Winter in Wartime Paris
Bonjour! We may not be able to travel to France this year, but we’d like to invite you to journey across France with us through our World War II novels. I’m teaming up with Melanie Dobson and Liz Tolsma (two of my favorite authors!) for the Winter in France Giveaway from January 22-29, 2022!
We’re kicking off today, January 22, with a Facebook Live event on Liz Tolsma’s page at 10 am PST/1 pm EST. We’ll share some of our stories behind our books and answer questions. The video will be available for viewing afterward.
During the week of January 22-29, readers can take a tour of our blogs about France (see my article below!).
Here’s more about our books:
A Photojournalist Risks Her Life to Save a Very Special Child
Journalist Nellie Wilkerson has spent the bulk of the war in London, photographing mothers standing in milk lines—and she’s bored. She jumps at the chance to go to France, where the Allied forces recently landed. There she enlists Jean-Paul Breslau of the French underground to take her to the frontlines. On the journey, they stumble upon a great tragedy, leaving a girl with special needs being orphaned.
Can Nellie and Jean-Paul see the child to a safe haven while being pursued by the Nazis, who are pressed by the advancing Allies and determined to destroy all they can before they flee?
In this gripping WWII time-slip novel from the author whose books have been called “propulsive” and a “must-read” (Publishers Weekly), Grace Tonquin is an American Quaker who works tirelessly in Vichy France to rescue Jewish children from the Nazis. After crossing the treacherous Pyrénées, Grace returns home to Oregon with a brother and sister whose parents were lost during the war. Though Grace and her husband love Élias and Marguerite as their own, echoes of Grace’s past and trauma from the Holocaust tear the Tonquin family apart.
More than 50 years after they disappear, Addie Hoult arrives at Tonquin Lake, hoping to find the Tonquin family. For Addie, the mystery is a matter of life and death for her beloved mentor Charlie, who is battling a genetic disease. Though Charlie refuses to discuss his ties to the elusive Tonquins, finding them is the only way to save his life and mend the wounds from his broken past.
As the Nazis march toward Paris in 1940, American ballerina Lucie Girard buys her favorite English-language bookstore to allow the Jewish owners to escape. Lucie struggles to run Green Leaf Books due to oppressive German laws and harsh conditions, but she finds a way to aid the resistance by passing secret messages between the pages of her books.
Widower Paul Aubrey wants nothing more than to return to the States with his little girl, but the US Army convinces him to keep his factory running and obtain military information from his German customers. As the war rages on, Paul offers his own resistance by sabotaging his product and hiding British airmen in his factory. After they meet in the bookstore, Paul and Lucie are drawn to each other, but she rejects him when she discovers he sells to the Germans. And for Paul to win her trust would mean betraying his mission.
Winter in Wartime Paris
The City of Lights is renowned for its beauty and charm, and for food, fashion, and art. During World War II, Nazi-occupied Paris was blacked out, food was scarce and rationed, and fashions were altered. When I was researching wartime Paris for Until Leaves Fall in Paris, I was struck by the difficult conditions people endured – but also how they followed “Système D” – système de débrouillage – the system of getting by. Parisians found ways to bring color into their darkened world – and even thumb their noses at the German occupiers.
Food and Rationing
What would Paris be without fine food? Even before the German invasion, the French government instituted food rationing. After the Germans occupied Paris, rationing intensified. Most staples were rationed – meat and fish, milk and cheese, eggs, coffee, sugar, butter and oils, bread, and wine. To obtain your ration meant standing in long lines at the bakery, the butcher, the creamery, the greengrocer – and more. If the store actually had foods in stock.
Ration coupons were issued according to age, with extra rations for those in agricultural work or manual labor. Still, the average adult received rations providing only 1200 calories per day. The average Parisian lost 4-8 kg during the war, and malnutrition and anemia were rampant.
To get by, Parisians visited the country, where food was less scarce, or they bought on the black market. For the wealthy, eating at pricey restaurants provided an escape. Ersatz coffee made from barley or chicory provided an imperfect alternative.
Winter in Paris during World War II was cold. The winter of 1940-41 was one of the coldest on record in France, and snow fell in Paris in December 1941, leading to sledding down hills.
French citizens received little to no coal or heating oil. The supply of electricity was erratic, and cooking gas was often provided only during meal preparation times. Families often slept in the kitchen for warmth and kept overcoats on inside.
Most tourists to Paris love to visit the Arc de Triomphe and watch the cars and taxis hurtling around the roundabout with much honking of horns. During the war, the streets of Paris were all but silent.
Late-model automobiles were requisitioned, and driving permits were issued only to Germans, French physicians, midwives, firemen – and some influential collaborators (called collabos by the French).
Most people got around by foot or bicycle. The Métro ran, but stops were often closed, and sometimes the system shut down due to lack of electricity, especially later in the war. Bicycle-driven vélo-taxis and horse-drawn carriages helped people get around.
The fashion houses of Paris continued to produce beautiful couture garments – many of which were sent to Germany.
But the average Parisienne had to get by. Wool, silk, and leather were all shipped to Germany, so most garments were made of rayon or fibranne – or made from old garments or blankets. Since leather shoes weren’t available, women wore platform shoes with thick soles of wood or cork, which wore down over time.
Fashion was one way the women of Paris thumbed their noses at the Germans. Hats and turbans in vibrant shades and outrageous styles allowed women to show their individual style. Although trousers were outlawed in France, women wore them anyway or chose culottes that looked like skirts. Women wore their skirts shorter and fuller than in other areas of the world, partly to help in riding their bicycles – and partly to scandalize the Germans.
Despite these everyday difficulties – and the far greater difficulties of living under the terror of Nazi occupation – the average Frenchman and Frenchwoman got by. They made do in horrific circumstances. While the City of Lights was dimmed, it never lost its charm.
Thanks so much for the chance to win in your giveaway. I love your books Sarah and can’t wait to read your new one!
WOW such a lovely giveaway! And important things from history. Scary though how these days are starting to look like those days are starting all over again. I believe that WWII was a warning and preview if what the Tribulation will be like.
Thank you for this giveaway!
This is so fun and interesting! My paternal grandmother came to Ellis Island from Calais, France.
The historical aspects of your post are enjoyable to learn…
Thank you, Cindi
What wonderful book covers! Congrats to all.
I have preordered your next book.Eagerly awaiting it.
Wow, great information! I preordered your book. Can’t wait to read it.
These books look great! Can’t wait to delve in.
Ms. Sundin, Your books are incredible! I have enjoyed every single one. I read Until Leaves Fall in Paris on NetGalley and it was amazing. I ordered a copy so that I can have it on my shelf! I am a history major and WWII is my specialization. You write with such depth and detail. Thank you for sharing your writing talent with all of us!
I’m very much looking forward to reading this latest book. I visited Paris on a missions trip once. We didn’t get much time to sightsee but I loved seeing the history of it everywhere we went.
I love your books! Since my dad was a part of Patton’s army and helped to liberate Germany, your stories have helped me to understand him better and a part of his life he would not share with us.
This is such a fantastic collaboration. I love all the historical knowledge shared both in the photos and in the stories created. There is so much rich history to be gleaned and I love how you have brought it to life.
Really interesting post! Thanks for sharing it! 🙂 I always enjoy your writing and love your books. Both of my grandfathers served in WWII, one was stationed in the Pacific and and the other in Alaska, so learning about life in that era is enjoyable to me. 🙂
I watched the replay as I couldn’t find the correct Facebook page. So happy I finally found it. I love WWII novels.
My question in response to the request in order to enter the give away is: what is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a pantser? Thank you.
I have read all three books through Net Galley. Everyone is excellent and sheds light on different aspects of WWII.
Small instances of resistance in the wearing of various fashions – good for them! I found in my father’s paperwork, when he passed away, an old WWII ration book that was my then elderly G-Grandmother’s, a fascinating genealogical “find”. Of course, that was here in the States, so it was nothing compared to those in the line of fire or occupation.
I can’t wait to go back to Paris someday!
These books all sound interesting.
Great details! Yes, the French were used to provide luxuries for the Germans. And I’ve read about the fuller skirts and the outrageous hairstyles. French women grew their hair long on purpose. The bigger hair, the better! (Like the ’80s, :)) Enter me in the giveaway, please
That’s fascinating! I imagine that was such a difficult time, but it’s nice to see they still found ways to make the best of it.
Wow!! I love how all the world came together to fight evil!! And how even when they could’t fight much they still found ways to thumb their noses at the Germans!!!! Thanks for this very generous giveaway!!!
I like the chance to win the giveaway. I also like your last name since it’s the same as my maiden name.
I look forward to reading all three of these books based on true events. Thanks for the chance of winning a copy of our own!
I am beyond excited to read your newest book!!! I have loved all of your books and especially the audio versions!!! This is an incredible giveaway! Cheers to you!
All 3 books look amazing! I can’t wait to read them! I’ve already preordered yours, of course, but I’m excited to discover two new authors!
Sarah, You’re one of my favorite authors! I’m looking forward to reading Until Leaves Fall in Paris.
All three of these books are ones I would enjoy reading. I really appreciate all the research necessary to bring us historically accurate novels. Thanks also for this wonderful giveaway.
I love your books. Thank you for sharing a little about the French during WWII.
What a wonderful giveaway of some fabulous books! Would love to win!! Thank you fir offering this giveaway!!
Thanks for the giveaway!! Love your posts!
Excellent background research, as usual, Sarah! Each year I eagerly anticipate your new release because I know it is going to be spectacular! Thank you for participating in this collaboration and the video this morning.
Thank you for this giveaway. I love your books and look forward to reading When leaves fall in Paris. I also love your posts.
I love learning about World War II. For a little while, I contacted Pearl Harbor survivors and received letters and autographs from them. I also recently talked to a veteran who occupied Germany for a year towards the end of the war and was about to transport to Japan for another attack when the atomic bomb was then dropped.
I also love France! I have pre-ordered Until Leaves Fall in Paris and look forward to receiving it! 🙂
WWII history is so fascinating. It was incredible to hear Isabelle’s stories on the video!
Looking forward to reading these books.
Very interesting information about how life in Paris changed. It’s interesting how the Parisians found ways to snub the Germans. Thank you for doing the giveaway.
I can’t thank you enough for the hours of enjoyment you give me.
Jane R Dodson
I love all the information about France and looking forward to reading each of theses books!
Looking forward to your next book!! Love all of your books!!
I love historical fiction and these books all sound exciting and interesting!
What a wonderful opportunity to read more WWII books by an outstanding author!
Thanks for introducing me to some new authors. All of these books look amazing. I love learning something new each time I read. I can’t imagine what it would actually have been like to experience wartime Paris. Just to read that the streets were silent is haunting.
It always amazes me to read about WWII history. Your writing, and books are some of my favorite, and I look forward to reading “Until Leaves Fall in Paris”. 😊 Thank you for sharing your gift of storytelling to all of us!
World War II, Paris, and a bookshop: I cannot imagine a better recipe for the perfect read! I cannot wait to read “Until Leaves Fall in Paris!” Thank you, Sarah, for stewarding your storytelling as a gift to the world!
Love historical fiction! Thanks.
I love reading WW11 history .Your books are always good reading-thank you!
It’s hard to imagine living in a place that has been taken over by another government. The people who lived through it were very brave and I feel for them. I pray I never have to go through anything like that.
Historical fiction is my favorite genre. Your books make history come alive and personal. I appreciate all of the research you put into your writing and how you insert little tidbits you learn as you research into your books.
I enjoy reading about WWII, you gave some interesting facts. I like how the women thumbed their noses at the Germans in their fashion
Thank you for your history lessons. We forget how hard life was for those in Europe during WWII. I enjoy al your books. Thanks for the glimpse into people’s lives.
Wonderful covers! I recently found how much I love this period in history and I can’t get enough. Thanks so much for the chance!
Such interesting glimpses into wartime Paris!! Thank you for all the research you do that makes your books so wonderful!! I can’t wait to read WHEN LEAVES FALL IN PARIS!!
Having been to Paris multiple times, I’m so excited about these books!!
I enjoyed this and all of your daily WWII emails… thank you for having this giveaway!
I love the history lessons in the blog posts! I have been fortunate in that I have been to France, such history! Can’t wait for the book!
This awesome, thankyou so much for the chance to enter this giveaway!
I am so excited to get to read all of these books after I return to the States this summer from my study abroad and my trip to Paris. I’ve been waiting for this new book forever and cannot wait to read it again and again as I do with all of Sarah’s books.
Thank you for the post. Love to read about the strength people exhibit when trying to save the lives of others.
I appreciate the information provided about France in WW II during the German occupation..
I cannot wait to read this book!!
Such interesting information! I’d definitely have a hard time with the food rationing. 😀
I enjoyed reading this and can’t even imagine how cold the winter in Paris was during World War II! Not only that, but their lack of resources for heat. Makes me feel very appreciative of the things we have now that we take for granted!
Looking forward to your new book, Sarah!
I am repeatedly amazed at the tenacity and creativity of the people in war-torn Europe. We’ve seen movies about an invasion & occupation–but the unrelenting impact on daily life is astounding. Food & energy shortages sound so hard to endure–but many did AND fought in ways to hinder the enemy and help innocents. Thanks for this peek into their life, Sarah. And for this launch event & giveaway. Each books sounds so intriguing.
I was born in the fifties so people were still recovering from WWII. Everyone had a father, uncle, cousin, neighbor or someone else they knew who had fought in the war. It’s interesting to read books that help put their experiences in perspective.
Thank you so much for all that information about wartime France – so fascinating! Oh, and am so pleased that you, Liz and Melanie have these totally amazing historical novels out for readers – looking forward to these intriguing treats! I think I’m going to be dropping not very subtle hints to my teenagers to buy them for my birthday at the start of March…if I can wait that long!! And maybe introduce them to your great writing too! Merci beaucoup!
Wow! Can’t wait to read!! Thank you for a chance to win!!
I am so excited about these books! Thank you for sharing your stories with us.
Wow , the book covers are beautiful and the books sound very intriguing! Thank you so much for sharing about your books and thank you for the chance. Congratulations to you all.
Enjoyed the lively conversation with Sarah and Melanie on Saturday – what a thoughtful way to promote all your WWII novels set in France! Looking forward to reading each of them!
Enjoyed the lively Saturday conversation with Melanie and Liz – great idea! I’m waiting for “Until Leaves Fall in Paris” to arrive! Enjoy your novels so much.
Fascinating and captivating history which is meaningful. The books look memorable and are treasures to be enjoyed and cherished. Thanks for your lovely giveaway.
Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful collection with us. I’ve learned more from great historical fiction writers than I ever did in history class…y’all truly bring history to life. Looking to forward to read these soon!! 🥰📚
As a bookaholic, this sounds interesting. Thanks for this giveaway.
I have read other books and find what you share to be what they said also. May we never be in such straights here in America.
But it was difficult here in WWII also.
We have so much to be thankful for!
“Women wore their skirts shorter … partly to scandalize the Germans.” Way to go, ladies! Sticking it to the man!
Can’t wait to Read Until Leaves Fall in Paris!
It’s hard for those of us who did not grow up during the war to imagine what life must have been like back then. I’m glad we have these fantastic authors with a love of history and research to take us back to the era and help us learn more about history.
Thanks so much for sharing and participating in this giveaway! I love historical fiction and all the incredible events to be learned in it.
Love all the real info you put into your books. They’re fun to read but quite informative.
Thank you so much for sharing your history research! From a young age I’ve been fascinated with the many events of WWII and love hearing the heroic stories. I was deeply touched by the guest speaker you had on FB Live on the 22nd, so I hope she knows that her stories and gratitude were unexpected but very powerful. Thank you again!
Thank you for hosting this giveaway
I can’t wait to read all of these!
While I haven’t had a chance to read any of your books yet, this one looks & sounds AMAZING!! Since I have a rather large TBR pile, I’ll have to add this to my Amazon wish list & maybe, I’ll get it for my birthday next month.
I really enjoyed the FB Live, looking forward to the next one! Also looking forward to reading all three books! Thank you!
Thank you for your well prepared presentation last Saturday. The research for all three of these historical novels must have been so interesting yet heartbreaking at times as well. I will look forward to future works.
Because of this contest, I will be reading and learning about a part of history of which I am woefully ignorant. Thank you!
What an education you have given us regarding Paris and its residents during World War II. We think we have it hard in the 21st century. However, those living during under German occupation suffered greatly. We have nothing to complain about when thinking of the struggles they faced just to survive, while at the same time protesting the occupation in their own way. Thank you.
These stories sound great!
My great aunt left me a tin box with letters, family history and small keepsakes. I also found their WWII food ration coupons. They are amount my most treasured items from her.
So much interesting information!
I admire the resilience of the French during World War II. I especially love that the fashion houses of Paris continued to produce beautiful couture garments during a devastating time. I look forward to reading your novels!
How easily we take for granted (and waste) the things that were scarce for them!
I love your books Sarah and can’t wait to read your new one!
Thanks so much for the chance to win in your giveaway.
What an interesting look at Parisian life during WWII and how one city responded to German occupation.
I am adding these to my TBR pile.
Love the books.