Holly‘s review of The Ambassador’s Daughter by Pam Jenoff
Paris, 1919.The world’s leaders have gathered to rebuild from the ashes of the Great War. But for one woman, the City of Light harbors dark secrets and dangerous liaisons, for which many could pay dearly.
Brought to the peace conference by her father, a German diplomat, Margot Rosenthal initially resents being trapped in the congested French capital, where she is still looked upon as the enemy. But as she contemplates returning to Berlin and a life with Stefan, the wounded fiancé she hardly knows anymore, she decides that being in Paris is not so bad after all.
Bored and torn between duty and the desire to be free, Margot strikes up unlikely alliances: with Krysia, an accomplished musician with radical acquaintances and a secret to protect; and with Georg, the handsome, damaged naval officer who gives Margot a job—and also a reason to question everything she thought she knew about where her true loyalties should lie.
Against the backdrop of one of the most significant events of the century, a delicate web of lies obscures the line between the casualties of war and of the heart, making trust a luxury that no one can afford.
This is a time period I’d like to see more of in historical romance. I love that publishers are thinking outside the box and we’re getting more than just Regency and Victorian fare.
While I found the politics and setting interesting I do think the first person point of view limited the scope of the story. As the story wore on I became more vested in the political schemes, but much of the novel is focused on Margot and her emotions, so outside concerns took a back seat.
I really struggled with Margot. She was young and naive, and often silly. She had a hard time accepting responsibility for her actions. Her wishy-washy attitude and almost child-like naivete made her hard to relate to. That a young girl would be conflicted about her feelings toward a fiance she barely knows isn’t surprising But her refusal to make a decision or accept her fate became frustrating.
I also had a hard time accepting Margot and Georg’s relationship. Because she read as such a young twenty, I couldn’t understand what a hard-edged man like Georg saw in her. I had no trouble understanding his appeal to her, but it wasn’t as easy to see why he wanted her.
The cast of secondary characters did give the story added flavor. I enjoyed the setting and the complexities of the plot that developed later on.
Despite that I found this hard to put down. Jenoff’s writing is beautiful. This is the first novel I’ve read by her. Though I didn’t enjoy the main character, I did enjoy the writing enough that I’ll be looking to read more from her in the future.
3 out of 5
This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here or here in e-format. The Kindle version is only $3.99!!
This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.
They are mystery and not romance, but I’ve really been enjoying Charles Todd’s Bess Crawford series, which is set during The Great War.
Bess is a nursing sister, so we get a good look at the life for women at that time, and a good look at The Great War, and how different it was from anything before or since.
I completely agree that we should have move books set in this time period! There are actually more young adult books that I can think of than adult. Did you ever read Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Green? Its set during the war in middle America. It was one of my favorite books growing up. 🙂
I bought the first Bess Crawford book. Thanks for the rec!
I don’t recall. I’ll look it up and see.