Summary: It’s August 1914 in England, as Evie watches her brother, Will, and his best friend,Tom, leave to fight in the war. Everyone’s convinced that their boys will be back by Christmas time, and Evie dreams of celebrating the holiday with Will and Tom in Paris. But as months and years go by with the war raging on, Tom, Evie and others grow closer than ever through letters, telegrams, newspaper columns and more. Decades later, Tom returns to Paris to read one final letter, with his and Evie’s past history from the Great War in tow.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
I’ve been craving books surrounding Christmas this December, and Last Christmas in Paris appealed to two of my favorite things: Christmas and historical fiction. The book centers around World War I, as Will and Tom go off to fight in the war, leaving Evie in England with her best friend, Alice. I found Last Christmas in Paris through the Reese Witherspoon Bookclub, which I am part of here on Goodreads.
I really enjoyed Last Christmas in Paris for its unique format, as the book is primarily told through letters between Tom and Evie, as well as exchanges between other characters in the novel through letters and telegrams. I liked the way that Heather Webb and Hazel Graynor were able to weave and connect multiple subplots within this format. We see Tom and Will love and struggle with life as soliders. We see Evie wish she was at the Front herself, as Alice leaves for the war herself. We see Tom try to run his father’s newspaper from the Front, which allowed me to learn about how propaganda and newspapers were influenced by the British government during WWI. I actually read A Last Christmas In Paris over the weekend I was studying for my history exam on the World Wars, so reading the book was a pretty cool way for me to prep for my final. If only my professor would’ve allowed me to cite it as historical evidence!
So how Christmas-y is Last Christmas in Paris?
On a scale from 1 to 10, I say that Last Christmas in Paris gets a 7 for being Christmas-y. The novel is spilt into 4 parts, which each part designating a year of the war, and before we dive into the letters, we see Tom celebrating Christmas in Paris 50 years after the war has ended. I really liked these narrative sections from Tom because they were quite festive, and they helped glue what we were learning in the letters together. Throughout the letters, we do have the characters talking about Christmas, but more so when the holiday is approaching. I think the book would have had a larger emphasis on Christmas if the book only focused on one year of the war, with Tom and Evie wishing to reunite for the holiday
Overall, I enjoyed Last Christmas in Paris for its unique story on World War I. It took me a little while to get into the format and writing style, but as I mentioned before, I liked how the subplots were able to contribute to the overall plot of the novel (sorry, no spoilers for you!). I didn’t necessarily love Last Christmas in Paris because there were times that the story did drag a bit, and it’s not necessarily a book that will stick with me for a long time—I’ll most likely remember as a quick, historical fiction read on World War I.
Have you read Last Christmas in Paris? Share in the comments!