The Acts of Friendship.

Book Review for “Goodnight from Paris” by Jane Healey.

Summary: Paris, 1939. Hollywood actress Drue Leyton, married to Frenchman Jacques Tartière, lives as an expatriate in love. But when her husband is dispatched to Brittany to work as a liaison for the British military, Drue finds herself alone with her housekeeper, adrift and heartsick in her adopted city. With her career and fame forty-five hundred miles away, Drue accepts an opportunity that will change her life forever. Befriended by seasoned wartime journalist Dorothy Thompson and urged on by political operative Jean Fraysse, Drue broadcasts radio programs to the United States. Her duty: shake America from its apathy and, as Nazis encroach and France is occupied, push for resistance and help from the US. As Drue and Jean fall under suspicion, Hitler sends his own message: when Drue’s adopted country is conquered, she will be executed. In a Paris that is no longer safe, Drue’s political passion is ignited. She’s prepared to risk anything to fight the enemy no matter how dangerous it gets—for her, for everyone she loves, and for everything she’s fighting for.”

Age: Adult; Genres: Literary, Fiction; Settings: Era/s: Historical; Location/s: France – Paris and Barbizon; Other Categories: Novel, Biographical, Women, WWII.

Goodnight from Paris

Yes, this is another WWII story, and another one about a real woman being heroic, so my regular readers already know that this is going to be a winner for me because it is women’s, biographical, historical fiction. Since I’d already read a couple of Healey’s novels (Beantown Girls and The Secret Stealers), and enjoyed them so much that I had her do a Countdown Questions for my blog! Obviously, all this made this a “must read” for me, and I’m so glad that I got the ARC.

Now, let’s be specific here. As I was reading this, I knew that it would get at least four stars. Somewhere in the middle of my reading, I had upped it to 4.5 stars. But it wasn’t until the very end that realized I had to push this up to five stars. So, first of all, Congratulations to Ms. Healey for my first 5/5-star review of 2023! Secondly, you have to give kudos to Healey for so subtly inserting these characters into the hearts of her readers. I mean, I really didn’t see it coming – I was practically sure that I’d finish this book without sheading a tear, but no! with the ending of this book, Healey had bought me hook, line, and sinker and there I was blubbering like a baby, starting with the last paragraphs, and into the authors notes and acknowledgements!

Now, you should know that Healey’s prose isn’t highly poetic, and in fact, is pretty straight forward. But Healey really knows how to make her characters sympathetic to her readers, even when we aren’t realizing that we’re falling for them. This is true even when, on the surface, they might be less than totally loveable. Here we have a woman – privileged in every way, shape, and form – and yet she shows her devotion and caring at every step of the way. She gives up a budding Hollywood career to marry the man she loves and move half-way across the world to be with him. She refuses to move back to the US when the war begins, and thereby gets embroiled into much more than she ever bargained for. Mind you, she does get imprisoned, but as Healey points out, she ended up in a “model” camp and so her suffering wasn’t anywhere near as harsh as what Jews and other enemies of the Nazis had to endure. Even so, she had the chance to get out, and decided to stay and fight. That’s moxie for you, and you have to admire that in anyone.

Most importantly, what you’ll get here is a new angle of things that happened during WWII in France, and how people worked to help one another – as well as how terrorized the population was by both the occupying Nazis and their collaborators. I know that we already have read dozens of books about the resistance, but sometimes the heroism isn’t about blowing things up, spreading anti-Nazi propaganda, or sabotaging the oppressors. In this case, it is about helping people stay alive, be it by distributing food that everyday people from the rural areas shared with their urban counterparts, and hiding downed allied air force soldiers until they could either escape to safety, or ultimately be rescued. These were the things that the real Drue did, and I’m glad that Healey brought her story to light. As noted above, she did make me cry, so I’m wholeheartedly recommending this novel with a full 5/5 stars!


fc16c-netgalleytinyLake Union Publishing released “Goodnight from Paris” by Jane Healey on March 7, 2023. This book is available (via the following affiliate links) from Amazon, Blackwell‘s, The Book Depository UK and Book Depository US (both with free worldwide delivery), WHSmith, Wordery UK and Wordery US, the website,, iTunes (iBooks and audiobooks), new or used from Alibris, and Better World Books (promoting libraries and world literary), as well as from as well as from and UK.Bookshop (to support independent bookshops, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic) or an IndieBound store near you. I would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this novel via NetGalley.

This novel qualifies for the following reading challenges: New Release Challenge (#7), Historical Fiction Reading Challenge (#5).

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