Title:- The Last Restaurant in Paris
Author:- Lily Graham
Date published:- will be published on July 18th 2022
No. of pages:- 333 pages
Genre:- Historical Fiction
Paris 1944. To save her people, she served the enemy.
In enemy-occupied Paris, as the locals go to bed starving and defeated by the war, music and laughter spills through the door of a little restaurant, crowded with German soldiers. The owner Marianne moves on weary feet between its packed tables, carrying plates of steaming, wholesome food for the enemy officers. Her smile is bright and sparkling, her welcome cordial. Nobody would guess the hatred she hides in her heart.
That night, the restaurant closes its doors for the final time. In the morning, the windows are scratched with the words ‘traitor and murderer’. And Marianne has disappeared without a trace…
Years later, Marianne’s granddaughter Sabine stands under the faded green awning, a heavy brass key in her hand, staring at the restaurant left to her by the grandmother she never met. Sabine has so many questions about herself. Perhaps here she can find answers, but she knows she isn’t welcome. Marianne was hated by the locals and when Sabine discovers they blamed her for the terrible tragedy that haunts the pretty restaurant, she is ready to abandon her dark legacy.
But when she finds a passport in a hidden compartment in the water-stained walls, with a picture of a woman who looks like her grandmother but has a different name, she knows there must be more to Marianne’s story. As she digs into the past, she starts to wonder: was her grandmother a heroine, not a traitor? What happened to her after the tragic night when she fled from her restaurant? And will the answer change her own life forever?
This is a truly emotional historical fiction with a tinge of thriller in it–about a woman who owned a restaurant in Paris in the early 1940’s and poisoned the customers, many are Nazi soldiers and was executed for her crimes.
The story starts in late 1980’s when Sabine gets a letter from a solicitor that she was set fo inherit a closed restaurant which was owned by her late grandmother. Sabine was surprised about the inheritance, as this grandmother’s name was Marianne and all she knew was her grandmother was not named Marianne. However, she finds that her mother must have possibly being adopted and in search for answers, she meets an elderly man named Gilbert who used to work at the restaurant as a young boy and who remembers Marianne dearly. Gilbert then recounts his time at the restaurant to Sabine and together they try to find answers to what really happened, the night Marianne poisoned those Nazi soldiers.
I do like the change in time lines and I like how the present day is set in the late 1980’s. I breifly read the author’s note who has said that this book is loosely based on the true story. It was really engaging and unputdownable but soon tear jerking and emotional moments come by the middle of the book when you find the real reason why Marianne did what she did. It was actually a heartbreaking scene and emotional to read and I was literally crying as I read those parts in the book. Nonetheless, the ending was great and the author has manage to captivate us readers taking us to the 1920’s Paris, France. Kudos to the author for doing so much research about the 1920’s to 1930’s Paris!
If you like an emotional and heart breaking historical thriller that will make you cry, The Last Restaurant in Paris is highly recommended. Worth the full five stars! This is the third book I have read form this author and I am looking forward to read more books by this author.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for the ARC. The review is based on my honest opinion only.
Lily Graham is the author of the bestselling, The Child of Auschwitz, The Paris Secret and The Island Villa, among others. Her books have been translated into numerous languages, including French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Turkish.
She grew up in South Africa, and was a journalist for a decade before giving it up to write fiction full time. Her first three novels were lighter, women’s fiction, but when she wrote The Island Villa, a story about a secret Jewish community living on the tiny island of Formentera during the Spanish Inquisition, she switched to historical fiction and hasn’t quite looked back since.
She lives now in the Suffolk coast with her husband and English bulldog, Fudge. Her latest book, The Flight of Swallows, set in Denmark and Sweden, will be out in January 2021.