The Lost Girls of Paris: A Novel

by Pam Jenoff

Paperback, 2019




Park Row (2019), Edition: Original, 384 pages


From the author of the runaway bestseller The Orphan's Tale comes a remarkable story of friendship and courage centered around three women and a ring of female secret agents during World War II.1946, ManhattanOne morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs--each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.--… (more)


½ (316 ratings; 3.7)

User reviews

LibraryThing member BookConcierge
Another WWII story featuring women working as spies through the underground resistance and facing untold dangers. This one starts after the war, when Grace Healey, taking a shortcut through Grand Central Station on her way to work, finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Curious, she
Show More
opens the case and finds a packet of photos, each of the dozen pictures of a different woman. On impulse, she takes the photos. Later she learns the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, who died in a tragic auto accident. But Grace is determined to find out the women’s stories.

There’s much to like about this tale, though I am frankly tired of the back-and-forth timelines used by so many writers these days. The author also uses different points of view from chapter to chapter: Grace, Eleanor, and Marie Roux (a young mother who was one of the couriers working with the resistance in occupied France).

I could have done without the love interest and I thought some of Marie’s actions were inconsistent and downright stupid, given the circumstances. I thought Grace’s role was just padding. The story could easily have been told in a linear fashion with just Eleanor and Marie and would have been about 100 pages shorter.

The character I liked the most was relegated to a rather small role: Josie. She’s a spitfire of a girl and very resourceful. I loved every scene she was a part of.

The one that made the least sense to me was Julian – leader of a band of couriers, he’s in France but doesn’t speak French!

Still, the story, which is partly based on true events, moved quickly and was engaging and interesting. A decent vacation read.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Othemts
This novel is set during the final years of World War II and immediately after the war, and tells a story inspired by the true-life experiences of women serving as agent's in Britain's Special Operations Executive. The novel alternates perspectives among three different protagonists. Marie is a
Show More
young woman recruited as an agent who is sent to work undercover in France not long before the D-Day invasions and has to overcome her inexperience and frequent changes of circumstance. Eleanor is the severe leader of the women's division in France, but her strictness is due to her desire to keep her agents safe both from the enemy and from the government leaders who have no faith in woman doing espionage.

The final protagonist is Grace, a young widowed American who finds a suitcase in Grand Central Terminal and impulsively takes a dozen photographs of women who prove to be SOE agents. Grace's growing obsession with trying to find out who the women are and return the photos where they belong doesn't make much sense and is a drag on the book. Marie's story is the most thrilling as she's actively working in France carrying out missions she wasn't trained for and hoping to avoid capture. But Eleanor's story turns out to be the most profound as it deals with betrayal and personal tragedy.

The book has a better premise than execution, but it was nevertheless an entertaining read.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Paul-the-well-read
The book seemed promising. It was the kind of World War II suspense thriller I generally like. it was pretty standard however. It told the story of women recruited to serve as saboteurs and underground agents to fight against the Nazis. It did have interesting parts and moments of suspense. As this
Show More
done in so many current works fiction, it had to storylines, when used to sort of provide entrée to the other. Both storylines also included a romantic sub text or chat a little to do with the overall story. Neither of The romantic sub-texts was believable. The storyline involving Grace attempting to find the story of the lost agents Was founded on an improbability, more Improbabilities followed as did many unlikely coincidences, and only distracted from the better part of the book. The other storyline, the one involving this stories of the female agents themselves, was far better, was also flawed by too many coincidents and serious improbabilities.
Show Less
LibraryThing member bayleaf
The Lost Girls of Paris is an engrossing, sometimes frustrating, work of historical fiction. In 1946 widowed Grace Healey is living and working in New York. On her way to work one day she comes upon the aftermath of a car accident where a woman was killed. So as not to be late for work, Grace takes
Show More
a shortcut through Grand Central Station and finds a suitcase shoved under a bench with the word, “Trigg,” written on its side. Opening it, she finds an envelope containing photos of twelve women, which she hurriedly shoves in her purse, and then scurries off to work.

In 1943 there’s a big problem. Agents in France are being captured and drastic measures are called for. Eleanor Trigg, assistant to the Director of Special Operations Executive in London, convinces her supervisor to allow her to set up a women’s sector to train them to become field agents in France. What follows is a story that travels back and forth in time between Grace’s fixation with the women in the photos and in particular, one named Marie and Eleanor’s tireless work handpicking and training these woman and following, or trying to follow, them as one by one they leave the safety of London for their work in the field. She, too, has, if not a fixation, a particular fondness for Marie.

My only complaint, if it can be called one, with this novel is the author’s insertion of romance. I found it unnecessary and quite honestly, added nothing to the story. The characters are interesting and strong in their own right. The little bits of romance seemed elementary and not as well written as the rest of the book.
That said, Pam Jenoff has written a good novel, showcasing a different side of WWII and the role the Allied Powers played in the final outcome, the use of women as agents to aid partisans in the field in France.

Thanks to Net Gallery for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Show Less
LibraryThing member BettyTaylor56
I typically really enjoy Pam Jenoff’s books but I do have to say that I believe this is HER BEST YET. It was so hard putting it down; I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

This is a story of WWII Resistance, courage, anguish and Sisterhood. Yes, Sisterhood. The story is told from the
Show More
perspectives of Grace in New York in 1946, Eleanor in London in 1943, and Marie in France in 1944. So readers who have difficulty with alternation timelines should find this story much easier to follow.

One morning as Grace Healey is rushing to work she comes across what appears to be an abandoned suitcase in the Central Grand Terminal. Her curiosity gets the best of her and she opens the suitcase to try to determine the owner. Inside she finds a dozen photos of women, some in what appears to be uniforms. Running late for work, she impulsively takes the photos and continues on her way. Later she learns that the suitcase belonged to Eleanor Trigg, who was the leader of a group of female secret agents who were deployed to Occupied Europe. The photos Grace holds are of the agents who disappeared, their fates unknown.

Now let’s jump back three years to when Eleanor Trigg comes before a furious Director of Special Operations Executive (SOE). Close to 300 agents have been sent into Europe to disrupt munition factories and rail lines prior to the planned invasion. The majority of the agents were sent into France but more and more of them are being killed. Most of the French young men were away at the war so the young male agents deployed to France stood out. Eleanor presents a plan to recruit and train women to send into occupied France, mostly as radio operators. She believes the women would be better able to blend into the local population. Surprisingly her plan is approved.

Marie Roux speaks fluent French and is quickly recruited. Abandoned by her husband, she leaves behind her young daughter as she enters training and is deployed to France. It is through Marie that we learn of the dangers these brave young women faced. What happened to these young women? Who betrayed them?

I was completely captivated with the writing and easily shifted time and place with the story. The characters came to life for me. I was eager to learn their stories and felt so angry at their betrayal. Who could have done that to these brave people?
Show Less
LibraryThing member sleahey
This is an engaging story of British women who were trained to be dropped into France during the German Occupation and assist the French Resistance. Eleanor Trigg, the creator of the women's group, has made their work her life, and readers follow her from 1944 until 1946. Meanwhile, in 1946 a New
Show More
Yorker named Grace discovers a packet of photos of women in Grand Central Station and decides to find out their story. By going back and forth between Eleanor and Grace, and also the story of Marie, one of the women infiltrators, the reader already has a good idea of what has gone on behind the scenes. There are two fledgling romances to add to our interest. I found the premise somewhat incredible, and could not really believe that a character like Grace would drop everything to find out about unclaimed photographs of women who were strangers to her. Nonetheless, I read on eagerly to discover exactly what had happened to precipitate various events. I read this in egalley form, and trust that the many editing errors have been corrected prior to publication.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Cherylk
I am such a fan of this author. The last two books were amazing. What makes me such a fan of the author is the way that the author can make each book such a strong character driven story infused in time periods that transport me back in time as if I was living everything that the characters are
Show More
experiencing throughout the whole story. Sadly, I struggled to find that strong emotional connection this time.

The three women Grace, Marie, and Eleanor are good each in their own ways. However, none of them really commanded the story or their parts like I wanted them to. Well I just did not experience it this way. Out of the three women; I found Eleanor to be the leader and not just because she was a leader of a secret organization. Next it was Marie and finally Grace.

The overall story was good but I did not fly through it like I normally would. Still, I do encourage readers to pick up a copy of this book as well as other books from this author.
Show Less
LibraryThing member ablachly
I'm a sucker for stories of unsung women heroes, and I had high hopes for this book, where one of the characters was a fictionalized version of Vera Atkins. The Lost Girls of Paris has three timelines, following Grace who stumbles upon a suitcase in 1946 New York, Eleanor at SOE in 1943 London, and
Show More
Marie in the field in 1944 Paris. I think it might have been a stronger story without the addition of Grace, focusing just on the tensions of SOE sending women into occupied France. Nevertheless, it was well researched and a compelling read.
Show Less
LibraryThing member HandelmanLibraryTINR
Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.
LibraryThing member kimkimkim
I seem to read a lot of books pertaining to the two World Wars and I almost passed on this one. That would have been not only a mistake but a loss. Pam Jenoff has woven a story about the women who became a part of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and were dropped from England into France as
Show More
radio operators between 1943 and 1944, just ahead of the allied invasion. That story, already told and put to bed, has been left to be discovered by Grace Healy in New York in 1946.

Running late for work and looking for a shortcut which might get her to her office sooner, Grace happens on a traffic accident and has to make a detour through Grand Central Station. She finds an abandoned suitcase, neatly packed containing among other things a pack of carefully wrapped photographs in a piece of lace inside an envelope. The photographs were of young women some dressed in military uniforms, others in smart street clothes. The photographs yield the secrets to be unfolded in this book.

The writing is engrossing and the movement between countries and years is seamless. I was totally involved in the story and regardless of the foregone conclusion dictated by the title I was foolishly hopeful. When the writing is that good that you not only become invested psychologically but emotionally you know the writer has more than achieved her goal.

Lost Girls is based on a real female operative, Vera Atkins, and the women who served under her leadership. Although the story has been fictionalized it is infuriating believable. When I finished this book I was reminded of an old TV commercial. Two older men climb a hill, take off their jackets and get into a slug fest. The import behind the fight is that they are world leaders and are going to do battle instead of sending millions of their citizens to kill one another. If only war was that easy to resolve.

Thanks you NetGalley and Harlequin for a copy.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Beamis12
3.5 Women operatives during WWII, and the dangers they faced. I just adored these characters, become very invested in their welfare, wanted them to succeed where the men had failed. When the OSE realized their male agents were being captured, so many men were gone fighting, they stood out like sore
Show More
thumbs. It is suggested by a woman named Twigg, that females would more easily blend in, and accomplish what they needed to accomplish. She is given control of this very secret program.

The book follows the women as they train, friendships are made, stories are shared. Once deployed to Paris, a few find each other, working for the same circuit. Josie and Marie, one fearless, the other determined to complete her mission. Two timelines, a few years apart, picked up a year after the war has ended, when a young woman finds a suitcase, abandoned in Grand CentrAl Station. Inside, a group of pictures, that will lead her on a trail to putting some erongs, right.

A fast paced story, told well. That is except for the romantic bits, which seemed almost thrown in as an aside. Those didn't work for me, found them a little too obvious snd well corny. Still a interesting read, with some great characters.

ARC from Park Row books.
Show Less
LibraryThing member teachlz
Lindas Book Obsession Reviews “The Lost Girls of Paris” by Pam Jenoff, Park Row Books, January 29, 2019

Pam Jenoff, Author of “The Lost Girls of Paris” has written a captivating, enthralling, suspenseful, intriguing, intense, emotional, edgy and thought-provoking novel. Kudos to Pam Jenoff
Show More
for her amazing well written novel that vividly describes the characters and landscape in the story. I appreciate the historical research that went into this story. The Genres for this story are Historical Fiction, inspired by true events, Partial Fiction, Suspense and Espionage. The time-table for this story is 1946, and just during the war and after the war. The author describes her dramatic and colorful cast of characters as complex and complicated.

It is just after the war, and Grace Healey, now a widow has come to live in New York, while dealing with her loss. A tragic car accident forces her to go through Grand Central to get to work. She trips over a suitcase. Grace sees a name on the outside, and curiosity gets the best of her, and she opens it up. She cuts her hand on something and sees that it is an envelope with pictures that are in lace. They are young women , some dressed in uniforms. Grace tries to see if someone is looking for a suitcase or pictures. Short on time, Grace puts the pictures in her pocket-book and heads for work.

Grace learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, the leader of recruited females in England used as spies that were sent to France during the war. Twelve of the women disappeared and never came home. Grace, with the help of her deceased husband’s friend start to look for more information.

In the pictures are young women named Marie and Josie, amongst others. They were a group of women operatives working for Britain’s Special Operations during the war, stopping and sabotaging efforts of the German as much as they could. It was extremely dangerous, and could mean these young women’s death. Some handled the radios transmitting information, and others blended into the French countryside getting information. Some would blow up things to stop the Germans.

It seems that these women had a friendship and sisterhood that kept them going. They were brave and courageous. Unfortunately their positions were compromised by betrayal from possibly someone in London. Why are these girls missing?

Grace wants answers as to who, what and why this happened. This novel has twists, and turns. There is danger, murder, betrayals, and heart-break. This is an intense and edgy novel that I would highly recommend for those readers who enjoy a thought-provoking novel. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.
Show Less
LibraryThing member SilversReviews
With most of the men at war and definitely more obvious than women if left at home, the best people for special war operations were women.

1943 - Eleanor was the woman in charge of the recruiting and placement of the women.

Eleanor knew it was very dangerous for the women to be doing these covert
Show More
deeds as well as knowing that they are not as strong or physically equipped as men, but the women were definitely less easy to spot or were they? She had to prove to the men in charge that the women she chose were the right ones, and the women could carry out the operations.

1944 - Marie was recruited for one of the dangerous jobs in France since she spoke fluent French.

Marie went through training with Eleanor who was strict and difficult but with Marie knowing she really wasn't. When Marie was sent on her first mission. she was terrified as each woman had been, but the job needed to be completed.

1946 - Grace found a suitcase in Grand Central that had an envelope with photographs of women. This was after the war, and these photographs made Grace curious about who these women were and why that specific suitcase had been abandoned.

Grace needed to find out why the photos were in this abandoned suitcase, who these women in the photos were, and what the connection was to the past and to the war. Grace was also avoiding or was she unconsciously enjoying the company and attention of her dead husband's best friend, Mark.

We follow the lives of these three women in alternating time periods as Pam Jenoff does her magic of detailing and informing us about their private lives, their roles in history, and the situations they were in and had been involved in.

Historical fiction fans as well as women's fiction fans will devour this marvelous book.

THE LOST GIRLS OF PARIS is another beautiful, well-researched Pam Jenoff creation.

DO NOT miss reading this book. 5/5

This book was given to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Show Less
LibraryThing member fredreeca
Grace finds a lone suitcase in Grand Central Terminal. She discovers some pictures within this suitcase which puts her onto the trail of Eleanor. Eleanor is a lady tasked with putting together a group of women who will assist the resistance. Grace is determined to find out what happened to these
Show More
women and what Eleanor was doing in NYC.

The SOE has incorporated women into their operations. Eleanor is placed in charge of this unit. She carefully selects these women and sees they are properly trained. But, you can have all of that going for you and still fail…if you are betrayed.

As most of you know, I love strong women and WWII is my favorite time period. So, this book is exactly my cup of tea. I will say, I was skeptical at the beginning… I mean…who actually goes through someone else’s suitcase? Don’t you turn it in to lost and found? So, this had me doubting the story just a bit. But the more I read, the more intriguing the tale. I was reeled in…hook, line and sinker.

To say I loved this book is an understatement. All the women, the espionage, the danger, the history and the mystery surrounding what happened makes up a unique story not to be missed!

I received this novel from Harlequin via Netgalley for a honest review
Show Less
LibraryThing member arthistorychick
The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff
Source: NetGalley and Park Row
My Rating: 5/5 stars

I have been so pleased with the quality of books I’ve come across so far this year! The Lost Girls of Paris is a truly spectacular read that had me hooked right from the very beginning.

The entirety of this
Show More
story unfolds thanks to a mistake, a moment of impulse that leads Grace Healy on a search to uncover the truth of what happened to a dozen brave and selfless women during WWII. It is less than a year since the end of the war and with memories still fresh and trails still relatively fresh, Grace has leads she can follow and a strong desire to do so. What Grace doesn’t know is the can of worms she’s going to bust wide open when she uncovers the truth.

Grace’s search leads her to the world of one Eleanor Trigg, a most unusual woman who has risen rather high in the ranks related to the war against Hitler. Eleanor is calm, controlled, calculating, and trusted implicitly by her commanding officer, so much so that he authorizes her founding of a training program for female spies. What’s more, Eleanor is in full control of the program from recruiting to deployment; the women are Eleanor’s responsibility and she takes her responsibilities quite seriously.

Under Eleanor’s strict instruction her women are trained as radio operators meant to infiltrate occupied France and help disrupt any all plans associated with Hitler and the Nazi regime. Eleanor’s women are meant to blend in with the locals and when they are safely able to radio back information to London so the Allies can act accordingly. For a time, Eleanor’s women and their work allows London to plan, prepare, and execute some serious damage, but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end and in the case of Eleanor’s women, the end is startingly awful.

As Grace continues to dig into the fate of Eleanor Trigg and her women, she discovers truths that many would prefer never come to light. The fate of Eleanor and her women wasn’t just a tragedy, but likely a homegrown plan meant to sacrifice a few in order to save many. What’s more, because of the time and the place, tracing the fate of each individual woman is going to virtually impossible meaning their families will never know what they sacrificed to bring evil down.

The Bottom Line: The Lost Girls of Paris is an absolutely engrossing book that I finished in just two sittings. While I do like the past meets present trope, I would have been fine without it in this read because the past and the story of the lost dozen was just too good. I found myself reading at lightning speed to get through the chapters related to Grace in order to get back to the chapters related to Eleanor and her women. After reading the author’s note, I understand there is very little historical information related to the actual women’s spy network so many liberties had to be taken in the production of this book. I didn’t and still don’t care! The liberties taken are wrapped around what historical information there is, and that combination makes for a fascinating read. The Lost Girls of Paris is an absorbing read that very well may make my top ten of the year! Yeah, it’s that good 😊
Show Less
LibraryThing member alekee
Pam Jenoff is giving us a look at a horrible time in history, and using mainly women, and while the story is fiction, in the author’s notes she gives us a glimpse into the inspiration for this story.
We take our freedoms for granted and this read lets you see the sacrifices that were made to let
Show More
us keep them. We put faces on some of these individuals and walk in their shoes for a while, be careful as you blow up a bridge, yes, this book has action.
Come and see how a chance find in Grand Central of a suitcase and being curious leads to some surprising answers, and a look into the life of a young woman who has also lost, but finding answers just might lead to some healing for many.

I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Harlequin, and was not required to give a positive review.
Show Less
LibraryThing member tamidale
I love reading books about brave women and Pam Jenoff deftly delivers an exciting historical fiction novel about women working with the SOE as spies during World War II.

Eleanor Trigg, the woman who recruited and ran the ring of female agents, is one of three voices in the story. Eleanor was a
Show More
woman ahead of her time and very organized and dedicated regarding her work.

Marie, one of the women recruited by Eleanor, was a young mother on her own who was attracted to the job by the money it paid. Marie was not fully aware of the danger involved when she signed on, but soon proved herself worthy of the task required.

Grace, a widow who stumbles upon an abandoned suitcase while on her way to work, becomes involved with the lives of Eleanor and Marie through her attempts to locate the owner of the suitcase.

This is a fascinating story and while it’s not the first WWII female spy novel I have read, it was interesting and new and kept me engaged throughout. Historical fiction readers and those that enjoy stories set in World War II will not want to miss this latest novel by Pam Jenoff.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Park Row/Harlequin Trade Publishing for allowing me to read and advance copy and give my honest review.
Show Less
LibraryThing member BooksCooksLooks
The Lost Paris Girls is a book that takes place in two different times; 1946 New York and during WWII in London and various locations in France. Grace works for an immigration lawyer in New York and is late for work one day due to a traffic accident. She ducks through Grand Central Station and
Show More
stumble on a suitcase left under a bench. For reasons I never could fathom she decides to open it, look through it and actually take an envelope from it. Other than to set up the rest of the book I cannot imagine someone just going through another person’s belongings like that. This plot point rather bothered me and I wondered if there weren’t a better way to set things in motion – but I am not a writer, only a reader.

In the envelope are 12 photos of young ladies. The only identifier is a first name listed on the back of each. Grace did notice a name on the outside of the suitcase and soon realizes that the traffic accident that made her late for work was a pedestrian v. car and it involved the owner of the suitcase she found. In watching the news she learns that the owner has been killed!

Eleanor Trigg works for the war department in London for the division that is placing spies in France. The network is experiencing problems and she puts forth the idea to send women into the field. She is charged with developing the program and starts recruiting women to train for the dangerous work. Most of them will be radio operators. One of them – Marie – is chosen due to her fluency in French. Marie has a small daughter and sees it as an opportunity to earn more money and make the world better for her child.

The story is told in alternating chapters by these three women; Eleanor, an intelligent woman who emigrated to England with her mother to get away from Hitler. Marie, a young English woman who is looking to make a better world and Grace, looking for answers for questions she didn’t know she had.

As with any book dealing with the horrors of war it’s hard to say it’s an enjoyable read. There is a very good story here though. One does have to suspend a certain amount of reality to let the book work though because some of it just doesn’t make sense – like my opening comment about why a stranger would open a suitcase and take something out of it. At least someone who is not a thief. Then there is Grace’s drive to figure out who the girls in the photos are and what happened to them. With everything else going on in her life why? But if you just let reality drop and just go with the flow you have a sort of WWII mystery light that makes for a very diverting read.

Following Grace as she seeks answers, Marie’s exploits in France and Eleanor’s concern for her “girls” makes for good reading. The story solid and Grace is great heroine.
Show Less
LibraryThing member ethel55
The book moves between two such short spans of time, but the world changed so much during those years. In 1946, when Grace literally stumbles across a suitcase in Grand Central Station, even she is unsure why she removes a packet of photos of young women, some dressed in military looking attire. In
Show More
1943, Eleanor Trigg, employed with the Special Operations Executive (SOE), is tasked with finding women to go to France to aid the Resistance with counter intelligence, sabotage and radio transmitting. Soon, several girls are chosen, only a handful whose stories we actually learn about. The history of this is based in fact and real women, according the author's note at the end, which makes it very interesting. I read quickly to learn more about Marie in France, Eleanor's worries in England and about Grace in post war New York City.
Show Less
LibraryThing member KateBaxter
It's New York City, 1946. Grace is late on her way to the office, made even later as she circumnavigates a fatal pedestrian-vehicle accident. She cuts through Grand Central station and notices an abandoned suitcase. She opens it and extracts 12 photographs of women, carefully wrapped in lace. She
Show More
closes the suitcase and takes off with the photographs. Seriously?! Who does such a thing? Except that it's needed for the story-line to work.

In an alternating chapter, it's 1943, London. Eleanor, recently emigrated to London, while escaping Hitler, and is serving as a secretary in the SOE administration (British Covert Intelligence). She has convinced the Director that dropping female agents into France would be the better choice than sending young males in who stick out like sore thumbs as all able bodied Frenchmen are serving in uniform. But no, "The Geneva Convention expressly prohibits women combatants." informs Captain Michaels, one of the advisors at the table. What?! Women POWs are expressly covered under Article 3 of the Geneva Convention of 1929 (the Geneva Convention in place in 1943). Then Eleanor, presumably a very intelligent woman, goes along with the statement instead of refuting it and setting the record straight.

However, Eleanor's idea gets traction and she's put in charge of selecting the female agents who are to be grilled, drilled and prepared to be dropped into enemy territory. Yes, historically this did happen. There were female agents dropped in behind enemy lines and they blended in with local everyday women. But the rest is pure fiction.

I found it absurd that the following was referred to as a poem by Shakespeare when in fact it was a speech in Act IV, scene iii of Shakespeare's Henry V, wherein King Henry addresses his minimal troops before the Battle of Agincourt, (line 60-65):

"From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Such cavalier handling of the historical record rubs this reader the wrong way when it is so easily verifiable and could be rectified. Having said that, if you are just looking for an entertaining book that is sort of historical fiction and details are not important, then this would probably be a most enjoyable read. Pam Jenoff writes very well and I found the story-line interesting as long as I treated it as pure fiction.

I am grateful to Park Row Books and Netgalley for having provided a free ebook copy of this book. Their generosity, however, did not influence this review - the words of which are mine alone.

Synopsis (from publisher's website):
From the author of the runaway bestseller The Orphan’s Tale comes a remarkable story of friendship and courage centered around three women and a ring of female spies during World War II.

1946, Manhattan

Grace Healey is rebuilding her life after losing her husband during the war. One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, she finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a ring of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war, and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances
Show Less
LibraryThing member ang709
This was a quick read. I liked all three characters, especially protective Eleanor. Sometimes I was annoyed with Marie for making dumb choices, though.

The first part of Marie's story centered on her training. I found that interesting and was looking forward to seeing her apply that training in the
Show More
field. However, after Marie was deployed, there was very little written about her being a radio operator. Mostly what we saw was the odd jobs she was called upon to do that stretched her beyond her training. I imagine the author chose to focus on those actions for the sake of flow and tension, as this was where the suspense really started, so I can understand that.

There was a development that really bothered me, though. At one point Marie sent a message to London, and the response she got was something I couldn't imagine even the greenest rookie sending. Yes, it is fiction, and the response moved the action along the way the author needed it to, but unfortunately it felt unbelievable to me.

Overall, however, I found this an interesting read.
Show Less
LibraryThing member wagner.sarah35
Pam Jenoff has written some excellent WWII fiction (I particularly liked the Orphan's Tale) and this novel is definitely in the same vein. Three women and their stories intertwine in the book, which explores female agents working in occupied France and the complex undercover effort to undermine the
Show More
Germans. While a little slow at times, this book makes for good reading.
Show Less
LibraryThing member ccheripka
The Lost Girls of Paris was a terrific book that I enjoyed as much as The Lilac Girls and All the Light we Cannot See....It was the fascinating story of 3 women whose lives intertwined in the 1940's. Women were recruited by the British to infiltrate Europe and help the cause against the Germans
Show More
through their "innocent" transmissions.
Show Less
LibraryThing member sflores81
Excellent account of the girls who worked assisting the French Underground Resistance during World War II. Emotional and nail-biting story that takes into their lives during the war. The story goes back and forth with the girls' lives and experiences and then forward into the present with Grace who
Show More
is determined to find out their destiny.
Show Less
LibraryThing member shazjhb
Well researched and interesting book. It is a well known fact that when Britain cracked the German code they did not use the information to save people rather the reverse. They used the information subtly to win the war.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

384 p.; 8.97 inches


0778330273 / 9780778330271

Other editions

Page: 0.1819 seconds