Three Words For Goodbye [Book Review]

August 4, 2021

Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (cover) Image: two young women reading promotional material and wearing hats stand against the railing of an ocean liner

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Sisters, (1937) Europe

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

In 1937, two sisters are sent to Europe by their beloved grandmother to deliver three letters. Complicating this mission is the fact that the sisters haven’t spoken to each other in years and have grown apart in many ways. Clara is the careful and dutiful one and is engaged to marry millionaire, Charles Hancock. Madeleine is more independent and free spirited and strives to be a journalist like her hero, Nellie Bly. Both sisters are devoted to their grandmother and are committed to fulfilling her dying wishes. Clara looks forward to embracing her love of art and visiting Europe’s art galleries while Madeleine envisions writing articles on the political unrest in Europe and submitting them to U.S. newspapers in an attempt to be published. The sisters traveling experiences on the Queen Mary, the Orient Express, and finally the Hindenburg provide the backdrop for many of their most dramatic and challenging moments. What will this trip mean for their relationship? Will they successfully deliver the letters and what secrets will they discover?

My Thoughts:

Enjoyability: My entire reading experience was enjoyable. I loved the characters and the premise and their mission. My expectations are high for authors Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (The Last Christmas in Paris and Meet Me in Monaco) and they did not disappoint. As you know if you follow my reviews, enjoyment factors greatly into my final star rating. I loved the nods to the Queen Mary, the Orient Express, the Hindenburg, and Nellie Bly! There’s also a small side of romance! If you follow my reviews, just know that this story checks all my boxes!

Writing: One of my favorite writing teams has a “not-to-be-missed” new release! Three Words For Goodbye is told mainly from two alternating perspectives in one chronological timeline. We do hear occasionally from Grandmother Violet, and we are treated to flashbacks as the backstory is developed. The writing flows smoothly and it’s impossible to tell which author wrote which parts.

Characters: I adore both Clara and Madeleine and appreciate their strengths. Their differences create an engaging story. The authors did a wonderful job in giving each sister a unique voice. Clara is careful and dutiful and is engaged to marry millionaire, Charles Hancock. Madeleine is more independent and free spirited and is on the hunt for a great story and strives to be an investigative journalist like her hero, Nellie Bly.

“Madeleine lived for such impulsive chaos, while I found it deeply unsettling. I hadn’t realized just how much I needed order and routine until we’d set out on this trip.”

“Madeleine increasingly lived a life without limits and without any regard for societal expectation. Ambition and possibility stretched ahead of her, while I lived a life of convention and duty, and now had the confines of married life to look forward to when we returned.”

Themes: Thoughtful themes include sibling relationships, sisters supporting each other, grandmother/granddaughters, healthy relationships, adventure, family, and finding your voice.

“The real journey, the most important of all, was right here, within the maps and contours of our everyday lives, among the friends and family who traveled alongside us. In the end that was what really mattered. Adventure was everywhere. We just needed the courage to look for it.”

You Might Also Enjoy: Three Words For Goodbye reminds me in some ways of The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters. If you enjoyed that, you will enjoy this!

Highly Recommended: I’m highly recommending Three Words For Goodbye for fans of Hazel Gaynor/Heather Webb, for readers who love WW11 era histfic with no war atrocities, for those who love a poignant siblings (sisters) story (with a side of romance), for readers looking for an engaging yet light and page-turning summer or vacation read, and for book clubs. This story checks all my boxes and represents the type of stories I absolutely love!

My Rating:  5 Stars


Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (cover) Image: two young women holding promotional materials and wearing hats stand next to a railing on an ocean liner

Three Words For Goodbye Information Here

Meet the Authors, Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Author Hazel GaynorHazel Gaynor is an award-winning New York TimesUSA Today and international bestselling author. Her 2014 debut The Girl Who Came Home won the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award, A Memory of Violets was a 2015 WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, The Girl from The Savoy was shortlisted for the 2017 Irish Book Awards, and The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter was shortlisted for the 2019 HWA Gold Crown Award. Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Heather Webb) won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Their most recent collaboration is Meet Me in Monaco. Hazel’s forthcoming historical novel, When We Were Young & Brave, set in China during WW2, will be published in North America in October 2020. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children. For more information, visit

Author Heather WebbHeather Webb is the award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of The Last Ship Home, The Phantom’s Apprentice, Rodin’s Lover, and Becoming Josephine. Heather is also a freelance editor, and teaches craft courses at a local college. Her novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages, worldwide. She lives in Connecticut with her family and one feisty rabbit. for more information, visit


Is Three Words For Goodbye on your TBR or have you read it?
Are you a Hazel Gaynor/Heather Webb fan?

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  1. This is one I don’t think I’ve even heard of,Carol. It sounds good, and I’m thinking it might be good for my 16-year-old granddaughter. WWII fiction is her favorite genre. I’ll have to keep it in mind for her Sept. birthday. (Then I’ll borrow it back from her.😉) Thanks!

  2. Somehow I missed this book and this review. It sounds wonderful and I love the adventure aspect. Three very well known modes of transportation. Wonderful review Carol.

  3. […] Although not humorous, this story about two estranged sisters sent on a trip to Europe together by their grandmother to deliver messages on her behalf certainly brought a smile to my face on many occasions. Sister dynamics are always fun!  I’m fairly certain this heartfelt story will make my best of 2021 list! It reminded me of  The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters in some ways. My review of Three Words For Goodbye here. […]

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