The Paris Deception

Book Review

The Paris Deception by Bryn Turnbull
Historical Fiction | Art

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Reader’s Thoughts:

The moment I first saw this cover, it immediately called to me. Add in a description about women rescuing looted art that was slated for destruction by the Nazis, and I couldn’t resist applying for an early copy from Netgalley!

I love stories about the French resistance and those who worked to resist the Nazis in occupied France. In The Paris Deception, we follow two main characters — Sophie and Fabienne — who are tied to each other by a shared history of loss and grief. They unite to save masterpieces deemed “degenerate” by the Nazis, creating forgeries and sneaking the originals out to the countryside.

While I may be an outlier with this opinion, The Paris Deception started off slow. The plot and characters were strong but having had high expectations for this novel, it failed to suck me in as I was hoping. Having read my share of historical fiction, I wanted something fresh and new, and I wasn’t getting that. However, the last two-thirds of the novel really changed my mind. The characters really came to life and I particularly loved the vivid glimpse into the champagne region of France, and the lengths these brave characters went to to save the art.

With historical fiction, I always appreciate when the author’s note helps illuminate between facts and fiction. The details about the types of paint were fascinating, as were the true bits of history this book was based upon. It’s astounding to think about the art that was lost during this time period, and the families who were never reunited with priceless, stolen heirlooms.

Overall, this was a solid historical novel. The novel felt well-researched and had a clear focus on art. The descriptions of Paris and the style of writing were descriptive and lovely. In a sea of WWII stories, unfortunately, this one just didn’t stand out for me. However, it was a comfortable and easy read, and I would certainly recommend it for fans of the genre.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Recommended for:

Historical Fiction fans

This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Advance e-copy of the book provided courtesy of Harlequin Trade Publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the book:

From internationally bestselling author Bryn Turnbull comes a breathtaking novel about art theft and forgery in Nazi-occupied Paris, and two brave women who risk their lives rescuing looted masterpieces from Nazi destruction.

Sophie Dix fled Stuttgart with her brother as the Nazi regime gained power in Germany. Now, with her brother gone and her adopted home city of Paris conquered by the Reich, Sophie reluctantly accepts a position restoring damaged art at the Jeu de Paume museum under the supervision of the ERR—a German art commission using the museum as a repository for art they’ve looted from Jewish families.  

Fabienne Brandt was a rising star in the Parisian bohemian arts movement until the Nazis put a stop to so-called “degenerate” modern art. Still mourning the loss of her firebrand husband, she’s resolved to muddle her way through the occupation in whatever way she can—until her estranged sister-in-law, Sophie, arrives at her door with a stolen painting in hand.

Soon the two women embark upon a plan to save Paris’s “degenerates,” working beneath the noses of Germany’s top art connoisseurs to replace the paintings in the Jeu de Paume with skillful forgeries—but how long can Sophie and Fabienne sustain their masterful illusion?

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