Monday, November 6, 2023

Book review of The Last Train from Paris by Juliet Greenwood

French Village Diaries book review The Last Train from Paris Juliet Greenwood
The Last Train from Paris by Juliet Greenwood

The Last Train from Paris by Juliet Greenwood

For Iris, each visit to her mother in St Mabon’s Cove, Cornwall has been the same – a serene escape from the city. But today, as she breathes in the salt air on the doorstep of her beloved childhood home, a heavy weight of anticipation settles over her. Iris knows she’s adopted, but any questions about where she came from have always been shut down by her parents, who can’t bear to revisit the past.


Now, Iris can’t stop thinking about what she’s read on the official paperwork: BABY GIRL, FRANCE, 1939 – the year war was declared with Nazi Germany. 


When Iris confronts her mother, she hits the same wall of pain and resistance as whenever she mentions the war. That is, until her mother tearfully hands her an old tin of letters, tucked neatly beside a delicate piece of ivory wool. 


Retreating to the loft, Iris steels herself to at last learn the truth, however painful it might be. But, as she peels back each layer of history before her, a sensation of dread grows inside her. The past is calling, and its secrets are more intricate and tangled than Iris could ever have imagined.


The year is 1939, and in Paris, France a young woman is about to commit a terrible betrayal…  


A beautifully written and addictively compelling historical novel about the terrible choices ordinary people were forced to make in the horrors of World War Two. If you loved The Tattooist of AuschwitzThe Alice Network and The Nightingale, you will devour this book.

French Village Diaries book review The Last Train from Paris Juliet Greenwood
The Last Train from Paris by Juliet Greenwood

My Review

Iris is back in Cornwall, at the cottage she grew up in, listening as her mother painfully begins to reveal their past. 


As the story unfolded, we alternated between Nora’s war in England and Sabine’s in France. Sabine and Nora met in pre-war London and by the time Nora arrived in Paris to study to be a chef, their letters had created a special friendship. I bonded easily with these two strong and independent women, and admired their determination to succeed in the male dominated worlds of journalism and high-end catering. Their time together is cruelly torn apart as war is declared, but their parting moments mean their futures will be forever linked, no matter the pain and suffering this will bring them.


From Paris and the refugees fleeing south from Occupied to free France, and the land girls working in the countryside, to the London bombings, this book painted so many pictures of the tragedies of war and the effects on the families it broke apart. I was often overwhelmed trying to process the emotions it left me feeling, but loved the mystery as actions were tantalisingly revealed, that would be revisited later as the pieces all fell into place. It was gripping.


This book, more than many others I’ve read, really punched at my heart with the atrocities of the war and the dangers faced by ordinary mothers doing their best in the most difficult of times, their only goals to survive and protect their babies.


If you are looking for a powerful historical novel to lose yourself in now the nights are longer and darker, I can’t think of a better one than The Last Train from Paris. 


Purchase Link 

French Village Diaries book review The Last Train from Paris Juliet Greenwood
Juliet Greenwood

Author Bio 


Juliet Greenwood is a historical novelist, now published by Storm Publishing. Her first novel was a finalist for The People’s Book Prize and two of her books reached the top 5 in the UK Kindle store. Juliet has always been a bookworm and a storyteller, writing her first novel (a sweeping historical epic) at the age of ten. She lives in a traditional cottage in Snowdonia, North Wales, set between the mountains and the sea, with an overgrown garden (good for insects!) and a surprisingly successful grapevine. 


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French Village Diaries book review The Last Train from Paris Juliet Greenwood
The Last Train from Paris by Juliet Greenwood

What readers are saying about Juliet Greenwood:

“This was fantastic! Perfect for a Kate Morton or Lucinda Riley hangover, this book will draw you in and won't let go until you've read the last page. This book was unputdownable – fascinating characters, excellent writing, and a plot that keeps you turning the pages. I loved every second of it." Reader review, 

I found myself reading chapter after chapter, unable to put it down. A first-time read by this author but certainly not the last.” Reader review, 

“For readers of Kate Morton and Lucinda Riley, this book will be one of your favorites… A historical novel that will keep you reading until the end.” Reader review, 

An absolutely brilliant read. I could not put it down…I loved how the war changed everyone and it was a gripping story... I really loved it. Cannot recommend it enough.” Reader review, 

“Did everything that I was looking for… it left me wanting to read more from Juliet Greenwood.” Reader review, 






  1. Merci, Jacqui! I love your review. It makes me very proud that you enjoyed it so much. Thank you. May we never forget. xxxx

    1. Thank you Juliet - and yes, we must never forget! Jacqui


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