Friday, January 31, 2020

Book Review: All the Ways We Said Goodbye by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White

Pages: 448
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: January 14, 2020
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads says, "The heiress . . .The Resistance fighter . . .  The widow . . . Three women whose fates are joined by one splendid hotel  France, 1914. As war breaks out, Aurelie becomes trapped on the wrong side of the front with her father, Comte Sigismund de Courcelles. When the Germans move into their family’s ancestral estate, using it as their headquarters, Aurelie discovers she knows the German Major’s aide de camp, Maximilian Von Sternburg. She and the dashing young officer first met during Aurelie’s debutante days in Paris. Despite their conflicting loyalties, Aurelie and Max’s friendship soon deepens into love, but betrayal will shatter them both, driving Aurelie back to Paris and the Ritz— the home of her estranged American heiress mother, with unexpected consequences.  France, 1942. Raised by her indomitable, free-spirited American grandmother in the glamorous Hotel Ritz, Marguerite “Daisy” Villon remains in Paris with her daughter and husband, a Nazi collaborator, after France falls to Hitler. At first reluctant to put herself and her family at risk to assist her grandmother’s Resistance efforts, Daisy agrees to act as a courier for a skilled English forger known only as Legrand, who creates identity papers for Resistance members and Jewish refugees. But as Daisy is drawn ever deeper into Legrand’s underground network, committing increasingly audacious acts of resistance for the sake of the country—and the man—she holds dear, she uncovers a devastating secret . . . one that will force her to commit the ultimate betrayal, and to confront at last the shocking circumstances of her own family history.  France, 1964. For Barbara “Babs” Langford, her husband, Kit, was the love of her life. Yet their marriage was haunted by a mysterious woman known only as La Fleur. On Kit’s death, American lawyer Andrew “Drew” Bowdoin appears at her door. Hired to find a Resistance fighter turned traitor known as “La Fleur,” the investigation has led to Kit Langford. Curious to know more about the enigmatic La Fleur, Babs joins Drew in his search, a journey of discovery that that takes them to Paris and the Ritz—and to unexpected places of the heart. . . ."

It's 1914 in Paris and Aurelie leaves her plush surroundings at the Ritz to head to her father's estate.  Once she gets to her father's very old, yet still impressive castle, it doesn't take long for the Germans to come and declare this location as their newest headquarters.  This is obviously a tough pill to swallow, but she recognizes one of the German soldiers as Max Von Sternburg.  Aurelie knows Max from a very different time in Paris where she was a debutante and their worries were few and far between.  Can they still maintain their friendship (and possibly something more?) amidst the face of war, especially since the German soldiers are downright horrible to not only Aurelie's family, but the entire village?  Then there's Daisy Villon who lives in Paris in 1942.  Her world is changing rapidly as France falls to Hitler, but her Nazi sympathizing husband says they have nothing to worry about.  Daisy's grandmother says otherwise and convinces Daisy to help her work for the Resistance.  Before Daisy knows it, she is in too deep, but how can she not help these desperate people?  While working for the Resistance, Daisy meets a man who will change her life forever.  Lastly, there's Barbara Langford, otherwise known as Babs, and she is newly widowed.  When her husband, Kit, returned from the war, he was never the same and often mentioned a mysterious woman known as La Fleur.  Meanwhile, an American, Drew Bowdoin, has contacted her after he husband's death about La Fleur. He is trying to track her down and the path led straight to Babs.  Who is La Fleur? How does this mysterious Resistance member involve Kit?  Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White expertly weave all three women's stories together in All the Ways We Said Goodbye; historical fiction fans will love this tale filled with heartache, family secrets, war, hope, and new beginnings.

I trust Williams, Willig, and White when it comes to characterization, so I didn't have any problem following along with these three women's stories who seemed, at first, unrelated.  I trusted that the authors would show us, slowly, how the three women from different time periods are all interconnected somehow and I absolutely loved how it unfolded. I will say that I was drawn to Aurelie's story the most and found it utterly captivating, and while Bab's story was definitely necessary, it didn't hold my attention as strongly as Aurelie's. Overall, I enjoyed all three women's stories and their struggles.  I loved that they were strong women during a difficult time period or a challenging time in their lives, but were brave and did what they felt was right.  Also, all three women have one major thing in common: The Ritz in Paris.  At some point all three women have visited or stayed at the Ritz during these tumultuous times in their lives and I loved that the Ritz was another piece of the puzzle that connected these women in All the Ways We Said Goodbye

Also, I love that Williams, Willig, and White included some twists along the way in All the Ways We Said Goodbye.  I could predict one of the plot twists, but the other one took me by surprise.  Don't you love when that happens?  I was worried that since this book is written by three women that it might feel choppy or disjointed, but all three authors did such a great job making it flow and mesh seamlessly. 

If you love historical reads that have complex characters, interesting relationships, action, and a lot of history, you must give All the Ways We Said Goodbye a try this winter. I absolutely loved it and will read anything these three women write.  



4 comments:

  1. Their books are amazing - you can't tell that they are the work of 3 people since everything flows together so beautifully. Can't wait to read this one!

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    1. I think you'll like it. It didn't disappoint. Thanks for visiting, Michele!

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  2. I mean, is there anything better than the Ritz in Paris? I love that there's some unexpected plots twists, too!

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    1. I know, right? I had no idea about the Ritz's interesting history until this year. I think you'll like this book once you are in the perfect mood for it. Thanks for visiting!

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