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The Postmistress of Paris

Review

The Postmistress of Paris

Nanée is an American heiress living a carefree life in Paris. She flies her red Vega Gull around the country, attending posh parties with artists and writers, while her poodle, Dagobert, tags along by her side. Throughout her life, she never let herself think of love as something for her, until she meets Edouard Moss, a widowed photographer, and his young daughter, Luki, in early 1938. Not willing to let herself fall for Edouard, she pushes away her feelings, even after her friend notices how quickly she took to him and Luki.

With everyone in France watching and waiting as German forces march toward the country --- they know it’s only a matter of time, and there’s little for anyone to do but wait and talk about the atrocities heading their way --- Nanée is anxious to do something to help. Along with her friends, whom she considers her family now, she watches as France begins to cooperate with German forces, rounding up its own citizens and putting them in camps. Not able to watch her now adopted country go down this path, Nanée joins an underground group to help those being targeted escape France and the Nazis’ grip.

"THE POSTMISTRESS OF PARIS is a captivating story about a woman giving everything she has to help, even in a small way, restoring a bit of faith at a time when we all need to know that good things can still happen."

Edouard and Luki were lucky to escape Paris to a quieter place along the French coast. When German soldiers make their way to his new location, Edouard does what he can to protect his daughter. But he ends up being separated from Luki, and eventually he is taken to a camp and left to face a future not knowing what happened to her. When Nanée finds out that Edouard is now a prisoner, she offers to help, willing to buy his freedom if necessary. She puts herself in danger to bargain with the Commandant at the camp to gain his release, knowing that he means more to her than she wants to admit.

Known as the Postmistress of Paris for her willingness to trek to the dark corners of the city to deliver clandestine information, Nanée puts herself at risk for those she’s never met, all in the name of helping the country she has called home for many years. Using her money and American passport as shields, she relays messages, does all she can to protect her friends, and even lets herself feel love for the first time in a very long time. This is an unexpected love story --- for an adopted country being overtaken in war, for a chosen family, for art, and for a poodle who will stand by his mistress through it all.

For years I shied away from World War II fiction because I was too heartbroken by it. Recently, though, I’ve been drawn to the stories set during this time, wanting to feel the emotions and understand the motivations of the people. This is one of those stories that shines, its characters flawed and lovely, and generous to a fault. It’s heartbreaking but not in the ways you’d expect. Author Meg Waite Clayton takes the time to heal the heartache along the way, letting you as a reader grieve and get stronger to face what’s coming next.

THE POSTMISTRESS OF PARIS is a captivating story about a woman giving everything she has to help, even in a small way, restoring a bit of faith at a time when we all need to know that good things can still happen.

Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski on December 17, 2021

The Postmistress of Paris
by Meg Waite Clayton

  • Publication Date: November 30, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • ISBN-10: 0062946986
  • ISBN-13: 9780062946980