This post contains affiliate links.
I am obsessed with WWII fiction and non-fiction and read a lot of it, but I rarely read about WWI. Sadly, I don’t know much about WWI beyond the basics. So, I decided to delve into some WWI fiction, starting with Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb. What a beautiful book!
The book is told in two different time frames. Primarily, it’s told during WWI, but after each year of the war, there is a break, and the time jumps to 1968. The authors present the story entirely written in letters between the characters, which I initially thought would drive me crazy but I ended up really enjoying.
Last Christmas in Paris opens soon after WWI has started. Evie Elliott begins writing to her brother, Will, and his best friend, Tom Harding, who are both fighting in the war together. Will isn’t much of a letter writer, but Tom is, and Evie and Tom, friends since childhood, end up deepening their friendship.
Tom is often out in the midst of action, and he spares Evie no details about the brutality of the war. While they all initially thought the war would be over by Christmas, it doesn’t take them, and the rest of the world, long to realize how wrong they were.
While Tom and Will battle, Evie searches at home to find a purpose, a way to contribute to the war. She settles for post mistress and hopes she can brighten people’s day by bringing them mail. What she discovers is that she more often than not is delivering sad news. She then begins writing a column for the local newspaper about the war from a woman’s viewpoint.
When Tom is on leave, he visits Evie, and they have a wonderful time. While Evie is realizing her feelings are deepening, she fears Tom doesn’t feel the same way. She decides on Christmas Eve, 1915, to spill her heart and tell him exactly how she feels. . .but Tom never responds directly to her letter.
This story is a romance, but it’s so much more than that. I truly got drawn into the characters’ lives, and there were several times this book brought me to tears. War is brutal, and that plays out time and time again in this book.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.