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TLC Review: The Paris Agent by Kelly Rimmer

Title: The Paris Agent

Author: Kelly Rimmer
Year published: 2023
Category: Adult fiction (historical)
Pages: 368 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)UK, France, Germany

SummaryFor fans of fast-paced historical thrillers like Our Woman in Moscow and The Rose Code, Kelly Rimmer’s dramatic new novel follows two female SOE operatives whose lives will be determined by a double agent in their midst. 

Twenty-five years after the end of the war, Noah Ainsworth is still preoccupied with those perilous, exhilarating years as a British SOE operative in France. A head injury sustained on his final operation has caused frustrating gaps in his memory—in particular about the agent who saved his life during that mission gone wrong, whose real name he never knew, nor whether she even survived the war.

Moved by her father’s frustration, Noah’s daughter Charlotte begins a search for answers that resurrects the stories of Chloe and Fleur, the code names for two otherwise ordinary women whose lives intersect in 1943 when they’re called up by the SOE for deployment in France. Taking enormous risks to support the allied troops with very little information or resources, the women have no idea they’re at the mercy of a double agent among them who's causing chaos within the French circuits, whose efforts will affect the outcome of their lives…and the war.

But as Charlotte’s search for answers bears fruit, overlooked clues come to light about the identity of the double agent—with unsettling hints pointing close to home—and more shocking events are unearthed from the dangerous, dramatic last days of the war that lead to Chloe and Fleur’s eventual fates.

Review: You know I love a good historical fiction and it's been a while since I've read a novel about the World War II era so this was a good read for me. At first I thought I wasn't going to get into it as I had a difficult time remembering which real character name matched which character code name as they use them interchangeably, but I ended up devouring this book in just a couple days.

I liked that there are two women spies/agents who tell their stories in alternating chapters so that we hear how things played out as we build up to the events of the Prologue. Along with their chapters are the ones narrated by the daughter of a male spy/agent in the early 1970s so that gives us perspective, follow up, and even more connection. Well done.

I liked the characters from the start and was easily caught up in their escapades, relationships, and efforts to thwart the Nazis. There were historical events and ideas that I hadn't read about before, which is always a plus from a WWII novel since so much has been done on it. And, of course, I love that the After Word tells which parts are real (always a shock). Those agents really were so very tough and impressive.

Challenges for which this counts:
  • Popsugar--published in the second half of 2023

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