Sunday, March 3, 2024

Book review The Last Day in Paris by Suzanne Kelman

French Village Diaries book review The Last Day in Paris Suzanne Kelman
The Last Day in Paris by Suzanne Kelman

The Last Day in Paris by Suzanne Kelman


“No, Mama, please don’t make me leave!” Sophie cries, clutching her teddy bear as her blue eyes fill with tears. “I’d rather be here in Paris with you, than far away somewhere safe…”

Paris, 1940: All over Paris, families are being pulled from their beds in the middle of the night. And ever since her husband was shot in cold blood, Brigitte Goldstein has known she is running out of time. She and her daughter Sophie are Jewish, so it won’t be long until the Nazis bang on their door.

But before she leaves, Brigitte must find her beloved husband’s painting, which was seized by the Nazis. She desperately hopes that if she saves it from destruction, then a piece of him will live on forever. And perhaps one day her daughter will uncover her father’s legacy, and the secret hidden inside…

Working in a museum under a false identity is Brigitte’s only hope. Until she meets Isabelle Valette, who confides in hushed tones that she is part of the Resistance. And when her new friend tells her of a train leaving Paris that can take children to safety, Brigitte knows her daughter must be on it, even if it breaks her heart.

But getting Sophie onto the train is dangerous. If they are caught smuggling a Jewish child out of Paris, they will be killed. And with the enemy closing in, can Brigitte get her beloved daughter to safety before it is too late?

The first utterly gripping novel in the Paris Sisters series, this is the story of two brave women and a secret that will tie them together forever, as the Second World War rages around them. Perfect for fans of Roberta Kagan, Kristin Hannah, and Fiona Valpy. 

French Village Diaries book review The Last Day in Paris Suzanne Kelman
The Last Day in Paris by Suzanne Kelman

My Review

This is an engaging dual timeline book following three women coping with life during the Occupation in Paris, as well as Esther, a struggling single mother in 2010. 


It was Esther and her story that I was immediately drawn to. Her mother, Sophie, was so traumatised by her early years in Paris, she never shared her family’s story with her daughter. Now suffering from dementia, Esther feared it was too late to get her mother’s help in piecing together the mystery that is suddenly thrown to her from Paris. With every trip to Paris filling her with positivity, her ex-husband’s negative behaviour threatened to engulf her once more, but the more she learned about her grandmother Brigitte’s strength and courage during the Occupation the stronger she became. It was a real pleasure seeing her evolve and flourish.

French Village Diaries book review The Last Day in Paris Suzanne Kelman
The Last Day in Paris by Suzanne Kelman


The Louvre, under Nazi rule, ceased to be the haven Isabelle Valette had come to love. Forced to catalogue artworks acquired by the Germans, she was determined to do all she could to save the art they were looting and destroying. Working alongside Isabelle were Brigitte and Marina. Brigitte, Esther’s grandmother, was driven to do whatever was necessary to save her husband’s greatest work of art and persevere his memory for her young daughter Sophie. A Jewish woman working among the Nazi’s, she risked her life for her mission and her story was an incredibly emotional one. Marina was used to hard knocks and had developed her own way of surviving life. She was far more mysterious than the other two, but her calculated risks posed a real danger to Isabelle and Brigitte. It was a tense and secretive atmosphere, as all three women had their own agendas and hidden pasts. All of them aware that trust in times of war was something that must be guarded and could cost you dearly. 


As we followed Isabelle, we got little introductions to her family life and her other sisters. We gained insights to their lives during the war and I’m looking forward to reading about the challenges faced by one of the other girls in the next book in the Paris Sisters series. I am also hoping that Esther’s story too might continue as this series plays out.


This is one for all of you who enjoy emotional, gritty novels set during the Occupation.

Purchase links

French Village Diaries is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to at no extra cost to you.


Amazon UK purchase link 


French Village Diaries book review The Last Day in Paris Suzanne Kelman
Suzanne Kelman


About the author

Suzanne Kelman is a 2015 Academy of Motion Pictures Nicholl Finalist, Multi-Award-Winning Screenwriter and a Film Producer. As well as working in film she is also an International Amazon Bestselling Fiction Author of the Southlea Bay Series – The Rejected Writers’ Book Club, Rejected Writers Take the Stage and The Rejected Writers’ Christmas Wedding. Born in the United Kingdom, she now resides in Washington State.


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There is also a short story from Suzanne Kelman, The Paris Orphans, that is currently available for FREE on Kindle. This prequel to The Paris Sisters series of novels, introduces us to the characters and sets the scene nicely. I started my adventure with this book, which is an incredibly moving and emotional read that stayed with me throughout The Last Day in Paris.

French-themed reading bingo

This year I’ve set myself a reading challenge bingo, with twenty-five different types of French themed books to tick off. This book nicely ticks off “A book set in Paris”.


French Village Diaries French-themed reading bingo challenge 2024
French themed reading bingo challenge

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