I am delighted to share my review today for The Paris Notebook by Tessa Harris. This is a title I spotted on NetGalley and I was delighted when the publisher HQ Digital granted my request to read it.
I would also like to wish the author a very Happy Publication Day for this fabulous book 🙂
A secret big enough to destroy the Führer’s reputation. . .
When Katja Heinz secures a job as a typist at Doctor Viktor’s clinic, she doesn’t expect to be copying top secret medical records from a notebook.
At the end of the first world war, Doctor Viktor treated soldiers for psychological disorders. One of the patients was none other than Adolf Hitler. . .
The notes in his possession declare Hitler unfit for office – a secret that could destroy the Führer’s reputation, and change the course of the war if exposed. . .
With the notebook hidden in her hat box, Katja and Doctor Viktor travel to Paris. Seeking refuge in the Shakespeare and Company bookshop, they hope to find a publisher brave enough to print the controversial script.
But Katja is being watched. Nazi spies in Paris have discovered her plan. They will stop at nothing to destroy the notebook and silence those who know of the secret hidden inside. . .
With many books set during World War II, I am always delighted to come across one that brings something different. The Paris Notebooks has something different, it is based on written accounts of a psychiatrist who treated Hitler after a gas attack during WWI. Can you imagine how important such documents would be and how they could be used? This story tells of what could have happened if the notebook eventually found its way into allied hands.
There are several characters in this book, the main one being Katja Heinz. A young girl looking after her mother has just been accepted for a job working as a PA for Doctor Viktor. The author tells of how Viktor treated Hilter and kept a medical notebook, he wants to let the world see the danger they are in as Hitler is just starting to show the world his idea of the future. Many are wary as they don’t want to rock the boat, Jews are being persecuted, Hitler is starting to advance and not everyone thinks he will do what we all know eventually he does.
Using Katja as the main protagonist was a fabulous move, having a heroine who is naive, but headstrong is great. The author uses her to show the fear that is instilled in people living in Germany at the time who are not fully supportive of this new regime. Having her put herself in the midst of things had me with my heart in my mouth hoping she would come through each incident unscathed. She does suffer loss as many at the time have and it is a stubborn streak and a sense of doing what is right that keeps her progressing forward.
This was a slower-paced story at the beginning and I liked this. It gave me a chance to understand the backgrounds of the characters and gave me more idea of their personalities so that when they did have to face something traumatic it felt right.
As well as having a huge amount of danger and suspense, this book also has some emotional scenes. I admit to having very tear-filled eyes while reading some of the scenes. Even though war is looming and eventually does happen, life still progresses. Unexpected meetings and chance events happen and knowing that there is someone that understands what you are going through makes things a little more bearable.
This is a fabulous story that I adored. The character of Katja and those she meets as she tries to deliver a notebook that could change the war is brilliant. This is a book that does contain some actual events and the author has included some insightful and useful additions at the end of the book, this makes great further reading on the internet.
If you are a fan of stories set during WWII that have some strong characters and very memorable scenes then this is one for you. A mix of danger, suspense, mystery, romance and heartbreaking choices make for a story I would definitely recommend.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
From the author’s website: After studying History at Oxford University, I began my journalistic career on a newspaper in my home town of Louth, in Lincolnshire. I progressed onto a London newspaper, where I became women’s editor. From there I moved to become a feature writer on Best magazine. After two years I was made editor of a regional arts and listings publication. This was followed by another two years as deputy editor on Heritage magazine. Motherhood meant a spell as a freelance, contributing to several national magazines, such as Country Homes & Interiors, Perfect Home and Woman’s Journal, as well as newspapers such as The Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian. During this time I also worked as a literary publicist and for a documentary-making company. In 2005 I was made editor of Berkshire Life magazine.
In 2000 I won a European-wide screenplay writing competition run by the London Screenwriters’ Workshop and the resulting screenplay was optioned by a film company. The script was set in 18th century London and my subsequent research led to the invention of Dr Thomas Silkstone, an American anatomist and the world’s first forensic scientist.
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