Saturday, December 4, 2010
A novel about Paris, not just the beautiful "City of the Lights," but a city captured and terrorized in the grip of a hostile German army in WWII, this is a book I couldn't help dying to read. I love Paris above all European cities, and my heart just stops at the thought of anyone destroying a single piece of its architecture or fine arts.
So, I could hardly wait to tell you that this book will leave you breathless and pensive. From the very first paragraphs you will be taken in to the epic story of lovers and liars, artists and anti-heros...
Stacy Cohen paints with a gentle hand and deft stokes the story of an occupied Paris that is so confined and crippled that you feel the constraints of it as you read. We come to know and love favored contemporary artists Miro and the grumpy but irrepressible Matisse, who take under wing the talented but fledgling young artist, Jean Luc Beauchamp.
Jean Luc becomes the hero of this story as we follow his passions of art, true love for a beautiful Russian ballerina with a secret, and love of Paris...all elements of the human story and the battle of good vs. evil. Ms Cohen also provides us a German Oberst officer villian to heat up the struggles. He's interesting, darkly intriguing and easy to hate.
A novel that will set you adrift into another time, "The Last Train for Paris," will catch you up in a story that will rush over your heart and bring you to tears. It is a story that will create a righteous indignation about the savaging of the arts, and the art thefts of WWII. And, it is a novel that will remain with you should you visit Paris or when you think of its beauty and many treasures.
Hopefully, you will never find yourself taking the last train from Paris...but always going toward Paris. It is the most beautiful and mysterious of European cities. Just like cities all over the world in these times and in the past, it is worthy of our concerns and protection.
I'm grateful to Ms Cohen for reminding me of that. It took many brave hearts in the Resistance to liberate Paris and France from a hostile enemy. Theirs is a story that is beautifully rendered in "The Last Train from Paris."
Highly recommended and timely.
Your Bookish Dame/Deb