When the new to me audiobook service Libro.fm contacted me (have a look, they have some great offers, especially if you already review audiobooks on your blog; and you can support your independent bookseller too), and when I saw they had a new release by Cara Black, I thought it would be a good way of testing their service. But Three Hours in Paris went far beyond my expectations.
I had already read or listened to six books by Cara Black. I have enjoyed her mystery series, with each book set in a different Paris neighborhood. The last one I reviewed here, actually the prequel to the whole series, Murder on the Quai, was very enjoyable.
So I was expecting another book in the same series, and didn’t even look at the synopsis. You can guess my surprise, when I realized this was actually a historical spy novel. I was a bit reticent at first, when I discovered it was set during WWII, a period I tend to avoid now, after having read so many about this time, and having extensively studied it at school.
But my hesitation quickly vanished, thanks to the great plot and the wonderful voice of the narrator, Elisabeth Rodgers, who is pitch-perfect for the heroine, gutsy yet full of fear and incertitude:
Kate Rees practically saw under her own eyes her husband and young child die because of the German bombings in London. Working for the British Intelligence sounds like a perfect plan for her revenge, especially when she is sent on a mission to Paris to assassinate Hitler. She was chosen as she’s an expert marks-woman, thanks to her growing up on a farm in Oregon.
The problem is, her training is really basic, and as things don’t get as planned, they hardly ever do, she has to improvise, and survive with people she is not even sure she can trust. Not mentioning the Nazis who are trying all they can to catch her! Plus deal with the possibility that there might have been much more going on in her assignment than she was told.
I thought the plot was a great idea. Indeed, even though Paris was occupied by the Nazis, we know that Hitler visited only once in June 1940, and that he left quickly after just a few hours. Historians don’t know yet why. Plus, two of the men accompanying him recorded a different date for this visit! Why? So Cara Black’s story fit perfectly as a way of filling the gaps.
She made it even more complex with the element going on under Kate’s official assignment, also related to another obscure page of WWII history.
I also really enjoyed all the small details about life in Paris at the time; and about what was pertaining to the British Intelligence and the numerous agents they trained to send to France against the Nazis.
There was a fascinating glimpse on the jealousy and power play at stake among Nazi higher-ups. And obviously all the suspense scenes are superb!
And the ending was really neat as well.
After the story, we are told that Cara Black based her heroine on 2,000 Russian women trained as sharpshooters during WWII and deployed against the Nazis. Lyudmila Pavlichenko is the most famous of them, she even toured the US and met with Eleonor Roosevelt.
As I received the audiobok through Libro.fm, I want to tell you that I really enjoyed the app, very easy to use. Some users talked about some bugs, but I believe that was a while ago, looks like everything has been ironed out, and it really works very well on my phone. I will soon review another spectacular audiobook I listened through it as well.
VERDICT: Multi-layered fascinating historical spy thriller, enriched by Cara Black’s intimate knowledge of Paris!
HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
Any other great spy novel?
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In full compliance with FTC Guidelines, I received this audiobook free of charge for review. I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.