I have not read many books that deal with the aftermath of WWI and so this book had me intrigued from the beginning. Pan Jenoff tells a kind of coming of age story detailing how Margot Rosenthal grows up to an independent woman in the Paris of 1919. Margot is in Paris, accompanying her father, who is involved in overseeing the Versailles Treaty. It becomes clear that Margot is not sad about having left behind Berlin and some demons, such as her fiancé Stefan, who returned from the war changed and a person that Margot hardly recognizes.
|available on amazon.com here|
In Paris, she soon discovers a number of interesting characters. There is the piano player Krysia and Georg, a German soldier, who still has open battle scars because of the war time trauma experienced. Of course any book playing in post-war Paris and involving the Versailles Treaty must have it share of intrigues and this book is no different. Trying to find a job, Margot ends up working with Georg. Her work for a German soldier makes her an interesting target for powers suspicious of whether the Germans are truly adhering to the stipulations of the Versailles Treaty. So can Margot avoid being drawn into the politics of Paris in 1919? After all, she is getting ready to marry Stefan, trying on wedding dresses and has the perfect excuse to simply focus on her wedding and ignore all else.
The author draws a lively picture of Paris during this crucial time in history and manages to let the reader experiences Paris through the eyes of Margot, a German girl that after initial hesitation realizes that Paris is actually a good place to spend some time in and grow up into an independent woman. The book is focused on Margot, her relationships, her personal growth and her impressions of Paris. The author does not go into details regarding the actual peace negotiations or the politics of the time. I therefore would describe this book to a romance first and secondary a historical novel. The book is fast-paced and through some interesting twists maintains the interest of the reader.