It's no secret that I'm a huge WWII fiction fan, so it will likely come as no surprise that I loved The Paris Agent, the 2023 release from beloved historical fiction author Kelly Rimmer. And while I was expecting lots of sabotage and intrigue, what I wasn't expecting from this book was the depth of emotion, grief themes, and tender father/daughter relationship. Needless to say, I highly recommend The Paris Agent to anyone who enjoys a good trip back in time to one of the most tumultuous periods in modern history.
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1970—In the aftermath of his war-ravaged past, Noah Ainsworth is still haunted by memories of his time as a fearless British operative in France. But a critical head injury left Noah with frustrating memory gaps and a burning question that plagues him—who was the agent who saved his life during that tragic final mission?
Determined to find answers, Noah's daughter Charlotte embarks on a quest from their cozy home in Liverpool, leading her to the incredible lives of two ordinary women—Chloe and Fleur—who transformed into fearless spies on foreign soil. But as Charlotte unravels the heroic exploits of these women and their connection to Noah, she inadvertently stumbles upon evidence of a double agent lurking disturbingly close to home, drawing her into a treacherous web of secrets and unearthing a shocking story from those final days of the war.
Once again, Kelly Rimmer takes readers on a gripping journey, one that threads the lives of two remarkable women into the fabric of history, unveiling the power of courage, family and the indelible mark left by the darkest era of human conflict.
Oh my goodness. The Paris Agent is SO good, y’all! I was completely engrossed in the story and all the characters, eager to know how the story would end. This was my first Kelly Rimmer novel, so I wasn't sure what to expect. But I quickly discovered why she is a beloved historical fiction author. It's safe to say I will be reading much more of her work soon.
Truth: I am a daddy's girl through and through, so I love a good father/daughter story. The father/daughter dynamic in The Paris Agent resonated with me. After having lost his wife of several decades, Noah is struggling to find purpose in his life. This leaves his adult daughter, Charlotte, to assume the caretaker role. I experienced the same role reversal with my father after we unexpectedly lost my mother to cancer in 2022. Needless to say, the grief experiences of both the main characters was so raw and heartfelt that I immediately connected with both.
To me, there’s nothing better than a good WWII espionage novel, and this one is chock full of missions, close calls, and even a triple agent. The intensity of the WWII storyline had me on the edge of my seat for much of the novel. And the outcome was painfully real (much like To Die Beautiful). I won't lie; I shed a few tears at the end of this one.
While the ending is not what I expected, it was definitely in keeping with the truth of WWII: agents put their lives at risk every day for the greater good. Books like The Paris Agent are why I love reading about WWII, a subject/period that many feel is cliché and overdone. In my opinion, we should NEVER stop talking about, sharing, or reflecting on the stories of the oppressed peoples and the courageous humans who fought to save them during one of the most brutal periods in history. This book is a tribute to some of those courageous men and women.
I highly recommend The Paris Agent to anyone who enjoys a pulse-pounding WWII novel full of emotion, intensity, and relational dynamics impacted by trauma and grief. The multiple points of view helped keep me engaged, and the dramatic storylines gave added feeling to what could otherwise have been just another WWII novel. If you're a fan of espionage plots and family secrets, this is one you don't want to miss!