Sunday, May 16, 2021

Paris in Ruins by M.K. Tod (Book Review)

Fans of historical fiction set in wartime Paris will have much to take away from this latest novel by M.K. Tod.

Book Details:

Title: Paris in Ruins by M.K. Tod
Category: Adult Fiction, 370 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Heath Street Publishing
Release date: March 30, 2021
Contact Rating: PG-13 + M (Images of war, violence and devastation)

Book Description:

Paris 1870. Raised for a life of parties and servants, Camille and Mariele have much in common, but it takes the horrors of war to bring them together to fight for the city and people they love.

A few weeks after the abdication of Napoleon III, the Prussian army lays siege to Paris. Camille Noisette, the daughter of a wealthy family, volunteers to nurse wounded soldiers and agrees to spy on a group of radicals plotting to overthrow the French government. Her future sister-in-law, Mariele de Crécy, is appalled by the gaps between rich and poor. She volunteers to look after destitute children whose families can barely afford to eat.

Somehow, Camille and Mariele must find the courage and strength to endure months of devastating siege, bloody civil war, and great personal risk. Through it all, an unexpected friendship grows between the two women, as they face the destruction of Paris and discover that in war women have as much to fight for as men.

War has a way of teaching lessons—if only Camille and Mariele can survive long enough to learn them.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

A few years back I read Time and Regret and loved it, listing it as one of my best reads for that year. So I was eagerly looking forward to Paris in Ruins, an historical fiction novel set in 1870s Paris when the Prussian army lays siege to Paris after the abdication of Napoleon III. I must admit I knew little of this time period in France's history.

Once again, M.K. Tod's research is evident as she describes the political atmosphere and the devastation that Paris suffers during the Franco-Prussian war. Later Prussia gets incorporated into the German empire. There are so many books with the setting of France during WWI or WWII, but this is the first I've read during this time period, making it unique as far as wartime settings.

Paris in Ruins is the story of Camille and Mariele, two different women who discover their strength and bravery through circumstance and opportunity. They are both women of privilege who use their station in life to make a difference during a time when socialite women were seen as dutiful wives who had no place in politics. Through these women's actions and the plot, 1870s Paris comes alive.

It took awhile for me to become invested in this novel. I enjoyed the characters but never became too attached to them. The theme was heavy, of course, because of the war, and some scenes were just plain hard to read. I cannot explain it but I felt the war theme overshadowed the characters. Unlike Time and Regret, this one was not a page-turner for me, however, I seem to be in the minority of readers who felt this way. 

Fans of historical fiction set in wartime Paris will have much to take away from this latest novel by M.K. Tod.

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About the Author

Paris In Ruins is M.K. Tod’s fourth novel. Mary began writing in 2005 while living as an expat in Hong Kong. What started as an interest in her grandparents’ lives turned into a full-time occupation writing historical fiction. Her other novels are Time and Regret, Lies Told in Silence, and Unravelled. Beyond writing novels, Mary’s award-winning blog, features the reading and writing of historical fiction. When she’s not writing or thinking about writing, you can find her hiking, golfing, traveling, or hanging out with friends and family. Mary is married and has two adult children and two delightful grandchildren.

For more information visit M.K. Tod's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.

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