21 April 2014

Last Train To Paris by Michele Zackheim, Book review

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions (January 7, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609451790
  • Also available in KINDLE format


1935.  Rose Manon, an American daughter of the mountains of Nevada, working as a journalist in New York, is awarded her dream job, foreign correspondent.  Posted to Paris, she is soon entangled in romance, an unsolved murder, and the desperation of a looming war.  

Assigned to the Berlin desk, Manon is forced to grapple with her hidden identity as a Jew, the mistrust of her lover, and an unwelcome visitor on the eve of Kristallnacht.  And . . . on the day before World War II is declared, she must choose who will join her on the last train to Paris.

This is a carefully researched historical novel that reads like a suspense thriller.  Colette and Janet Flanner are only two of the well-known figures woven into the story. The parts they play will surprise readers.

My thoughts:

Originally a muralist, Michele Zackheim unveils in Last Train to Paris frame by frame inherent memories of a distant past for one outspoken American journalist, now an octogenarian.

In the second half of the nineteen thirties, R. B. Manon was determined to report the impetus leading to an all out war throughout Europe. 
Known by her colleagues as a free spirit at a time when female reporters were a rarity, particularly as foreign correspondents, she wore trousers, smoked, and drank with the best of them. Her raw reporting was always informative if somewhat abrasive but eventually gained her the respect of the newspapers world. 
While based overseas, she builds a new life for herself, away from a heartless mother, forging strong friendships yet missing the clean air of Nevada.

Half Jewish, R.B. believes herself to be different from other Jews but times are fast becoming dangerous for any but Aryans. Her assignments takes her back and forth between Paris and Berlin and she witnesses firsthand Kristallnacht . Determined that the world knows the truth, she writes her column with a stark eloquence, often dismissing prudence, all the while earning recognition both on the continent and the US. 
In Berlin she meets handsome but troubled Leo, a Jewish engraver working for the Nazis and thus commence a bittersweet love story as Leo recognizes R.B. naivety.

Decades later, a trunk arrives at R.B.'s home located on the East coast containing Pre-war notes and newspapers clippings. 87 year old Rosie known to all as R.B. mentally chronicles the events leading to angst, and heartbreak as she left Berlin for the very last time, recalling her life with only a handful of regrets.

The richness of the story can only be experienced through the expert eyes of this talented writer, with its unusual descriptive form. Michele Zackheim blends a single event uncovered in her family's history and leads us to follow a murder and the perpetrator's ensuing trial, eclipsed only by the winds of war as her fictional heroine R.B. chases the next headline! 

A multi layered woman is revealed in Last Train To Paris, her life stamped by world events and the unforgettable people she met and loved along the way. 

5 stars!

About the Author:


Michele Zackheim worked as a visual artist before turning to writing. She has shown in numerous museums and galleries. She is also the author of Einstein’s Daughter, nonfiction, and Violette’s Embrace. 
Visit her website (HERE)

Also check out an interview with Michele Zackheim (Here) for more on this author!

Note: This was a library loan and reflects only my opinion!


  1. 5 Stars...that sounds like a winner my friend! I'll put it on my book list! Enjoy your week! Hope you have some nice Spring weather! Hugs, Diane

    1. Very enjoyable because of its unique format! A skilled writer and happy I had the opportunity to read her novel!
      And yes, it is sunny for the moment albeit they are predicting 6 days of rain after this!
      All the best,

  2. The name gets me in I like stories about travelling on trains and I'm rather fond of Paris.

    1. I can see your point Merle but I am rather glad you and I do not find ourselves in the same circumstances (God willing!).
      Hugs to Angus,

  3. I have added this title to my reading list. It may be a good one for my book club. Thanks for the review.

    1. You are welcome! I hope you will share later on what you liked about it.


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