Friday, March 11, 2022

Book Review - Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin

My Review

Until Leaves Fall in Paris is a historical novel set in 1940's Paris.  It the story of Lucie Girard, a former ballet dancer who now manages a small English language bookstore;  she purchased the store so the original owners, her dear friends who are a Jewish couple, could escape France. The bookstore becomes a place where Resistance workers pass messages in the form of notes tucked into books.  When Lucie meets Paul Aubrey, she is convinced he is designing vehicles for the Germans.  As she learns the truth about his bravery and decency, she also gets to know him romantically - and becomes attached to his young daughter Josie as well. When things become more dangerous, they want to leave France - but is this still possible?

I wanted to read this novel because I love Sarah Sundin's books. She is one of my favorite historical fiction authors and I try to read all her novels when they are first published. I am particularly interested in the World War II time period, and also love books set in Paris.

This is such an engrossing novel! I read in every spare minute for a couple of days because I didn't want to put this book down. Lucie is a wonderful protagonist, likable and enormously brave. I loved the way she got to know Paul reluctantly at first, but then wholeheartedly once she realized they were working on the same side. Lucie and Paul's love story is one of my favorite from recent reads.

This is, as always with Sarah Sundin's books, a beautifully written novel, rich with nuance and 1940's period detail. I always feel like I live in her books while I am reading them - they are so vividly drawn.

Until Leaves Fall in Paris will certainly be one of my top 10 books this year, and I cannot recommend it highly enough for other readers. It will be of special interest for anyone who loves historical fiction set in the 1940's.

Book Synopsis

Paris, 1940

When the Nazis march toward Paris, American ballerina Lucie Girard buys her favorite English-language bookstore to allow the Jewish owners to escape. The Germans make it difficult for her to keep Green Leaf Books afloat. And she must keep the store open if she is to continue aiding the resistance by passing secret messages between the pages of her books.

Widower Paul Aubrey wants nothing more than to return to the States with his little girl, but the US Army convinces him to keep his factory running and obtain military information from his German customers. As the war rages on, Paul offers his own resistance by sabotaging his product and hiding British airmen in his factory. But in order to carry out his mission, he must appear to support the occupation--which does not win him any sympathy when he meets Lucie in the bookstore.

In a world turned upside down, will love or duty prevail?

Author Bio

Sarah Sundin is the bestselling author of When Twilight Breaks and several popular WWII series, including Sunrise at Normandy, Waves of Freedom, Wings of the Nightingale, and Wings of Glory. She is a Christy Award finalist and a Carol Award winner, and her novels have received starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly, and have appeared on Booklist's "101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years." Sarah lives in Northern California. Visit for more information.


Book Review and Giveaway - Front Page Murder (A Homefront News Mystery) by Joyce St. Anthony

My Review

Front Page Murder is the first book in a new historical mystery series called A Homefront News Mystery. During World War II, Irene Ingram is working as editor in chief on her father's newspaper in the small town of Progress, Pennsylvania, while her father is a correspondent overseas. When her coworker, Moe Brauer, is discovered dead on his cellar stairs, she suspects murder. She sets out to uncover the truth along with her friend Peggy.

I wanted to read this mystery because I love cozy mysteries and historical fiction.  The 1940's is my favorite historical setting.

This was a well written and compelling mystery. It involves not just the mysterious death of Irene's coworker, but also the scary robbery of a local Jewish store owner.

Irene is a smart, determined amateur detective. I enjoyed watching her work to solve the crime as well as working at the newspaper and dealing with her family and friends. 

The chapters have a nice framework, beginning with a news item from the time and the date that this occurred - i.e. "U-Boat Sinks 4 British Ships in Same Night— The Progress Herald, May 13, 1942" (eBook location 750).

I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery and look forward to reading more books in the series!  I recommend Front Page Murder for fans of historical mysteries, and especially for anyone who loves a World War II setting.

Book Synopsis

In this World War II-era historical mystery series debut by Joyce St. Anthony, small-town editor Irene Ingram has a nose for news and an eye for clues. 

Irene Ingram has written for her father’s newspaper, the Progress Herald, ever since she could grasp a pencil. Now she’s editor in chief, which doesn’t sit well with the men in the newsroom. But proving her journalistic bona fides is the least of Irene’s worries when crime reporter Moe Bauer, on the heels of a hot tip, turns up dead at the foot of his cellar stairs. 

An accident? That’s what Police Chief Walt Turner thinks, and Irene is inclined to agree until she finds the note Moe discreetly left on her desk. He was on to a big story, he wrote. The robbery she’d assigned him to cover at Markowicz Hardware turned out to be something far more devious. A Jewish store owner in a small, provincial town, Sam Markowicz received a terrifying message from a stranger. Moe suspected that Sam is being threatened not only for who he is…but for what he knows.  

Tenacious Irene senses there’s more to the Markowicz story, which she is all but certain led to Moe’s murder. When she’s not filling up column inches with the usual small-town fare—locals in uniform, victory gardens, and scrap drives—she and her best friend, scrappy secretary Peggy Reardon, search for clues. If they can find the killer, it’ll be a scoop to stop the presses. But if they can’t, Irene and Peggy may face an all-too-literal deadline.

Author Bio

Joyce was a police secretary for ten years and more than once envisioned the demise of certain co-workers, but settled on writing as a way to keep herself out of jail. As Joyce St. Anthony, she is the author of the Homefront News Mysteries. The first in the series, Front Page Murder, will be (or was, depending on the blog date) released on March 8, 2022. Under her own name–Joyce Tremel–she wrote the award winning Brewing Trouble cozy mystery series. She is a native Pittsburgher and lives in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania with her husband and two cats–Hops and Lager.

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