular, Warren Stone. Stone would rather Jess fail on many levels. However, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Hallworth opens many doors for Jess, keeping her as safe as possible so that she can prove her incredible value. Meanwhile, Dan casts a protective net around a little girl named Victorine, keeping her as safe from the horrors of war as possible.The story begins a back-and-forth shift from the war to 2005. We then meet D'Arcy Hallworth, an art handler and curator hired to protectively package countless photos from an unnamed artists. The scope of the job is a bit out of the ordinary for her, but it is a once and a lifetime opportunity for her, so she travels to Paris. When D'Arcy arrives, she meets people who will change her life forever. This will also affect the relationship she has with her mother, Victorine.What an emotionally charged story! Having read dozens of historical fiction novels still left me woefully unprepared for what I was about to read in The Paris Orphan. The realities of war, dark, brutal and devastating, left me in tears more than once. I was drawn into the characters as much as I was drawn into the effects of the war. Those named, and those unnamed. For starters, There are Jess, Dan, Victorine, Martha Gellhorn, Lee Miller, D'Arcy, Josh and Jennings. Then there were the victims of the war. Although fiction, Natasha Lester did a tremendous amount of research (as revealed in the words at the end of the book), that allowed her to include historical facts, characters and places in the affecting story. This book gets the highest rating I can give. Can I say I loved it? In some ways, no. I was heartbroken. However, it is history that contained an incredible amount of realism and that allows me to highly respect it and find the tremendous value it offers tor lovers of anything historical related to war.I usually read my books straight through, but this book took a few sessions. I had to think about it, dry more than a few tears, and realize how thankful I am to live in a land unaffected by war. It saddens me, however, that there are yet entire populations still suffering the unimaginable in today's times.Thank you, Ms. Lester, for writing such an impressive book. I also want to thank the author for writing Jessica May's story that was actually based on the life of Lee Miller. I encourage readers to discover for themselves why this book wasn't about Lee (although she was a secondary character) and why Ms. Lester chose to create the character of Jess.Many thanks to Forever and to NetGalley for this ARC to review. This is my honest opinion.
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  • Leanne Lovegrove
    January 1, 1970
    Natasha Lester makes you feel so much in this, her latest novel. We fall in love with the main characters, Jessica, Dan, Victorine and D'Arcy and shed tears over what they must endure. Everything is perfect - the settings, the history, the exquisite writing. It's a passionate and heart-wrenching fabulous read.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful, heartbreaking and utterly captivating. Some authors write a book or two and peak and that’s it – but my goodness, Natasha Lester is an absolute gem whose talent is just amazing and again and again I am totally in awe of her books. I am so happy I loved this book as much as her previous books if not more. Based on a real photojournalist in WWII and how women tried everything possible to be included in reporting the war, this book features a storyline and narrative that just takes you e Beautiful, heartbreaking and utterly captivating. Some authors write a book or two and peak and that’s it – but my goodness, Natasha Lester is an absolute gem whose talent is just amazing and again and again I am totally in awe of her books. I am so happy I loved this book as much as her previous books if not more. Based on a real photojournalist in WWII and how women tried everything possible to be included in reporting the war, this book features a storyline and narrative that just takes you effortlessly to another time and place – and I equally enjoyed the characters in WWII as much as the ones in 2005. With strong women, heart-skipping-a-beat love stories and an ending that just breaks you but at the same time lifts you up. I recommend this to all my book loving friends. A must read 5++
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  • ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my, Natasha Lester knows how to write amazing stories.Before you start reading, google Lee Miller Hitler bathtub for a bit of an idea of what kind of woman our leading lady, Jess May is inspired by.I just started singing Pop Musik by M as I was writing this, as our story takes us from New York and all across Europe during the last couple of years of WW2.I was drawn right into this story, and swept away with Jess and the other female war correspondents, who tackled not only war, but misogyny and sexism every day.She caught Oh my, Natasha Lester knows how to write amazing stories.Before you start reading, google Lee Miller Hitler bathtub for a bit of an idea of what kind of woman our leading lady, Jess May is inspired by.I just started singing Pop Musik by M as I was writing this, as our story takes us from New York and all across Europe during the last couple of years of WW2.I was drawn right into this story, and swept away with Jess and the other female war correspondents, who tackled not only war, but misogyny and sexism every day.She caught the beauty of war, along with the pain and suffering and horrors - I found myself googling people and places as I was reading, as I needed to get more of a visual of the places she was writing about.Told both in the 2000s and during the war, it was wonderful to see the links form and get uncovered between The Photographer of today and of the amazing people surviving the atrocities.I couldn't help but turn each page to find out where she was next, what she was capturing, what emotion I was going to feel next.This story has also made me interested about reading more of the ladies like Martha Gellhorn, Lee Miller and their ilk.Thank you Ms Lester for another amazing story.         
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  • Vanessa Carnevale
    January 1, 1970
    Loved every minute of it! It was everything I want in a novel and more. Sweeping, romantic, and utterly captivating. Natasha Lester has done it again. I won’t forget this story in a hurry.
  • Monique Mulligan
    January 1, 1970
    What can I say about The French Photographer by Natasha Lester that hasn’t already been said? Natasha goes from strength to strength, delivering old fans and new immensely engaging stories one after another. I don’t know how she does it (although if you check her blog, she shares a lot of her process)! Inspired by the true story of American photographer and photojournalist Lee Miller, The French Photographer is romantic, captivating and bursting with historical insight. It’s exactly what I’ve co What can I say about The French Photographer by Natasha Lester that hasn’t already been said? Natasha goes from strength to strength, delivering old fans and new immensely engaging stories one after another. I don’t know how she does it (although if you check her blog, she shares a lot of her process)! Inspired by the true story of American photographer and photojournalist Lee Miller, The French Photographer is romantic, captivating and bursting with historical insight. It’s exactly what I’ve come to expect from Natasha, but each time, she surprises me with how effortlessly she transports the reader from wherever they are to Paris, London, the war front and so on. Her writing is graceful and assured and … enviable! The French Photographer shines a light on a dramatic and turbulent time in history, but also on the talents of a writer I very much admire. If you’re a fan of historical fiction and you haven’t yet checked out Natasha Lester’s books … well, what are you waiting for?
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  • Joanne
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely brilliant, loved it from start to finish. It’s soulful, heartbreaking, with powerful imagery. Best quote “She caught it, it was the image that would show America what war had become, not gallant and heroic jousting for glory, but a savage and bestial destruction of humankind.”
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  • Louise
    January 1, 1970
    What a story! Told in two timelines, this is the story of Jessica May, a model-turned-photographer for Vogue during WWII, and D'Arcy Hallworth, a curator in modern-day Australia. It has all the hallmarks of a Natasha Lester novel—meticulous research, brave women, a story that keeps you guessing and romance. I was particularly drawn, too, to the Author's Notes at the back of the book. I'd never heard of Lee Miller, upon whom the protagonist is based. As soon as I'd finished reading, I found an of What a story! Told in two timelines, this is the story of Jessica May, a model-turned-photographer for Vogue during WWII, and D'Arcy Hallworth, a curator in modern-day Australia. It has all the hallmarks of a Natasha Lester novel—meticulous research, brave women, a story that keeps you guessing and romance. I was particularly drawn, too, to the Author's Notes at the back of the book. I'd never heard of Lee Miller, upon whom the protagonist is based. As soon as I'd finished reading, I found an official website which shows her photographs, including many of those mentioned in the novel. She really was an amazing and courageous woman, and I hope this story shines a light on her photography and life.
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  • Kerran Olson
    January 1, 1970
    I love Natasha's books because not only are they beautifully written and full of well rounded characters, but I also learn so much reading them! All the research that went into creating this story is evident in the little details, the locations, the descriptions of hotels and chateaux and photographs. The character of Jessica May is inspired by the life of Lee Miller,  and some of the things that Jess (and in reality  also Lee) has to endure in this book is astounding. The fact that appearing in I love Natasha's books because not only are they beautifully written and full of well rounded characters, but I also learn so much reading them! All the research that went into creating this story is evident in the little details, the locations, the descriptions of hotels and chateaux and photographs. The character of Jessica May is inspired by the life of Lee Miller,  and some of the things that Jess (and in reality  also Lee) has to endure in this book is astounding. The fact that appearing in a Kotex ad could be career-ending just speaks volumes of the way women were perceived and of the expectations placed on them in society. Throughout the French Photographer Jess struggles time and time again to be considered equal to the men performing the same jobs as her, and to rise above their perceptions of her as "just a model" and "just a woman". Her determination to be more than society expects is one of the things I loved most about Jessica.  I've read a fair few WW2 novels, but this one is unique for me in the way it is approached from the perspective of correspondents trying to report from the front line, and being censored and restricted in how honestly they can really portray the war. I think that this created such a huge divide between the realities of war and the way those people back home perceived it. The people that lived through the war, such as Jess in the book, had such a different outlook on the world as a result. The character of Amelia really illustrates this divide, as she has so little idea of the real dangers and atrocities when she arrives in Europe towards the end of the war- made up and in her stockings to find a handsome husband- and doesn't seem to really grasp what happened there. As well as loving Jess and her determination and strength, I loved Dan. He was so kind and compassionate and caring, not only to Jess and to Victorine, but to his men, and he was all these things despite the things he had seen and done and experienced that could have hardened him. I also liked D'Arcy and Josh and the way they helped each other break down the walls they had each created and start to heal. And the way all of these stories came together was beautiful and bittersweet and heartbreaking, and Natasha once again made me smile and sob and wish that everything could always work out even though I know it can't. I was never a big reader of romance, but I picked up one of Natasha's books a few years ago and just loved it, as I have every book since. I love the historical settings, all the details that add so much to the story, the characters and the ways they are flawed and the ways they come together. Natasha is definitely a favourite author of mine, and I 100% recommend The French Photographer, and all of her other books.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    From historical fiction author, Natasha Lester, comes her best novel to date, The French Photographer. Released overseas as The Paris Orphan, Lester’s fifth outing is set in the beautiful country of France with a dual timeline of 1942 and 2005. Right from the beginning, it is clear that Lester has researched her historical narrative. With Lester’s attention to the smallest detail and vivid descriptions, the reader feels as if they stepped through time, back to World War II. The protagonist durin From historical fiction author, Natasha Lester, comes her best novel to date, The French Photographer. Released overseas as The Paris Orphan, Lester’s fifth outing is set in the beautiful country of France with a dual timeline of 1942 and 2005. Right from the beginning, it is clear that Lester has researched her historical narrative. With Lester’s attention to the smallest detail and vivid descriptions, the reader feels as if they stepped through time, back to World War II. The protagonist during this period is Jessica May, based on the real life Lee Miller. Miller was a Vogue model turned photojournalist and Lester has bestowed the same talents on her protagonist. In a time when change was in the air for women, Jessica was initially seen as just a pretty face. Jessica proved time and time again through her actions and words in the war, that she was much more than that. She showed that she was an honest, selfless woman who was also gritty and tough in the face of the most difficult period of her life. I deeply admired Jessica for the integrity she displayed when it came to matters of the heart, especially when it concerned her beau, Dan. Not may people, man or woman, would be able to make the choices she did and follow them through. Alternating chapters with Jessica May is D’Arcy Hallworth in the year 2005. In the contemporary narrative, D’Arcy Hallworth is the main protagonist. She is a young, Australian woman who works as an art curator. After being asked to go to France for her job, D’Arcy comes to realise that she has ties to Jessica. It was a privilege to go on the journey with D’Arcy to discover the truth about not just Jessica, but also about her own mother, Victorine. With major themes of World War II and women’s right, The French Photographer is a must read for fans of women throughout history. #AWWC16#
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  • Tanya Nellestein
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this book, definitely my favourite of Lester’s. the story of female correspondents in WWII is one that deserves telling again. The love stories that weave in and out of the timelines are both beautiful and frustrating as a reader....sliding doors.... the final act seems a little cruel - without spoilers....both on the same soil, couldn’t Lester have given them just one more moment??????
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    The French Photographer is a beautifully written novel by Natasha Lester.Inspired by a true story of one of the first female war photo-journalists, Natasha brings us this new enticing novel, The French Photographer where we meet the main character, Jessica May, a Vogue model and photographer in Paris.It's historical fiction with a vision into all aspects of photography in the 1940's ~ a time of war and destruction.There's solace, peace and tranquility to be fo The French Photographer is a beautifully written novel by Natasha Lester.Inspired by a true story of one of the first female war photo-journalists, Natasha brings us this new enticing novel, The French Photographer where we meet the main character, Jessica May, a Vogue model and photographer in Paris.It's historical fiction with a vision into all aspects of photography in the 1940's ~ a time of war and destruction.There's solace, peace and tranquility to be found in the gardens of the chateau named 'Lieu de Reves' where plane trees grow and the scent of chestnut lillies fill the air.Surround yourself in the gardens overgrown with wild pansies, wild orchids, wild plum and mulberry trees, oaks and chestnuts.Discover the Wood White Butterfly and the Queen of Spain Butterfly.Find out how and why The Jessica May Foundation was formed and its significance in the story.What is the connection Victorine has with Jess or the chateau?Picture yourself in a blue Renault as you drive through picturesque Van Gough yellow cornfields as you delve into this story of The French Photographer by Natasha Lester.
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  • Sam Still Reading
    January 1, 1970
    The ending of The French Photographer had me at a standstill. It is that powerful. My emotions were in a tangle. I didn’t know whether the cry my heart out with sadness, smile at the happiness for some characters or just collapse in a heap. It is simply a marvellous novel that combines the horrors of war with the dramas of life wrapped up in a beautiful setting (and with quite a few examples of delicious food).Like Natasha’s past historical novels, The French Photographer has a dual The ending of The French Photographer had me at a standstill. It is that powerful. My emotions were in a tangle. I didn’t know whether the cry my heart out with sadness, smile at the happiness for some characters or just collapse in a heap. It is simply a marvellous novel that combines the horrors of war with the dramas of life wrapped up in a beautiful setting (and with quite a few examples of delicious food).Like Natasha’s past historical novels, The French Photographer has a dual timeline. This time it’s between the early 2000s and 1940s, with D’Arcy and Jess the main characters. Jess is a model who suddenly finds herself out of work when her image is used in a scandalous sanitary product advertisement. Rather than be heartbroken, Jess decides now is the time to do what she’s wanted to do – become a war photojournalist. After numerous hurdles, Jess finds herself ready to go in Europe but the bureaucracy and sexism is just as rampant. Nobody believes that a woman can be a journalist in war conditions and the PR men are out to ensure the female journalists fail. Jess is determined not to, and a meeting with Dan Hallworth and his ward Victorine turns into the best of friendships. As the war continues, Jess learns that nobody is as truthful as they might seem… Victorine’s daughter, D’Arcy, is an Australian curator who has come to France to package a number of images by an anonymous photographer for exhibition. She’s drifted through life until now, but the beautiful chateau and the mysterious artist’s agent Josh has D’Arcy thinking ahead into the future for the first time. Will the discovery of a family secret ruin everything and cause her to run away?I’ve deliberately kept my description of the plot very general as not to ruin any of the surprises in store for the reader. As the story progresses, the twists and turns of the plot become as convoluted as the small trees at the chateau that conjure up ghostly shapes. It’s brilliantly plotted, with all the seemingly unrelated threads coming together for a grand finale that will move even the stoniest temperament. The plot and setting also give the modern reader insight into lesser known aspects of the war. I can’t say I knew a lot about female war journalists before reading The French Photographer (nor much about the handling and packing of art)! Since finishing the book, I’ve been reading online about the inspiration for Jess, Lee Miller.Jess is an impressive character. She’s not perfect by any means as she says what she thinks, often very bluntly. She’s fiercely loyal, yet has a vulnerability that she doesn’t like to show. Jess is the kind of character you want to lead a novel as there will be never a dull moment. D’Arcy was a bit flightier to me, at times I felt she hides herself from the reader to avoid scrutiny. Her growth during the novel was pleasing to see though. As for Dan – well, he’s A Good Man. Solid, dependable and with a sense of humour. What more could you want? I loved very aspect of The French Photographer. It combines history with a blockbuster of a story. I couldn’t ask for anything more!Thank you to Hachette for the ARC. My review is honest.http://samstillreading.wordpress.com
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  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    Natasha Lester books have all been five star reads for me. So it was with great anticipation that I took up her latest novel. Yet again Natasha has floored me with her storytelling, almost to the point of speechlessness. Where to start with a read that was so powerful, so raw and intense, taking the reader on a rollercoaster ride of emotion. This book consumed me and, closing the last page, left me almost bereft. Just when you think she can’t get any better, Natasha produces another spellbinding Natasha Lester books have all been five star reads for me. So it was with great anticipation that I took up her latest novel. Yet again Natasha has floored me with her storytelling, almost to the point of speechlessness. Where to start with a read that was so powerful, so raw and intense, taking the reader on a rollercoaster ride of emotion. This book consumed me and, closing the last page, left me almost bereft. Just when you think she can’t get any better, Natasha produces another spellbinding tale, a true historical showpiece. Being such a fan of dual timeline narratives, Natasha has excelled in this genre with this highly absorbing tale that follows a former model turned photojournalist Jessica May, in the midst of World War II in tandem with the modern day tale of art curator D’Arcy.Romance is something Natasha writes well and here you will lose yourself in the passion, the heartache of lost or missed opportunities. Amazingly this applies to both storylines, which in itself, is a difficult undertaking. The story is filled with so many characters to love (and hate!), adore and cry for. Jess’s feistiness is fabulous, her moments of saying what she thinks, priceless. And what about Dan - Dan’s the man! - he could indeed be one of my all time favourite fictional male leads. Yet, this is also a tale about war and tragedy. You cannot help but be absorbed into the story and feel like one of the female war correspondents, who had to wage battle against not just the enemy, but the sexism that prevailed. I consider myself fairly well versed on WW2 details, but the research Natasha has presented here was new and astonishing. To feel like a witness to the hapless task for so many female correspondents, wanting to report on the details but being censored for every word and disallowed to portray the truth of what was occuring to the world at large. ‘The men died, not gloriously, not spectacularly and certainly not without anyone to mourn them, disappearing into the mud beneath their feet. Two lives had just ended, one of them was frozen in time inside her camera. She didn't know how she would bring herself to look at that negative, didn't know that she could ever allow herself to discover exactly what it meant to die. She was supposed to be glad; two fewer Germans was a goodthing for her country. But how could anyone be glad of a boy dying alone, an unthought-of consequence in this grand mess called war?’It is here that I must pay tribute to the many female correspondents and applaud not only their perseverance and efforts, but the real sacrifices they were prepared to endure for equality. The courage and strength exhibited throughout this book is so powerful. The Author's Notes at the back of the book most noteworthy.Finally, a focus on Natasha’s writing prowess. The links she makes between past and present tales - I mean how does she do it? I will not give anything away regarding the plot but truly, this is a masterpiece of writing. The balance Natasha strikes and links made between chapters and events is mindblowing. And the ending ... with all the air sucked out of my lungs ... I could not breathe! It is that powerful. Bittersweet, heart wrenching and breathtaking - literally. The French Photographer by Aussie author Natasha Lester is absolutely brilliant. It is a very special kind of book, that is to be devoured and then ruminated on. Natasha is a delightful author, so accessible on social media and so very humble. Thank you for your storytelling .... never doubt that you are an incredibly talented writer and congratulations on producing and sharing the amazing tale that is, The French Photographer ‘Every word I write is as difficult as tears wrung from stone.’This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher.
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  • Sue Seligman
    January 1, 1970
    This is an amazing and engrossing historical fiction novel set during World War II, along with a secondary timeline of present day. This will be one of my favorite of this genre to date, up there with The Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Things We Cannot Say, The Lost Wife, Lilac Girls, and many others. I never tire of reading these books, and it seems to me that I learn something new from each one. This book is about the female war correspondents and photographers who batt This is an amazing and engrossing historical fiction novel set during World War II, along with a secondary timeline of present day. This will be one of my favorite of this genre to date, up there with The Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Things We Cannot Say, The Lost Wife, Lilac Girls, and many others. I never tire of reading these books, and it seems to me that I learn something new from each one. This book is about the female war correspondents and photographers who battle sexual stereotypes and misogyny in order to report on the conditions at the front during World War II. Jessica May, a former Vogue model, fights against all odds to document the war for Vogue and the readers at home. Despite the help of journalist Martha Gellhorn (who was married to Ernest Hemingway) and Captain Dan Hallworth, Jessica faces challenges and hostility not only from the enemy, but also male superiors who feel that women do not belong at the front. She is willing to bend and even break rules in order to send her photos and stories back to the American people, and her courage and bravery under fire soon earn her the grudging respect of most of the soldiers she meets. The reader learns that there was a close connection among most of the women who served as correspondents, photographers, and nurses, all of whom faced the obstacles of men who felt women were distractions and threats to security on the battlefield. Despite this stereotype, many of the most memorable stories and photos were produced by these women. Jessica and Dan develop an enduring friendship brought together by a little orphan named Victorine, a small child who serves as the mascot for the company serving under Dan’s command. At the war’s end, circumstances lead to a situation which will force Dan and Jess to make an life changing sacrifice that will have repercussions for generations to come.This book is exquisitely written in terms of character development and descriptions. The reader feels as if she is really experiencing the blood and destruction at the war zone, and relishing in the beauty of the French countryside. The emotional toll on the characters is heartbreaking and at times I was moved to tears. There were twists and turns that I did not see coming, and the characters endured unbelievable triumphs and tragedies. If you want to get lost in a novel, read this book! Do not forget to read the author’s notes at the end regarding her research about the issues raised in this book as well as the settings! Highly recommend!
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  • Sharni Alexander
    January 1, 1970
    I write this review with tears streaming down my very sad face.This fantastic story is beautifully tragic; every human emotion is felt whilst reading Natasha Lester’s novel.The characters make you “feel” as you watch their stories unfold. Jessica May, whose character was based upon the true story of model and photographer, Lee Miller, lured me into the story with her beauty, passion, spunk and dedication. Dan Hallworth, the handsome, honourable and mysterious hero, made me swoon. I write this review with tears streaming down my very sad face.This fantastic story is beautifully tragic; every human emotion is felt whilst reading Natasha Lester’s novel.The characters make you “feel” as you watch their stories unfold. Jessica May, whose character was based upon the true story of model and photographer, Lee Miller, lured me into the story with her beauty, passion, spunk and dedication. Dan Hallworth, the handsome, honourable and mysterious hero, made me swoon.The entwined timelines and characters were easily kept track of, and kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what exciting secret would be revealed next.I loved this book, but be warned, it must only be read with a box of tissues at hand...especially toward the end.
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  • Anna Loder
    January 1, 1970
    I loved it! I love historical fiction, I love romance, I love characters though so I was always going to love it. I could feel the dirt beneath my nails, everything was all so well described. I know and love Jessica May, I have always admired go getters. Dan is such a gentlemanly hero. I will just always read whatever Natasha Lester writes, I knew I was in the safest hands. Fantastic book
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  • Morgan
    January 1, 1970
    The first part of this book could not have been better, I relished the story, the characters and the superb writing. Come Chapter 26 it all fell apart. The personal relationships were unrealistic, ridiculous and annoying. I wish I could say more without giving spoilers, but I can’t.
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  • An Aussie Book Nerd
    January 1, 1970
    A book that it so far from my usual reads that I almost didn't read it. But boy, am I so glad I did. I laughed, cried, ugly cried, and was angered; essentially I did a full circle of emotions because the content called for it. A story about women's rights and their experience during WWII which was a time that really focused on the masculinity of men going off to war and woman staying home and tending to the house and children.Jess's character was admirable. She was strong, and identi A book that it so far from my usual reads that I almost didn't read it. But boy, am I so glad I did. I laughed, cried, ugly cried, and was angered; essentially I did a full circle of emotions because the content called for it. A story about women's rights and their experience during WWII which was a time that really focused on the masculinity of men going off to war and woman staying home and tending to the house and children.Jess's character was admirable. She was strong, and identifiable. I loved the vulnerability of Josh and D'Arcy, the walls that were broken given their struggles and the journey of discovery and intimacy that we, the readers, were taken on. The ability to transport the reader to a different time and place is really an art, not everyone can do it, but Natasha use of description, both emotional and situational, was splendid. That was the reason I cried. The reason why I felt so enthralled in every characters journey.It was a story of dedication, passion, strength, and overcoming obstacles to find personal peace. It was inspirational. And it's disappointing that woman have to fight so hard to be considered equals.That ending though!
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  • Tiffany
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, just WOW! I'm honestly not sure I can do this book justice with a review, but I'm going to try. Historical fiction is one of my two favorite genres and this is definitely in my top five books. I gave up sleep to continue reading later than I ever should have, but I don't regret one moment of lost sleep. I highly recommend this to everyone. It is a highly emotional read that will stick with you long after you've finished.What I loved about this book:What I liked most Wow, just WOW! I'm honestly not sure I can do this book justice with a review, but I'm going to try. Historical fiction is one of my two favorite genres and this is definitely in my top five books. I gave up sleep to continue reading later than I ever should have, but I don't regret one moment of lost sleep. I highly recommend this to everyone. It is a highly emotional read that will stick with you long after you've finished.What I loved about this book:What I liked most of all is how Lester emphasized the important role women correspondents played during the war and how much they endured to get their articles back to be published. While this took place way before the me too movement, my heart broke as I thought of the thousands of women who were forced into bed with strangers against their will (many of these women were raped more than once). These women were left scarred and often had to deal with the repercussions on their own.This book also talks about the stress the soldiers endured and the resulting mental illness and addiction that followed. While this was long before a PTSD diagnosis was given, it was obvious that many of the soldiers that returned home suffered. While the women stepped up to preform jobs that were left empty, the soldiers sent into combat lost a bit of their soul and decency each day they had to kill or be killed.I absolutely loved how well this book was researched and how much of it was inspired by the real female war correspondents of WWII. While we may never know all of what these women had to say due to extreme censoring and sexism, I'm in awe of the determination and courage it took for them to do what they did. I've enjoyed adding many of these women's articles to my reading list and I know I'll be reading a lot more about these amazing women.Thank you Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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