Monday, September 19, 2011

Review of Paris Noire by Francine Thomas Howard

Paris Noire
Francine Thomas Howard
361 pages
ISBN13: 9791935597971
It’s the summer of 1944 and Paris is coming out from her dark Nazi occupation into the glorious light of rebirth. The Brillard family has more to celebrate than most, they immigrated from Martinique years before, descendants of both white French and tribal African and have settled in Montartre an eclectic and forward thinking part of Paris, home to artisans from around the globe, even some Black Jazz musicians and singers from America looking for more equality than was offered at home.
The matriarch Marie-Therese’s first and most important role is that of seeing to her children’s welfare even though they are grown and in doing so may just miss her one and only chance at happiness for herself.
Collette is in love with her banker boyfriend and they want to marry but she knows that her mother will not be happy that the man she loves is true French.
Christophe meets the woman of his dreams as the city welcomes the American liberators. But happiness is fleeting at best and impossible at worst as this family goes through the highs and lows of love.
Francine Thomas Howard brings this multi ethnic and cultural novel to life in a very personal way as she fictionalizes the story of one of her own Grandmother’s in Paris Noire and does so in a way that brings a taste of realism to the tale as we follow the suffering and the blessings of this family. She does this with a dialogue of broken English that let’s us not only understand the crisis and prejudice but feel it in the tone of her narrative while at the same time giving it a definite French flavor. Her characters will run the full spectrum from the Free French freedom fighters, to the American GI’s, to the ordinary everyday citizens of Paris. Her main characters are constantly pulling our heartstrings because we want the best but know in our heart of hearts that it’s not always possible. She uses realistic scenes of violence, lust and love so her readers have a bird’s eye view of the happenings.

This is a very different look at WWII and the people who fought and lived through that time. It’s also a wake up call that diversity is as natural as a turning leaf in fall and should be celebrated for the immense cultural medley it brings. So if you like your novels based on fact, if you like WWII novels, novels with ethnic tastes and characters or if you’re just looking for a great read to take you to a different place. This is your next must read.
Ms, Howard thank you for the first class passage to France and for the adventure once I got there, I’m looking forward to another adventure with you soon.
Buy the book here, visit the author’s site here.


  1. Can't wait to Read "Paris Noire"..Will be there in Feb.Thanks Debbie...A Favorite Time Frame for me..For so Many reasons...

  2. Susan, great!!!!!!!!! I'm looking forward to it.