Blog Book Tour | “Moonlight Over Paris” by Jennifer Robson

Posted Saturday, 26 March, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “Moonlight Over Paris” direct from the publisher William Morrow (an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

The 1920s and war dramas:

You will denote I love reading war dramas (if you follow this thread) as they are this wicked niche of Historical Fiction I truly champion reading! As I’ve blogged my passion about the genre several times, the three to note were my notes of praise on my review of The Silver Locket, the Guest Post on behalf of ‘By the Stars’ and the bits I shared in-between my booklove and admiration for Scent of Triumph. The main reason I can never tire of reading war dramas is because they are each set in a different portion of living history – some of which we readily know about and others we are just starting to discover come alive in literature.

I still considered this one a war drama even though the story picks up Post-War rather than during war-time, as there is still a left-over effect of the war as life renewed itself and began once more in peacetime. It isn’t oft I get to tuck inside a Post-War story and felt blessed I could see Paris emerging out of the first World War as it re-stablised and re-identified itself to the world.

The 1920s is a particular era of interest of mine – from the Flapper generation to the classic motion pictures, this particular era has an incredible draw to follow and yield more insight out of. I happily dissolved inside the BBC drama “House of Elliott” as it takes you through the entire decade of the 20s whilst giving you a strong impression about entrepreneurship and women in the workforce. Oft-times I find myself impressed by the stories set in France – encompassing not only the 20s but the 1930s and 1940s as well. This started with an intense appreciation for “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald” and has grown to encompass other authors who are illuminating this genesis of intellectual freedoms of artistry inasmuch as a freedom of spirit and personality. Life in the 1920s was as liberating as the 1960s in many ways, as each generation was trying to ‘live outside the box’ of their lifestyles.

Finding a new release under the P.S. Edition bracket of William Morrow is a true delight as I love how they put these editions together! Always quite lovely to read and the extra bits in the back are happily devoured after I read the stories! It’s one of the best editions for booklovers who want to know a bit more ‘beyond the story’ and get to know the author who pens the narratives we love to read! This particular edition has a lovely iridescent jacket with tuck-folded panels, a Glossary of Words from the novel and an Essay by the author about ‘The Lost Generation’ for which the story is based. I also loved the fact the papers are unevenly cut as next to the old world cut of papers, this is one of my favourite ways to present a novel!

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Blog Book Tour | “Moonlight Over Paris” by Jennifer RobsonMoonlight Over Paris
by Jennifer Robson
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

An aristocratic young woman leaves the sheltered world of London to find adventure, passion, and independence in 1920s Paris in this mesmerizing story from the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of Somewhere in France andAfter the War is Over.

Spring, 1924

Recovering from a broken wartime engagement and a serious illness that left her near death, Lady Helena Montagu-Douglas-Parr vows that for once she will live life on her own terms. Breaking free from the stifling social constraints of the aristocratic society in which she was raised, she travels to France to stay with her free spirited aunt. For one year, she will simply be Miss Parr. She will explore the picturesque streets of Paris, meet people who know nothing of her past—and pursue her dream of becoming an artist.

A few years after the Great War’s end, the City of Light is a bohemian paradise teeming with actors, painters, writers, and a lively coterie of American expatriates who welcome Helena into their romantic and exciting circle. Among them is Sam Howard, an irascible and infuriatingly honest correspondent for the Chicago Tribune.

Dangerously attractive and deeply scarred by the horror and carnage of the war, Sam is unlike any man she has ever encountered. He calls her Ellie, sees her as no one has before, and offers her a glimpse of a future that is both irresistible and impossible.

As Paris rises phoenix-like from the ashes of the Great War, so too does Helena. Though she’s shed her old self, she’s still uncertain of what she will become and where she belongs. But is she strong enough to completely let go of the past and follow her heart, no matter where it leads her?

Artfully capturing the Lost Generation and their enchanting city, Moonlight Over Paris is the spellbinding story of one young woman’s journey to find herself, and claim the life—and love—she truly wants.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, War Drama

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780062389824

Also by this author: Cover Reveal: Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War

Published by William Morrow

on 19th January, 2016

Format: P.S. Edition Paperback

Pages: 352

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: P.S. Edition Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #MoonlightOverParis, #HistFic and #HistRom

About Jennifer Robson

Jennifer Robson

Jennifer Robson first learned about the Great War from her father, acclaimed historian Stuart Robson, and later served as an official guide at the Canadian National War Memorial at Vimy Ridge, France.

A former copy editor, she holds a doctorate in British economic and social history from the University of Oxford. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and young children.

I love the inclusion of art:

Being an artist myself, I love finding how writers might give a background of art to their characters, as I have previously read the Biographical Historical story inside Rodin’s Lover inasmuch as read about the process other artists go through as they develop their skill and craft. I even appreciate this subject explored in Classic Motion Pictures as it speaks to how an artist can develop their skill and their inspiration behind the work they are creating.

The beauty of how Robson is including the art of Helena’s heart is by keeping us in step with her drawings and the organic way in which her art is coming forward to the light. It’s a good reminder to keep in ‘practice’ of the skills we want to see develop further than where we are inside them, too. Little bits of a knowing recognition can be found throughout the novel if your art-minded. Robson definitely has a way with giving us this portrait of a young artist’s life and the way in which pursuing your passion can lead to the best joy you can sustain.

My Review of Moonlight Over Paris:

We become acquainted with Helena as she’s choosing to fight to live rather than to succumb to the malady which threatens to take her early; a conscience choice to dare in believing she can overcome what has befallen her to such a level of agony. It’s a curious place to entreat inside a novel – to take an internal step inside a character’s mindset and heart, whilst noting they are on the fringes of a life shift – as what will be determined next directly involves whether they live or die.

Shifting forward a short spell past Helena’s stay at hospital, we find a caring Auntie who is written her by Post to encourage her spirit but also to suggest something quite keen! It’s this encouragement of her Auntie and a resolve within herself to finally step outside the shadows of her parents, where Helena first decides to grab a bit of life by her hands and take flight to a new country: France! Her goals were quite non-traditional in the 1920s where society dictated certain traits of decorum but she had a bit of moxie inside her which inspired her foot to step forward irregardless if her parents understood. I respected this most, as sometimes despite best intentions you have to carve out the life you feel you ought to be living.

I must confess I love rail travel myself – although I was never on the train long enough to enjoy the restaurant attached to it; it is one of my goals to travel by the rails in the future, and to have an experience similar to Helena’s! There is an independence to travelling by train, a whole world of it’s own set to a timetable that is quite unique and a lovely rendezvous with countryside and city. It was quite a fanciful treat to curl inside the scenes where Helena is making her route towards her destination in France; I was very charmed by how Robson approached this section.

I had hoped there might be a warm homecoming when she greeted Aunt Agnes and I was not disappointed; especially since her Auntie knew exactly how to surprise her niece upon arrival! It was not limited to hugs and the joy of her pending stay but a hidden cache of materials that tickled Helena’s heart for she realised how well her Aunt understood her desire to live this year in France! It was such a champion stroke of compassion and love!

As Helena settles into life in France, we start to see her spread her wings a bit – including meeting an American who takes her off-guard and delights in her company. We start to see Helena moving out of the past she never could shed in England and becoming more self-assured in her own skin – a refreshing change for her and a lovely journey of her character for the reader! Robson gives us a rendering of how one woman’s artistic spirit nearly languished by inactivity only to be re-strengthened by circumstance (volunteering during the war) which gave Helena purpose and worth. Art was her passion but it’s how Robson approached introducing us to this passion that is endearing to her character. We get to align ourselves straight into her inner thoughts and the processes she uses to create her artwork.

Her friendships with Daisy (whose father is relentless in his control of her movements with a chaperone), Etienne (an artist with natural talent) and Mathehilde (a married woman with a young daughter and a husband home from war) sustain her as she tries to find the discouraging prospect that she will not master oils. Having worked with oil paints and oil pastels myself, I can appreciate her apprehension and her frustration – as they are not the easiest materials to use. Yet, when you find your rhythm with them, you can create lovely works of art. It’s the patience required that is the trickiest to learn, as you have be ever more in love with the process vs the reveal of your efforts; it takes time to coax out the image your seeking whilst the techniques are being learnt.

I appreciated her growing relationship with the American – Sam Howard, as he’s a happy spot in her life whilst giving her questions to ponder about how to live past this first year at school. He keeps her fully present in the moment and yet, endeavours her to think past what she considers ‘her place’ and ‘her duty’ to her family. I even liked seeing the additions of the ‘petit bleu’ postlets entering into their lives, as they’re an extension of correspondences (i.e. telegrams). Quite a lovely introduction to this intra-city mode of communication in Paris during the war years.

Sam and Helena have a relationship built through friendship (the best kind there is!) and it’s a special treat to watch them develop their emotional bond. They each connect to each other because they come from a background of wealth and aristocracy but it’s not how they define themselves. They’d rather go into the world and make their own mark than to rely on what was already established. Their friends and Aunt Agnes knew what they could not see but it’s how Robson crafted this historical romance I loved most! She let the pacing of the story envelope you – you could linger and pause over the conversations and the growing moments where Helena was finding confidence in her artwork. The backdrop of Paris on the verge of renewing itself after war was a feast of fashion and food – to the brink you loved drinking in the atmosphere Robson left for you to find!

Historical Romances like these are treasured discoveries because you get to go the mile through the character’s journey without missing anything along the way. The historical backdrop is illuminated through the salons of Stein and other artist-minded folks who brought the Hemingway’s and Fitzgerald’s together – without dismissing others who were not as well known either. Quite the electric air was lit in Paris in the 20s – so much artistic and writerly revolution was happening all around the city. A lifeblood of defining one’s art and living in the moment rather than being worrisome for an uncertain future. This was the blessing of the gap between the World Wars, where life could resume before the next crisis took hold.

On the writing style of Jennifer Robson:

As this is my introduction to the author I did not realise I was reading a trilogy of war dramas by the author until I entered Moonlight Over Paris into my #50BookPledge shelf! Normally, I’m quite dedicated to reading series in order – however, since I didn’t realise this was a series, I was still keenly invested into reading Helena’s story-line. I will be definitely seeking out copies of Somewhere in France, After the War is Over and Fall of Poppies (which continues this story-line). I happily cheered for the release of Fall of Poppies last year, as I was incredibly grateful to bring the Cover Reveal to Jorie Loves A Story! As you can see by my post I blogged a bit more than a regular ‘reveal of a jacket’s artwork’! I am blessed to find all three of these lovelies are available at my local library, too!

I positively love when writers include postal letters and correspondences into their stories – in part because I’m a letter-writer myself and partially due to the connection of past centuries where letters were the most important mode of communication. In some ways, we could all do well to re-encourage a bit of retrotech into our lives as I feel too much instant-anything isn’t going to help us in the long run. This is why I had such a happy giddiness about me as I read the back-cover of the jacket which revealled a letter from dear Aunt Agnes which is featured on page 7 (the first of Aunt Agnes letters to Helena!).

If the rest of the trilogy tracks as well as Moonlight Over Paris centre-locked on strong female leads and the courage to set your stars towards a life you dare to live, than I might just have found myself a wonderful new historical author whose giving me a wicked good #unputdownable read story by story! This is wicked brilliant because I crave discovering writers like Robson who are tenacious about research and writing a realistically grounded story which can be inserted so wholly true into it’s historical era, you feel tucked inside it. The fact she’s a Canadian author makes it even sweeter, if you follow this threading of #CanLit authors I am wicked happy to be reading!

Robson uses turns of phrase I delight on sight in seeing inside historical fiction but she also takes her time – she’s one of those writers I fancy most for her pacing choices. You don’t have to feel rushed through scenes and dialogue – you can soak inside those moments – bit by bit and completely feel yourself properly absorbed into what is happening. This is a grace of bookish joy for readers – especially myself, who like to linger within those pages and truly step through the door of time!

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBT

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My review was delayed by a migraine which took me offline for 11 days this month and the recovery I had afterwards left me exhausted. I struggled to get back into books this week, as it was the first week where I could even focus on reading or blogging – therefore I extend my apologies to the author and publisher as I hadn’t meant to extend myself outside the range of the blog tour, as I had hoped to post this within the time-frame of the tour itself.

Moonlight Over Paris blog tour via HFVBTs.

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who picked up the same story to read.

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Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 26 March, 2016 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Britian, Canadian Literature, Coming-Of Age, Equality In Literature, Family Life, France, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Inheritance & Identity, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Library Love, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Passionate Researcher, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, the Roaring Twenties, War Drama, Writing Style & Voice

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