Tuesday 7 November 2017

Blog Tour ~ Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Jaffareadstoo is thrilled to be part of the Last Christmas in Paris Blog Tour

My thanks to the publishers for their invitation to be part of this tour and also for my copy of the book

William Morrow
AN imprint of Harper Collins
October 2017

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him...

I am thrilled to be able to share this fascinating guest post from the author, Hazel Gaynor...

‘Epistolary novels have long captured the imagination of writers and readers. There is something undeniably voyeuristic about reading someone’s private thoughts, and this can make for a very intimate reading experience. Different to the first-person point of view, reading words which were only intended for one other person allows the reader to share a unique closeness with the characters on the page. We see their most personal thoughts, intended only to be shared with a loved one. Through the process of exchange among a circle of communicators, we can also see what is left out of some letters, and that, in itself, can speak volumes.

The most usual form of epistolary device is letters, although diaries, journals, telegrams and newspaper reports are also widely used in the epistolary form. Contemporary novels might also include emails, text messages, blog posts, and poems to tell part of the narrative. Reading these very personal forms of communication feels akin to finding an old box full of letters in your granny’s attic, or stumbling across a stranger’s journal, left behind in a hotel room. We probably shouldn’t look, but we do. And when we start to read, we can’t stop.

For the historical novelist, the epistolary novels lends an added layer of historical authenticity. Letters and telegrams were the only form of communication between loved ones during the Great War. The anticipation of news from the trenches, the agony of long weeks without word, the despair of the telegram boy’s knock on the door encapsulate much of the raw emotion unique to wartime. This style and structure of these communications transports the reader directly to the era, something every reader hopes for when picking up an historical novel.

As for letters themselves. Have we fallen out of love with them, or have we simply forgotten how powerful they can be? Consider the last time you checked your mailbox and found a pretty envelope stamped and sent from someone you love--or even from a mysterious sender. How your lips curled into a smile, how you felt a touch of happiness that someone took the time to write you a note on elegant paper. Writing letters may be a dying art form, but it isn’t lost, just yet.

Huge thanks to Hazel for her fascinating guest post today.

About the authors

Hazel  Gaynor is now working on her fifth solo novel, a re-imagining of the life of Victorian heroine Grace Darling, and the forgotten lives of female lighthouse keepers of the early 20th century. She is also working on her first book for children.


Twitter @HazelGaynor #LastChristmasInParis

Heather Webb is gearing up to release a historical suspense novel titled The Phantom’s Apprentice, a re-imagining of Phantom of the Opera told from Christine Daae’s point of view on February 6, 2018. She’s also working diligently on an immigration story set in 1901 U.S.


Twitter @MsHeatherWebb #LastChristmasInParis

Amazon UK


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