The Lost Girls of Paris begins in 1946 New York. Gracie, a widow who’s moved to Manhattan to start again, is running late for work when she comes across a road accident where a woman has been hit and killed by a car. The road is closed, so Gracie cuts through Grand Central Station and discovers a suitcase with the name, Trigg written on it. She’s intrigued to discover what’s inside and who the owner might be. She opens the case and takes out a batch of photographs held together with a piece of lace. There are twelve photos and each one is of a single woman. When someone comes, Gracie hurriedly closes the case and pushes it back to where she found it, but doesn’t have time to return the photos and slips them into her pocket.
Discovering that the woman who was killed was called Eleanor Trigg and that she’s also the owner of the suitcase, Gracie determines to discover who Eleanor was and the identities of each woman in the photos. She has no idea that she is about to uncover a secret that someone has worked hard to hide and during her investigations reveals a dark element of history that has been hidden away from the public.
The story is told from three points of view. There’s Gracie’s story in 1946. She’s struggling to move on from the death of her husband and her suffocating family. Eleanor is a woman in charge of a team of female SOE agents. She has been instrumental in recruiting and then training them. Then, when she believes them ready, they are sent into occupied France to assist the resistance with their battle against Nazi rule. Finally, there’s Marie, one of the agents. As the three women’s stories are revealed the reader discovers more about Gracie’s past, why Eleanor is in New York and what happened to the women agents she sent to France.
Pam Jenoff has obviously done some detailed research and this fast-paced story of love, determination and heartache kept me enthralled from the first page to the last. I’ve read and enjoyed most of this author’s books and I think this has to be my favourite. I can’t recommend The Lost Girls of Paris highly enough.