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The Last Time I Saw Paris [Paperback]

Lynn Sheene
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 May 2011
A stunning debut novel of a young American woman who becomes a spy in Paris during World War II.
May 1940. Fleeing a glamorous Manhattan life built on lies, Claire Harris arrives in Paris with a romantic vision of starting anew. But she didn't anticipate the sight of Nazi soldiers marching under the Arc de Triomphe. Her plans smashed by the German occupation, the once- privileged socialite's only option is to take a job in a flower shop under the tutelage of a sophisticated Parisian florist.
In exchange for false identity papers, Claire agrees to aid the French Resistance. Despite the ever-present danger, she comes to love the enduring beauty of the City of Light, exploring it in the company of Thomas Grey, a mysterious Englishman working with the Resistance. Claire's bravery and intelligence make her a valuable operative, and slowly her values shift as she witnesses the courageous spirit of the Parisians.
But deception and betrayal force her to flee once again-this time to fight for the man she loves and what she knows is right-praying she has the heart and determination to survive long enough to one day see Paris again.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin USA; 1 edition (3 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425240843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425240847
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 484,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Sheene's research is impeccable, and her homage to the city is reflected in her nostalgic and finely drawn portrait of a place and people badly bent but resolutely unbroken. Sheene's detailed descriptions bring alive the architecture, the smells of the flora and the sounds of jackbooted Nazis as they stomp imperially through the Arc de Triomphe."
-Leslie Doran, "The Durango Herald"
"Set against the backdrop of Paris during the Second World War, "The Last Time I Saw Paris" is a breathtaking tale of love, courage, intrigue and betrayal. Beautifully written and heartfelt, it is a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable read."
-Pam Jenoff, International bestselling author of "The Kommandant's Girl"
"In "The Last Time I Saw Paris" Lynn Sheene delivers more drama, romance and suspense than we've seen since the Paris occupation in Casablanca."
-Katherine Neville, best-selling author of "The Eight" and "The Fire"
""The Last Time I Saw Paris" glows with the

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Petra "I love to read" TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lyn Sheene is one of the best books I have read based on the Second World War and the French Resistance. It was an exciting read and with each turn of the page I was not disappointed. The main character Claire Harris Stone, a socialite living in Manhattan, is clearly a girl who uses her looks and body to get what she wants in life. When I first started to read about Claire I thought I was not going to like her as the main character of the book how wrong was I? totally wrong as she turned out to be a character with not only love in her heart but with a heart of a lion as she learns to fight for what she believed in and that was for the good people of Paris.
As I continued reading I learned that Claire has had a really hard childhood. When we first meet Claire, she is married to Russell Stone who is very rich in the money side of things but was totally empty of love and also was on the side of the Germans. She is clearly living the high life, planning rich parties for her husband and making her husband look good for his business. She has everything she could possibly wish for as long as money can buy it. Claire has a french lover Laurent Oliver who we meet early on in the novel, she has too look for love outside of the marriage as her marriage to Russell was a marriage really only for appearances sake on both their parts and the lover give her the attention she craved from her husband. Though the marriage suited both Claire and her husband Russell, Claire was hiding her background from him and when a person from Claire's past decides to tell Russell where Claire is really from she does what she does best she runs away to start another new life.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable 6 Jan 2014
After her real identity is reveled to rich husband, Claire Harris Stone decides to go to Paris while the Germans to be with French lover. Soon Claire is able to find working a flower shop. In order get false papers, Claire agree to help the French Resistance. Claire is drawn to Thomas Grey and the two find themselves trying to stay head of the Germans.
"The Last time I saw Paris" by Lynn Sheene was a book that is able to draw the reader. While I thought that in the end Claire did grow as a character and person, I thought that it took to long. Also I wished that ending could have been a little stronger. Overall, I did enjoy "The Last time I saw Paris."
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  55 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Put This Book Down!! 31 May 2011
By Christine - Published on
Rarely do I find a book that I want to stay up late reading. I strive to find those, but lately they seem to be few and far between. However, I bought this book on a whim after seeing the cover in a local bookstore and was hooked after just 10 pages. I would highly recommend you give this book a read. It brought the war into perspective and gave a view into what people had to live through during this time. It was the story of a very strong woman who did whatever it took to stay alive during the war. Captivating and intriguing... you want to read this book.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Historical Fiction 19 July 2011
By Bonnie - Published on
The Last Time I Saw Paris is an absolutely breathtaking historical fiction, which takes place in occupied Paris during WWII. This book had it all for me. Beautiful writing, rich characters, romance, excitement, and gritty historical details.

Lynn Sheene is an exciting author for me because not only does she tell a fantastic story but also her writing is so descriptive that the settings and characters really come to life. She wrote about small details, like gardens or a lunch of cheese and apples in a way made them feel essential to the story without becoming tiresome. Her writing was a perfect illustration of the Parisian Elegance that Madame Palain embodied and she really brought 1940s Paris to life for me.

I loved the way Sheene developed her characters. We saw so many sides of Claire and I really felt as though I knew her innermost struggles. From her desperation to escape a life of poverty as a dirt farmer's daughter and make a life as a New York socialite, to her need to give up high society in search for true happiness in Paris. What she sacrificed in money and status she gained in friendship, love, grace and true elegance. At the beginning of the novel Claire was nothing more than a silly, gold digging little girl who would do anything to be a part of New York High Society. When her past is revealed and she is exposed for being the daughter of a poor farmer she runs away to Paris to find her lover and hopes to live a life of Parisian luxury.

When Claire arrives in Paris she has no money, no legal papers and no friends to lean on. She survives only because of a chance encounter with Madame Palain and this woman's willingness to take Claire under her wing. She joined the Resistance as a way to stay in Paris, but finding happiness and staying in Paris came with a very high price. Claire had to sacrifice some of the things she held most dear to her heart in order to stay in the country, find fulfillment and to be able to truly love.

There were times that I felt Claire's tension, uncertainty and desperation so strongly they could have been my own emotions. Claire's desire for a more fulfilling life for herself transcends the pages and I became so invested in this character. I did not always appreciate her methods but could understand them as the last resort for a woman who had next to nothing and desired the best of everything. Certainly her own naivete and selfishness put her in this position in the first place but I came to have compassion for this lost soul and was happy to see her growth towards the end of the novel.

In The Last Time I Saw Paris, Sheen vividly portrays the fear, dejection and desperation of occupied Paris. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys WWII era historical fiction, or a good love story.

I received a free copy of The Last Time I Saw Paris from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down. 9 Sep 2012
By Elena - Published on
I had to, of course, but this book stayed on my mind constantly. First of all, let me say that the 1940s is my favorite era of history, period. On top of that, I'm always drawn to a WWII story.

At first, I wasn't sure if I'd like this book because its female protagonist, Claire, just wasn't likeable. She was greedy, self-seeking, completely materialistic and uncaring of anyone else. I'm the kind of reader who needs to like and be able to root for her characters (or at least one of them). It took quite a bit of character development for me to care for Claire yet I did. She grew into someone who was passionate about a cause and learned to put the needs of others before herself even at the risk of her own life.

SPOILER: In other reviews, there were a couple of comments that said the sex scenes were boring or unexciting. I'd like to point out that most of the sex in this novel occurred between Claire and the brutal Nazi officer she was trying to obtain information from. They weren't meant to be tender or romantic. The few scenes between her and Thomas Grey were far different.

Lynn Sheene's first novel was engaging, gripping and rich in detail. I felt like I was walking the streets of Paris with Claire and that I could clearly picture the people she described. I couldn't wait to reach the last page yet I was sorry I had arrived there. I'd definitely give this book five stars. I haven't been this pleased with a novel in a very long time.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, but oh, la, la...the pitiful French grammar. 27 Dec 2011
By S. Meyer - Published on
This book is a page-turner, a gripping novel, but how could Penguin, which is known for its scholarly selections, allow such basic mistakes in the French language?! Referring to a female friend, the book repeatedly writes "mon ami"! First year French students would probably know that it should be written "amie". Poor marks for the proof-reader as well as the author who would have been better off not writing anything in French at all. There were also some other mistakes in the spelling of geographical names, but I don't want to be overly negative, since, all in all, the book was very good.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully unexpected! 21 Jun 2011
By Farin - Published on
"The Last Time I Saw Paris" was not what I expected it to be, in the very best sense. Lynn Sheene tells the incredible story of Claire, a woman who flees from New York to Paris after her past catches up with her. She arrives with the sole intention of meeting up with her lover and living the glamorous life, but walks into a country on the brink of war instead. In exchange for identity papers, Claire reluctantly begins working for the Resistance. As she sees the effects of the Nazi occupation on her now beloved city, she becomes more involved in Resistance activities and falls in love with her contact, a British spy. When he is captured, she risks everything to make sure he is returned to her.

The most fascinating element of "The Last Time I Saw Paris" is Claire's journey from a materialistic, amoral socialite to a woman of bravery, compassion, and heart. She goes from using her survival instinct simply to further herself to using it to save those she holds dear. Best of all, the transformation doesn't happen overnight, which makes it all the more believable.

Ms. Sheene also brilliantly captures the fear and uncertainty of occupied Paris and the Parisians' attempts to continue living in the face of such horror. The scenes in the countryside are also well written and more than a little brutal. The moment when Paris is liberated was particularly exhilarating to read; the relief the characters felt rushed through me as well.

"The Last Time I Saw Paris" is an absorbing World War II novel with a touch of romance and a ton of character development. I congratulate Ms. Sheene on a strong debut, and I look forward to the next!
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