Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Paris Noire by Francine Thomas Howard (CLOSED)

First line: Outside, somewhere, the next gun blast thudded through the air, rattling the mahogany-framed photograph of Papa.

From the back cover: Paris, 1944: The city steams in the summer heat, bristling with anticipation of its impending liberation. It marks the beginning of the end of a devastating war...and the beginning of a year like no other for Marie-Therese Brillard and her children, Colette and Christophe. They first came to Paris from Martinique in 1928, among the immigrants of color who flocked to France in the 1920s and '30s. They settled in Montmartre, a vibrant neighborhood teeming with musicians, writers, and artists, and began the arduous task of buidling a new life in a new land. The rigors of World War II only added to the adversity beneath which Marie-Therese struggled. Its culmination should offer her relief, and yet...

When Colette and Christophe are swept up in the jubilation following the Nazis' departure, each embarks upon a passionate love affair that Marie-Therese fears will cost them their dreams - or their lives. Twenty-year-old Colette begins a dalliance with a while Frenchman, a romance discouraged for the quadroon child of an immigrant. Her older brother Christophe becomes the lover of the beautiful wife of a French freedom fighter, a relationship Marie-Therese suspects can only end in heartache and bloodshed. Adding yet another complication is the man she calls Monsieur Lieutenant, the handsome black soldier whose mere presence intrigues Marie-Therese as no man has before.

Set against the turbulent backdrop of wartime France, Paris Noire is a dramatic and engrossing novel that brings to vivid life the remarkable people once relegated to the fringes of history.

My thoughts: I found this to be quite a compelling read. It is set during one of my favorite time-periods - World War II - and is a complex tale about life for people of color in post-WWII Paris. 

Set in 1944, at the beginning of the end of WWII, Paris Noire focuses on the story of Marie Therese and her two children Colette and Christophe. The family immigrated to Paris in 1928 from Martinique and faced many prejudices along the way. Once the Nazi's have left Paris, there is a great celebration where Christophe ends up beginning a passionate love affair with the wife of a French freedom fighter, a fact he is unaware of. Marie-Therese suspects that this relationship will only end to heartbreak for her son yet Christophe is determined to make his relationship work, as after all, he is in love. At the same time Colette begins a romance with a white Frenchman and Marie-Therese herself finds herself attracted to a handsome black soldier.
Francine Thomas Howard brings this multi-ethnic and cultural novel to life in a very personal way as she fictionalizes one of her grandmother's experiences in Paris Noire and does so in a way that brings a taste of realism to the tale as we follow the suffering and the blessings of this family. It was very easy to get caught up in the events of the story, especially with Christophe and Genvieve's story. I did feel, though, that we don't see or find out as much about Colette's story as we do Christophe's and even Marie-Therese. I would have liked to see more of her in the story, but still, found it to be quite an enjoyable read. 

About the author: Francine Thomas Howard resides with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. Originally from Illinois, she has lived in the Bay Area since childhood. She left a rewarding career in pediatric occupational therapy to pursue her first love, writing. Paris Noire is her second novel, after the celebrated Page from a Tennessee Journal.

I received a complimentary copy of Paris Noire by Francine Thomas Howard  from Sarah at Little Bird Publicity  to review.

Giveaway Information:

Thanks to Sarah at Little Bird, I have one copy of Paris Noire to give away to my readers.  Entries are open to those from the US.

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Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

AT 6 PM, EST, November 3rd


  1. This sounds like such a good book! I love anything set during WWII. I'm an old follower.

    kristen (dot) novak09 (at) gmail (dot) com

  2. This book looks great.

  3. Followed via GFC: Kayla27

  4. This sounds like such a good book, I would love to win it!
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  5. I follow you via gfc - mamabunny13
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  6. I'm also a big WWII-era fan - this sounds like a really great story!
    jcsites2002 at hotmail dot com

  7. I'm a GFC follower (Dolly)

  8. This looks like an intriguing book. Thanks for the giveaway.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com


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