Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Review: The Ghosts of Paris by Tara Moss

by Tara Moss
Release Date: June 7, 2022
2022 Dutton
Kindle Edition; 384 Pages
ISBN: 978-0593182680
Audiobook: B09HSQNZKV
Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Historical
Source: Review copy from publisher

3.75 / 5 Stars

It's 1947. The world continues to grapple with the fallout of the Second World War, and former war reporter Billie Walker is finding her feet as an investigator. When a wealthy client hires Billie and her assistant Sam to track down her missing husband, the trail leads Billie back to London and Paris, where Billie's own painful memories also lurk.

As Billie's search for her client's husband takes her to both the swanky bars at Paris's famous Ritz hotel and to the dank basements of the infamous Paris morgue, she'll need to keep her gun at the ready, because something even more terrible than a few painful memories might be following her around the city of lights . . .
My Thoughts
The Ghosts of Paris is the second book in the Billie Walker Mystery series, and I enjoyed it quite a bit and had no trouble following along even though I have no yet read the first book in this series.  It did take quite a while for things to get moving, but when it did pick up, there was plenty to keep you engaged and interested.  I am always fascinated by the time period after the war as people try to rebuild their lives and deal with the actions and betrayals of the war, so I found this book, with all of its secrets, to be engrossing.  It's a bit lighter than the typical spy novel, but it was a lot of fun to read nonetheless.
I enjoyed Billie as a main character and liked her spunk as she dealt with the attitudes towards females and female independence during this time period.  A lot of women really came into their own during WWII and achieved so many things, things that were difficult to let go when the war ended and the men returned expecting them to resume the rules and regulations that existed before the war.  Watching Billie explore this new world, trying to deal with those older viewpoints, comments, and expectations, was frustrating and you get an idea of what is was like for women during this time period.  The author really captured the atmosphere and it was evident she did a lot of research to be able to share the feelings as well as the frustrations with the reader through dialogue as well as actions. The descriptions of the clothing, the food, the buildings, that airplane ride, the beliefs, etc... really enhanced the overall reading experience and I enjoyed it tremendously.

I did enjoy this writer's writing style and thought her descriptions were wonderful, but I did think the story had moments where it dragged and was repetitive.  I understand the author was trying to introduce characters and set-up different story lines as well as remind the reader of previous story lines that were incomplete from the previous book, something I did appreciate, but I did have to push through as I wondered when the actual story was going to start.  When it did, it was quite explosive and very interesting.  However, the ending was abrupt and a bit unsatisfactory.  I did learn quite a bit about the LGBTQ community that existed during this time period, both in France as well as Australia, and I appreciated learning more about some of the laws that existed if one were caught; the author did a great job highlighting the homophobia that existed as well.  

The Ghosts of Paris deals with some fascinating issues of the time period, and I appreciated the research the author put into including those details into the story.  I really enjoyed the characters and for the most part, the story lines were interesting; the abrupt ending of one of them left me feeling a bit unsatisfied, and I am still not sure what I think about the other one as I felt it was contrived simply to make room for a relationship for Billie which didn't quite sit well with me.  Overall, I recommend this book to anyone looking for an interesting story set after WWII.