Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: Last Train to Paris by Michele Zackheim

Book: Last Train to Paris by Michele Zackheim
Genre: Historical Fiction
For: Blog Tour
From: TLC Blog Tours

I seem to be attracted to any book about Paris these days. So I accepted the opportunity to review this one. It ended up taking me awhile to get into it. The writing is great, but it has a sort of detached quality that made me not feel very invested at first. But then things got going and I got the feel for it and ended up enjoying the book very well.

It's about this old lady, living in Paris, who gets a trunk sent to her, a trunk full of mementos from the past, a trunk that she left behind years ago and pretty much had forgotten about, a trunk that suddenly finds its way back into her life.

So she sits down and starts to rummage through this stuff and as she does, we, the reader, are taken back in time to remember right along with her, all the adventures she's had.

She was a famous reporter just before World  War II breaks out. She gets assigned to Paris and to Berlin and so she is right there as Hitler begins his push. She herself, is half Jew which puts her in lots of danger and I began to think she was absolutely crazy as she continues to run back and forth between Paris and Berlin during this time! What WAS she thinking?

Besides the war, other stuff happens. Her cousin is murdered, she falls in a love with a German Jew in Berlin, she fights with her mom, her dad dies, she makes friends with all the guys in the newsroom and all the tenants in her building. There are some pretty tense moments as she becomes involved with saving people and getting some of her Jewish friends out of Berlin. And things do not all go smoothly.

It's a fabulous peek into what it may have been like in this part of the world during that volatile time. And learning about these things through the memory of an old lady who lived through them was a fun and interesting way to experience it.

Bottom line: I really enjoyed this one.

Other Reviews:

Be sure to check out the other stops on this tour:

Tuesday, January 7th: Book-alicious Mama
Thursday, January 9th: Man of La Book
Friday, January 10th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, January 10th: Diary of an Eccentric
Monday, January 13th: It’s All About Books
Thursday, January 16th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, January 20th: Bibliotica
Tuesday, January 21st: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, January 22nd: Reflections of a Bookaholic
Thursday, January 23rd: Unabridged Chick
Monday, January 27th: A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, January 28th: Book Dilettante

More about the author Michele Zackheim, from her webpage:

Michele Zackheim is the author of four books. Born in Reno, Nevada she grew up in Compton, California. For many years she worked in the visual arts as a fresco muralist, an installation artist, print-maker, and a painter.

She has been the recipient of two NEA awards, and teaches Creative Writing from a Visual Perspective at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Of her transition from visual artist to author she writes: “Over time, random words began to appear on my canvases…then poems…then elaborate fragments of narratives. I began to think more about writing and less about the visual world. Finally, I simply wrote myself off the canvas and onto the lavender quadrille pages of a bright orange notebook. This first book, Violette’s Embrace, was published by Riverhead Books.”

You can visit her at her webpage and on Facebook or connect with her on Twitter.


  1. I have been seeing this tour and the book does look good. Glad you liked it. :)

  2. I've been obsessed with Paris too! You might check out this list of non-fiction about France, if you're interested in more of the country than Paris: I want to read everything on the list :)

  3. I love the premise of the story - reopening memories with the delivery of something from the past.

    Thanks for being on the tour!



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