The French Photographer by Natasha Lester

Here is what the QBD crew thought…

Full of feisty heroines, The French Photographer is a sumptuous feast of a book. Based on the true story of female war correspondent Lee Miller, Lester’s latest novel follows Jessica May, a Vogue model turned war journalist as she risks life and reputation to capture photographs of Europe in the grip of World War II. Using all her wit and charm to get as close to the front line as she can, Jessica finds herself attached to an airborne division under the command of the very dashing Dan Hallworth. The war is ugly and dangerous, and Jessica is determined to capture as much as she can to show the readers of Vogue what is really happening in the trenches, but can she keep herself safe at the same time?

It’s also the story of D’Arcy, an art handler with a mysterious family history and a penchant for war documentary. She jumps at the chance to view the archive of the mysterious Photographer who is putting together a show for the Art Gallery of NSW and quickly realises she’s looking at the work of the enigmatic Jessica May, who disappeared soon after the end of the war. D’Arcy and Jessica unearth some family ghosts that have D’Arcy asking some very hard questions.

With romance, gunfire, fine art and strong female characters who don’t take no for an answer, Lester’s new book is a masterpiece. Look out for cameos by several famous and fierce women, and cheer along as Jessica and D’Arcy refuse to let their gender dictate what they can or can’t do. Lester doesn’t shy away from writing about the ugliest parts of war and of human nature and the story is definitely tear-jerking in parts, but the strength and compassion Lester lends to her female characters shines throughout. One not to miss.

– Shannon, QBD Mandurah WA

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