The Postmistress of Paris [Book Review]

November 30, 2021

The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton

The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton (cover) Image: a dark silhouette of a woman standing at a gate overlooking the Eiffel Tower

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Reisistance Movement, France, Art

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @HarperCollins @HarperBooks for a complimentary eARC of #ThePostMistressOfParis upon my request. All opinions are my own.

The Postmistress of Paris is the story of a young American heiress, Nanee (inspired by real life Mary Jayne Gold), who helps artists and intellectuals escape from Nazi-controlled Europe. Free-spirited Nanee lives in Paris when the war breaks out, but she soon relocates to Southern France and joins the Resistance Movement. Nanee works with American journalist Varian Fry and delivers information to those in hiding, helps to house the hunted, and occasionally participates in bringing them to safety.

My Thoughts:

Author: First, I adore Meg Waite Clayton and love her previous book The Last Train to London which shares the story of a brave woman who helped children escape from Nazi-controlled Europe and found safe housing and loving families for them.

Title/Cover and Setting: I think the title and cover is a little misleading because I expected a story set in Paris. Nanee lived in Paris prior to the war (and she considers Paris her home), but the story takes place in southern France (1940-1941).

Character: Nanee (as inspired by Mary Jayne Gold) is well drawn, complex, and representitive of the many couragous women and ordinary citizens who joined the war effort. I love characters inspired by real life heros….regular people bravely resisting with their resources and abilities under deplorable war-time circumstances. Difference makers.

Pacing and POV: Postmistress of Paris is certainly well written; however, I was pleased that the second half of the book moves at at faster pace and is more of a page-turner than the first half. Readers will have that to look forward to. The first half focuses on character development, politics, and the living situation. The story is told from two main points of view: Nanee’s and a photographer Edouard Moss (and his young daughter), who has escaped Germany but was separated from his daughter, captured, and detained in a labor camp. Nanee’s and Edouard’s paths will cross when he escapes from the camp and seeks help from the Resistance Movement to find his daughter and escape from the Nazis. We also hear briefly from the young daughter’s point of view early in the story. There is a romance in the story which I think distracts a bit from the details and danger of the message deliveries and the rescue missions. It seems that hearing more logistics and details of specific operations would have added to the suspense in the story.

Themes: Thoughtful themes include a poignant father/daughter relationship, a supportive network of individuals working together for a cause, trust, friendship, wartime romance, and taking risks.

Content Considerations: While there are minimal WW11 atrocities, almost no profanity, and limited graphic details, there is one incident of sexual assault (no graphic details), one incident of gun violence, and some description of difficult conditions inside the labor camp.

Recommended: I think WW11 histfic fans might appreciate this well-written and well-researched story inspired by a real person. Meg Waite Clayton is one of my auto buy authors!

My Rating:  4 Stars


The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton (black and white cover with red text) Image: a women in silhouette walks out of a building with her back to the camera and overlooks a view of the Eiffel Tower

The Postmistress of Paris Information Here

Related: My review of The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton (5 Stars)

Meet the Author, Meg Waite Clayton

Author, Meg Waite Clayton

New York Times bestselling author Meg Waite Clayton’s international bestseller and National Jewish Book Award finalist The Last Train to London is based on the true story of the Kindertransport rescue of ten thousand children from Nazi-occupied Europe—and one brave woman who helped them escape. Her prior novels include the Langum-Prize honored The Race for Paris, the #1 Amazon fiction bestseller Beautiful Exiles, and The Wednesday Sisters, one of Entertainment Weekly’s 25 Essential Best Friend Novels of all time. Her novels have been published or are forthcoming in 25 languages. Her eight novel, THE POSTMISTRESS OF PARIS will be published by HarperCollins in the fall of 2021.

A graduate of the University of Michigan and its law school, Meg has also written for the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes, Runners World, and public radio, often on the subject of the particular challenges women face.;; @megwclayton


Is The Postmistress of Paris on your TBR or have you read it?

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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

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  1. I really enjoyed The Last Train to London, so am looking forward to this one. I was declined on NG, but I was sent the audiobook for review. I like the sound of this plot, especially the family relationships. Great review Carol.

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