Paris 1934: Victory in Retreat by Paul A. Myers
Sandrine Durand is a vibrant young student and journalist covering the political and fashion scenes of Paris in 1934. Working for both a French and an American paper, Sandrine sees two sides to every story, reporting the straight facts for the Americans and the details for the French. Saucy and flirtatious, Sandrine is coming into her own and establishing her independence amidst the free-thinking citizens of Paris, but she is no ingenue. When opportunity strikes, Sandrine takes it.
The novel’s rich detail evokes lively, early 20th century photographs of Parisian cafe scenes and cityscapes, bringing the era to life. The novel opens with mounting political turmoil, but Sandrine’s presence adds a fun and lively quality to the story, balancing the dryer facts of the historical events that serve as the novel’s background. Sandrine’s French and American friends prove to be just as lively and intriguing as the hopeful journalist; the energetic bistro scenes between Sandrine and the American journalists at the Oasis were some of my favorite moments in the novel.
The first half of the novel takes some time to develop; much of the action revolves around a series of civil uprisings that occurred in Paris early in 1934. The story picks up when Sandrine and her friends are introduced. I found that I enjoyed the social aspects of the novel more than the political history, but I appreciated the insight that the historical details provided as I was unfamiliar with the history of Paris’s pre-WWII politics.
I received a review copy of Paris 1934 from the Historical Novel Society Online. HNS Online publishes a quarterly column on self-published and author subsidized publications. Paris 1934 can be purchased from Amazon.com.
On a side note… to avoid any self-plagiarism issues that might arise, I’m going to hold off on posting the reviews I’ve written for my class readings until grades are in.
Also, I’m playing around with my review format… I think adding the title at the beginning of the post rather than in the review will make the reviews more search and reader friendly.