The Paris Secret
England, 1939: The Penrose sisters couldn't be more different. Skye is a daring and brash pilot, and Liberty the one to defy her at every turn. Even if women aren't allowed in the Royal Air Force, Skye is determined to help the war effort. She's thrilled when it reunites her with her childhood soulmate, Nicholas. She's less thrilled to learn Nicholas is now engaged to an enigmatic Frenchwoman named Margaux Jourdan.
Paris, 1947: Designer Christian Dior unveils his glamorous first collection to a world weary of war and grief. He names his debut fragrance Miss Dior in tribute to his beloved sister Catherine, who forged a friendship with Skye and Margaux through her work with the French Resistance.
Present Day: Fashion conservator Kat Jourdan discovers a priceless collection of Dior gowns in her grandmother's vacant cottage. As she delves into the mystery of their origin, Kat begins to doubt everything she thought she knew about her beloved grandmother.
Praise For The Paris Secret…
A "sweeping family saga written in elegant, evocative prose that is as carefully stitched together as a couture gown. Meticulous attention to period details, impeccable plotting, and rich characterization will delight fans of Kate Morton or anyone in need of a gorgeously wrought ... tale of love, loss, courage, and compassion."—Booklist, starred review
"Lester's magnetic characters, lyrical writing, and extensive historical research breathe life into this riveting tale. This is a stunner."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A stirring portrait of a daring and courageous group of women willing to risk it all in a time of war, The Paris Secret is historical fiction at its best. A beautiful love story coupled with an intricate mystery, richly detailed and impeccably researched history, and an homage to the strength of the human spirit makes this a poignant and powerful read. Natasha Lester has done it again!"—Chanel Cleeton, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Last Train to Key West
"Lester is a master storyteller. In only the way Lester can do it, these seemingly unlinked stories come together in a gorgeously satisfying way that will have you wiping tears from your face in the final pages."—The Daily Telegraph on The Paris Secret
"Lester's talent shines in her new novel, THE PARIS SECRET, filled with spies and the French Resistance, vivid detailing, and a cast of courageous young women, intent on playing their part in a devastating war. A rich tapestry of fashion, family secrets, and love in war, it's the perfect escape." —Heather Webb, USA Today bestselling author
"What could be better than flight and fashion, desire and Dior? Natasha Lester masterfully stitches together the stunning fabric of four women's lives into a heartbreaker of a novel that will keep you up late into the night." —Kerri Maher, author of The Kennedy Debutante and The Girl In White Gloves
"Sweeping romances, daring wartime exploits, and haute couture combine in this thrilling tale of love, loss and mystery during the Second World War. In Margaux, Skye and Liberty, Natasha Lester showcases the unforgettable strength of women who served in England and France, bringing to life the voices of those lost in the fog of war. And the fashion... need I say more?"—Bryn Turnbull, author of The Woman Before Wallis
"Sweeping and heartbreaking, Natasha Lester's The Paris Secret tells a story of fearless women, their unrelenting bravery in the face of war, and the endurance of love against all odds. Brimming with long-held secrets, engrossing characters, and rich historical detail, this is a riveting read."—Kristin Beck, author of Courage, My Love
"Natasha Lester's writing is wholly and intimately transportive. Every time I opened the book, I fell into the world contained within its pages, and I didn't want to leave. The Paris Secret is a dazzling marvel of storytelling, a perfect blend of action, history, and emotional depth. Unforgettable."—Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway's Girl
"An exceptionally atmospheric, beautifully written, impactful novel that sweeps you away to another time and place and immerses you into the lives of such enticing characters you can't help but be thoroughly moved and engrossed."—What's Better Than Books
"Captivating characters. Breathtaking, emotional relationships... a dream novel worthy of a Dior tag and definitely one for your collection!"—The Grateful Reader
"I was in historical fiction heaven reading this book. The fashion was to DIE for."—Hasty Book List
"It kept me guessing until the last few chapters of the book."—The Girly Book Club
"Beautiful, sad, and inspiring."—Reading by the Season
“Keeps the reader riveted ... Lester pays tribute to the brave souls of the resistance and the triumph of the human spirit.”—Historical Novels Review
Forever, 9781538717288, 496pp.
Publication Date: September 15, 2020
About the Author
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
Note that these questions might contain some plot spoilers.
1. Had you heard of the Air Transport Auxiliary and the women who worked for that organization before you read this book? Which of their experiences in dealing with the RAF and the male establishment did you find the most deplorable?
2. Why do you think women like Catherine Dior have been forgotten by history? Is it due to their gender, their reticence to speak about their wartime experiences, the nature of the savagery they endured, or other factors? What can we do to make sure the heroines of today aren’t similarly forgotten in the future?
3. How much did you know about Ravensbrück, Hitler’s concentration camp for women, before you read The Paris Secret? How difficult was this part of the book for you to read, and do you think the author achieved her aim of bringing to light the injustices and terrible acts committed against women in the camp? Why do you think the Nazis established a concentration camp solely for women?
4. Did Skye and Liberty do the “right” thing after the war? Can you understand why neither was in touch with the other afterward? How might things have changed if they had tried harder to find each other? Is pretending to be someone else ever acceptable, and what did you think of their actions after the war?
5. How would the book have been different if it had been told from Liberty’s point of view? In what way would the childhood sections of the book have changed? What did you think of Liberty and did this perception alter as the book progressed? Would you have liked to have seen more from the perspective of any other character?
6. Take a look on the internet and see if you can find pictures of the Dior gowns referenced in The Paris Secret. Do you have a favorite? If you do, why do you think the author chose that particular dress for that particular moment in the book? Can fashion be art, and can it, as Margaux says, restore and revive the spirits? Can it have any meaning beyond providing protective covering, or is fashion merely frivolous?