The Paris Secret: An epic and heartbreaking love story set in World War Two

· Bookouture
12 reviews

About this ebook

The last time Valerie was in Paris, she was three years old, running from the Nazis, away from the only home she had ever known.

Now as a young woman all alone in the world, Valerie must return to Paris, to the bookshop and her sole surviving relative, her grandfather Vincent, the only person who knows the truth about what happened to her parents. As she gets to know grumpy, taciturn Vincent again, she hears a tragic story of Nazi-occupied Paris, a doomed love affair and a mother willing to sacrifice everything for her beloved daughter.

Can Valerie and Vincent help each other to mend the wounds of the past? Valerie isn’t after a fairytale ending, she only wants the truth. But what is the one devastating secret that Vincent is determined to keep from his granddaughter?

An unputdownable and unforgettable story of love, fear and courage in a time of war. Immerse yourself in a Paris where soldiers’ boots echo on cobbled streets and the air is full of whispers. Fans of Before We Were Yours, Kathryn Hughes and The Paris Wife will be absolutely hooked by this beautiful, tragic tale.

Readers are falling in love with The Paris Secret:

WOW that was one brilliant read, definitely up there with my top books for 2018! Superbly written and a beautiful if heart-wrenching at times storyline... It’s a beauty and the granddad and Clotilde are just wonderful characters. Highly recommend, worthy of more than 5 stars!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 Stars.

‘How to put my feelings into words about this book... absolutely one of the best books I have read in 2018… Lily Graham has written one of the best books of the year in my honest opinion! If I could have given this a higher rating that 5 stars I would have done so… truly an unforgettable story!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars.

‘Warning! This book will make you cry and crave the attention of a mangy old cat. It will make you want to head straight to Paris to find this magical bookstore!... The most moving story I’ve read in a long while… Magical… Mon Dieu, I have not wept so much in a while. Such rich characters and vivid scenes. Gorgeously evoked! I fell in love with one of them myself. I bawled at one of the later scenes. But by the end I was smiling and crying. I was an emotional mess all round really. Think I need that mangy old bookshop cat to come alive so I have something to cuddle right now.’ The Book Trail

‘What a delightful yet sad and heart-breaking story! I loved the back and forth storytelling… The author has quite a talent for painting a picture as it was so easy for me to imagine everything!’ Goodreads Reviewer

‘You really get a sense of Paris as well as sadly the war… Really makes you fall in love with the place... I was gripped… Valerie's story will have readers totally engrossed and taken on an emotional roller coaster of a ride… A heart-breaking and emotional read that will have you reaching for the tissues more than a few times. Sometimes in happiness and others in sadness. A captivating and beautifully written story that ingrains itself in readers’ hearts and minds.’ By The Letter Book Reviews, 5 Stars

‘This book pulls you in from the start. I love the character of Valerie and the growth of the relationships throughout the story… A quick, sweet read… Overall, a great story.’ Goodreads Reviewer

Readers adore Lily Graham’s writing:

I was hooked… a beautiful story… absolutely amazing!... truly beautiful… even though I did spend most of the time blubbering into my tissues! Stardust Book Reviews5 stars

12 reviews
Gaele Hi
October 29, 2018
Annie is heading from Moscow to home via train when she encounters Valerie, an old woman now, carrying a battered blue suitcase as she is returning to Paris after her travels. While Valerie is convinced the young never notice the old, there’s something about Annie that brings her to share her story. Born in Paris during the Occupation, Valerie was raised in England with her ‘Aunt’ Amélie and her husband, distant cousins and the only family Valerie believes she has. But one day she learns that she has a Grandfather in Paris, one who ‘gave’ her away, and with the help of her best friend Freddy, concocts a scheme to meet Vincent Dupont, her grandfather. Offered a position at his bookshop Griboullier (Scribbles) and a room, she at the ripe age of 20 is now the assistant on trial, and facing a place and a man she doesn’t remember. Taciturn at the best of times, explosively derisive as a norm, Vincent isn’t actually welcoming, but Valerie knows that she wants to find answers and her story, before revealing the truth of who she is. Thus we see the story of Valerie’s mother Mirelle and the struggles during the war, and of the man who is her father: with his keeping them safe, helping her best friend Clothilde to escape to relative safety in Spain, and the subsequent arrest and jailing of her father, Vincent’s plea to Mattaus that he keep Mirelle safe, and the progression of their relationship. A diary in Mirelle and Mattaus’ hand detailing her pregnancy and infancy, giving her more of the story of her parents and those fraught moments, and the only piece of the story she knew – that she was given away – all fall to the wayside as Clothilde, who returned to Paris after the war’s end and is a neighbor and friend of Vincent can fill in pieces of the rest. Of course, there are stories behind the Occupation, and horrors that were visited on those who stayed, and that one who was grieving so constantly for what he had lost, or mistakes he believes he made would make Vincent the toughest nut to crack. His cataloguing of the shop and rather unique approach to customers and their reading choices – all were manifestations of that grief. But, as a character, he is who stood out for me in a long list of people that were hard to turn from. His story now finally told, and his relief in reconnecting with Valerie, his joy in the ability to share with her stories of her mother and her bravery, and ultimately her death as well as the reasons she was sent from Paris, not ‘given away’ bring closure and a sort of peace to Valerie. Learning of her past, and understanding the full story of the family she didn’t know filled a hole that, despite being loved and treated as a treasured child, was still there. Emotional and complex, the story doesn’t pull any punches about the Occupation or its aftermath, or the effects that live in regrets and grief until the story is shared, told and understood. A different perspective from the Occupation stories I’ve encountered, Graham brings a palpable sense of the people and their choices as they struggled with what was right, best or even possible in a time when possible could be deadly. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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Telva Chase
June 25, 2021
just discovered Lily's books this month and this was read #3. I love how she integrates past with present and builds believable characters during times in history, ensuring real facts remain true. I only have one complaint - I have to ensure I have a full day to read Lily's books to completion because I cannot put them down. Beautiful story!!❤
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annemarie bookaholic
October 4, 2018
How to put my feelings into words about this book....absolutely one of the best books I have read in 2018 Valerie was taken from her family at what she thought was the point when the Nazis invaded France and was taken to England. Why was she taken and what happened to her family? The story jumps from modern time, to the 1960's, to World War II Paris France occupation... We read about how one family was devastated by the Nazis taking over Paris...while trying to run their family bookstore...heart wrenching at times (I used a few tissues) and expertly written. Lily Graham has written one of the best books of the year in my honest opinion! If I could have given this a higher rating that 5 stars I would have done so....truly an unforgettable story!
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