Saturday, February 11, 2023

Book review of The Last Letter from Paris by Kate Eastham

French Village Diaries book review The Last Letter from Paris Kate Eastham
The Last Letter from Paris by Kate Eastham

The Last Letter from Paris by Kate Eastham


June 1940, Paris. For days she’s seen the flashes in the night sky. She’s heard the drone of planes and the thump of marching boots. Doors shut as the German flag billows over the Eiffel Tower. Leaving Cora just one last chance to get her letter out of Paris…

The Nazi occupation has begun, and soldiers stand guard on every corner. The terrifying threat of war hangs in the air, and whispers of an unimaginable death toll roll across Europe. But Cora Mayhew has come to Paris from America to search for her birth mother – a fine silver locket her only clue – and she refuses to give up now.

One winter day, the air thick with fog, Cora is on a train – praying that it will lead her to the mother she never knew. But when the train is struck by bombs, throwing her from her seat as the carriage lurches off the tracks, all she can think about is everything she’s left behind.

Bruised and gasping for air, Cora struggles to her feet, shaking glass from her hair. Surrounded by passengers taking their last breaths and crying out for their loved ones, Cora knows she must find a way to send a heart-wrenching letter she’s been carrying around for weeks and return to her dear adoptive family while she still can.

Staggering from the wreckage, Cora shelters in a nearby ditch. But as the cold sets into her bones and her fighting spirit slips away, a German soldier finds Cora and offers her a chance at escape… With golden-flecked hazel eyes, handsome Max Heller is everything a Nazi shouldn’t be: kind, good-humoured and selfless.

With Max's help, Cora uncovers a devastating secret about her birth mother, which makes her even more determined to get home. The key to Cora’s safe journey lies in the letter she’s been trying desperately to get out of Paris. Now she is faced with a choice: place her trust in the hands of the enemy, or go it alone and risk never making it out alive?

A heart-breaking story of love, belonging, and resilience in Nazi-occupied Paris as one woman searches desperately for the truth in the face of grave danger. The perfect wartime read for fans of The Dressmaker’s GiftThe Lost Girls of Paris and The Nightingale. 

French Village Diaries book review The Last Letter from Paris Kate Eastham
The Last Letter from Paris by Kate Eastham

My Review

From humble beginnings as a foundling baby, Cora’s could have been a life without love, but from the moment Evie found her, she was surrounded by extraordinary love and strength. As a young woman, she was independent and stubborn, so when her idyllic life in Paris tumbled with The Occupation, she had no hesitation in doing what she could to assist, and always found the reserves to fight for herself, or someone she cared for.


Cora was a fantastic character to get to know and the more her journey played out, the more interesting and enriching the people who entered her life, the more I loved her and this book. As she was thrown from one risky situation to another, there was adrenalin and fear, forbidden love, tenderness and traumatic pain. It was a heart breaking read that moved at such a pace, I had no idea where it would go or what would happen next, but there was always hope. I especially loved the role intuition played, the invisible emotional links that seemed to bind the characters, even when they were distanced physically by many miles.


If you enjoy historical fiction set during the Second World War, I am sure you will enjoy Cora’s emotional journey in The Last Letter from Paris. This book certainly has something a little different to offer the reader.


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French Village Diaries book review The Last Letter from Paris Kate Eastham
Kate Eastham

Author Bio


A change in circumstance meant Kate Eastham made the shift from a career in nursing to being a carer for her partner. Determined to make the most of this new role ‘working from home’ and inspired by an in-depth study of the origins of nursing, she wrote her first novel at the kitchen table. Miss Nightingale’s Nurses was published by Penguin in 2018, closely followed by three more in the series. With her passion for history, Kate aims to make visible the lives of ordinary yet extraordinary women from the past. Her current historical fiction is set during the World Wars and will be published by Bookouture. 


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