A review of my historical novel from the Historical Novel Society Online Review.
PARIS 1934: Victory in Retreat
Paul A. Myers, Paul A. Myers Books, 2009, $10.99, pb, 249pp, 9780982596005
Sandrine Durand is a budding young journalist and student covering a series of political uprisings in Paris in 1934. Fresh and flirtatious, Sandrine’s presence adds a sense of brightness to any scene during this otherwise troubled period. Serving as a part-time reporter for French and American papers, Sandrine is ready to prove her mettle and takes no nonsense from fellow reporters. Forming an unexpected and advantageous alliance, Sandrine claims her independence and allows her sensuality to reign free, setting her stakes high for the future.
Richly detailed description brings Sandrine’s Paris to life and illustrates the mounting tension in France as the German threat grows. As Sandrine becomes more involved in journalism, new friendships and a sweet romance take shape and add charm to the story. Though the political atmosphere provides Sandrine and her fellow reporters with plenty of action, the serious business of reporting is counterbalanced by playful banter and jokes at the Oasis, the Americans’ favorite bistro. Myers highlights the easy passions and unselfconscious enjoyment of French society in these lively bistro scenes. These slice-of-life moments add depth to the plot and help the reader traverse the complexities of the political setting and history of the region.
Readers who are interested in pre-World War II French society will find much to enjoy in Paris 1934. Myers’ descriptive and thoroughly researched narrative feels true to the era; the “City of Light” shines through the page.