Wednesday, July 12, 2017

THE RACE FOR PARIS by Meg Waite Clayton

The race in question is the race to report the liberation of Paris at the end of WWII.  Jane, the narrator, writes for the Nashville Banner, and Liv is a talented Associated Press photographer.  Female journalists were generally forbidden from war zones at that time, but Liv is determined to capture shots from the front.  She persuades Jane to join her on this dangerous gambit, and Fletcher, a British military photographer and friend of Liv’s husband, takes them under his wing.  Unfortunately, his protection has its limits, and the girls find themselves in trenches and dodging bullets, while existing on K-rations and chocolate.  Although this sounds like a treacherous adventure, the action does not exactly leap off the page, and neither do the characters.  Liv is an intrepid risk-taker, haunted by rumors of her husband’s infidelity back in the States.  Jane has a thing for Fletcher, but he has eyes only for Liv.  Jane struggles with jealousy but never divulges enough of herself to show us someone for whom Fletcher could forsake Liv or his absent fiancée.  Jane also has a bit of a chip on her shoulder, because she’s never known her father and her mother is a maid.  She should stand even taller than her affluent comrades, given how far she’s come, but instead she seems to defer to Liv on almost every decision about their journey.  She becomes both Liv’s and Fletcher’s confidante while subordinating her own preferences.  Jane respects and admires Liv and Fletcher, but I never had the sense that they reciprocated.

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