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Review: The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

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My Interest

World War II is a major interest of mine. Young women, “girls” in the parlance of the day, going undercover to help with sabotage ahead of D-Day–how could I NOT be interested?

The Story

A special group of young women is recruited to be dropped into France and help with intelligence-gathering and, ultimately, sabotage of bridges and other things to help make the eventual D-Day landing safer for allied troops.

The leader of the “girls,” Eleanor Trig, is a no-nonsense immigrant with all the right British values. Her “girls” are a varied lot, chosen for their impeccable French and their ability to blend in. [Side note–fitting in was why Ian Fleming chose the very bland name “James Bond,” for his famous fictional spy]. They then train in seclusion in Scotland before being dropped behind enemy lines.

Two of the “girls,” Marie and Josie, are featured. Two of their male counterparts, cousins Julian and Will, are also featured.

The counter-story, set just after the war in New York City in 1946, features lawyer Frankie, who works helping displaced persons and other new immigrants, and his gal Friday (in the parlance of the day), young widow Grace. [Yes, “Grace and Frankie….] Grace happens to “find” photos of the secret agent girls.

What I Loved

I loved that it was mostly believable. OK, there WERE a few moments that strained belief, but they were blips on the radar screen, seen once for a moment–not repeating for hours. No spoilers here though! I especially loved how Marie involved in training–how well I remember both the first grueling days as a runner and the eventual satisfaction that came with improving and holding my own. I loved that!

What I Didn’t Like

No spoilers. I have to say, as a librarian who has worked since well before the Internet, the amazing research victories were just that AMAZING. “F” used for France in an organization all about stealth and secrecy did make me giggle. But. that was teeny-tiny. There was nothing I truly said “Oh come on!”

My Verdict

3.75 Stars

To explain the tiny fall from 4.0 would be a spoiler.

I enjoy this author’s work and look forward to many more from her.

 

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