The Paris Model by Alexandra Joel: Your Preview Verdict

The Paris Model by Alexandra Joel: Your Preview Verdict

The Paris Model by Alexandra Joel was a hit with our Preview readers!

After a shocking discovery, Grace Woods leaves her vast Australian sheep station and travels to tumultuous post-war Paris in order to find her true identity. Our preview readers loved reading the descriptions and differences between Australia and Paris, and loved immersing themselves in this rich part of history!

Read some highlights here:

What can I say, I absolutely loved The Paris Model. Shrouded in mystery, you are thrown into Grace Wood’s life in outback Australia, only to be transported to the height of fashion in post-war Paris. The juxtaposition of her life and the people she meets keeps you reading until the very end. Inspired by a true story, Alexandra Joel’s book is both romantic without sugar coating the realities of life for that period. Secrets, overseas adventures and family make The Paris Model a book that is hard to put down. – Wendy, VIC, 5 stars

Oh wow loved this book my kind of story. Had to read the whole way through found hard to put down. I loved all the characters but liked the main one most. Grace the main character was so strong willed and knew what she wanted and dreamed for and went for it no matter what. I love how her life turned out made me so happy it was a lovely ending and yes I know it was based on actual people. I can’t wait to read again. 😉 – Beth, TAS, 5 stars

Wow! What a book! I love historical fiction and this was like none that I’ve read before. The unique settings of Australian farm land contrasted beautifully to the high fashion world of Paris with a story to match. It started as a simply lovely read, which I was thoroughly enjoying then took a very unexpected and exciting turn. This story had so many layers that were pieced together with the precision of a master story teller. The attention to detail was outstanding with such an insightful view into the world of fashion and french culture. There was so much packed into this novel and it was such a pleasure to unpack it all as I turned the pages. A simply stunning read. – Belinda, VIC, 5 stars

The Paris Model I love reading historical fiction and this book was sooo good I could not put it down. The fact that is was inspired by actual events and people made it even more readable. It is set just before World War II in country Australia and provides an enlightening insight into the issues women faced running farms while the men were at war. It also touches on the effects the war had on men returning to life on the farm. Grace marries her childhood sweetheart but he is not the same man when he returns home from war service. A family secret unravels which makes Grace flee Australia to Paris. The story shows how Grace transforms herself from an Australian country girl to become a high fashion Christian Dior model in Paris. Post war Paris sees Grace become involved in local politics through her lover and this is where the story becomes really dramatic. The setting, the fashion, the politics and the celebrities make for a great read. Thank you to Better Reading Review and Harper Collins for the opportunity to review a preview copy of this book. – Karyn, ACT, 5 stars

Fans of historical romances, will enjoy this novel. Light and easy to read, Paris Model is the story of plucky Grace, who goes from sheep farm to the fashion capital of the world. Like Forrest Gump, she meets everyone who was anyone in post war Paris, finding love, danger and adventure along the way. I definitely enjoyed this more than I expected – Juanita, NSW, 5 stars

The Paris Model is a wonderfully written historical romance adventure, inspired by a true story. It has drama, excitement, love, secrets, loss and sacrifice. It’s also about finding out who you really are. It’s 1948, Grace Woods is living life on an Australian Sheep station in Brookfield and when an opportunity arises she finds herself travelling to post-war Paris to take on a position as a mannequin for Christian Dior and to also search for her uncle Siddy, missing presumed dead since the war but Grace believes in her heart he is still out there somewhere. The plot was fast paced filled with drama and mystery, I found it so intriguing, there were so many twists and turns, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough or put it down! The book was surprisingly more than I expected and a highly recommended read. – Gloria, SA, 5 stars

I recently won a copy of The Paris model by Alexandra Joel, #BRPreview and @HarperCollinsAustralia. It is a historical fiction based on true events which occurred after World War 1 when Grace Woods decides to leave all she’s ever known living and working on a big sheep station in Australia’s unforgiving outback when her romantic notions of married life fail to live up to her expectations and an opportunity presents itself to spread her wings and work as a mannequin model for Christian Dior. She finds she’s doing well and is offered an opportunity to take a leap of faith and try her hand in the big leagues in Paris itself. This gives her opportunities which are so glamorous and beyond anything she could have ever dreamed of. In the process she discovers strengths, courage and passions she didn’t believe she’d ever know and is involved **redacted due to potential spoilers**. It’s an absolute page turner from start to finish. It’s hard to imagine these things actually occurred. It proves the point truth is stranger than fiction. It’s my favourite read of 2019 and I’ve read some beauties this year. I strongly recommend this book to anyone as I believe everyone would enjoy it – Janet, NSW, 5 stars

What can I say. Just WOW!!!! This book was a page turner from start to finish. It tells the story of one very amazing and courageous woman. The trials and tribulations that she goes through and then how everything turns out shows us that as woman we can do anything we set our minds to. I recommend this is a must read for all. – Jodie, NSW, 5 stars

From the hot outback to haute couture, haute cuisine and high political intrigue. Alexandra Joel’s ‘The Paris Model’ is not just highly entertaining, it’s laden with articulate and evocative descriptions. It delves into the mysteries wrought by **redacted due to potential spoilers**. Raised on a sheep and wheat station Grace Woods is held back from boarding school by her mother in the hope of matchmaking her with childhood friend Jack Osbourne, son of the wealthiest grazier in the area. A French tutor is employed, instilling a passion for France and fashion and bestowing her charge with the French moniker Mlle Dubois. One of the first life lessons young Grace learnt from Mademoiselle Elise is the story of charred tarte tatin, that out out disaster something splendid can be produced. Family friend Siddy dotes on Grace and inspires an enthusiam for classical music. But when war breaks out both these men in her life enlist to serve King and country. Grace is envious of their escape to adventure however only one returns from the conflict, the other is missing in action. Offered the opportunity to become a Christian Dior mannequin in post-war Paris is a temptation too great to refuse. Unfortunately Grace’s passport application leads her to question **redacted due to potential spoilers**. Leaving Australia behind, her life in the city of light sparkles, rubbing elegant shoulders with notables such as Picasso, Jean-Paul Sartre and Edith Piaf. She has a friendship with Jacqueline Bouvier and canapes with Julia Child. Grace’s beauty is alluring but she steadfastly avoids romantic entanglements. A French Security Service agent uses his connections to attempt to discern the fate or whereabouts of Grace’s cherished MIA, **redacted due to potential spoilers**. The stakes are high politically but more so personally. Will the burnt apple pastry analogy serve it’s purpose? – Anita, QLD, 5 stars

This book has it all from espionage love and terrible family secrets Grace Woods travels from her home in our back australia to the glitz and glamor of Paris France becoming a mannequin for Christian Dior throughly enjoyed this book – Deborah, NSW, 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyed The Paris Model. This book takes you on a journey from outback Australia to the glamorous fashion world of Paris. You cannot help being swept up in the story of Grace and the fashion empire of Dior. It’s when Grace meets the handsome Philippe that her life starts to unravel. A beautiful novel for fans of historical fiction. – Kylie, NSW, 5 stars

What a beautiful story! I loved being transported to the streets of Paris. The descriptions created clear and vivid images in my mind. So well written. – Kay, QLD, 5 stars

I loved the book from the first page until the end, was disappointed when it finished.I did not pick the ending but happy with the ending. – Lynette, NSW, 5 stars

The Paris Model grabbed me, hauled me in and spat me out hours later, leaving me wanting more. The intriguing storyline coupled with Joel’s captivating characters and use of such richly descriptive text has resulted in a debut novel that is sure to be a best of for historical fiction in 2020. I would also not be surprised to see this adapted to the big screen in the near future. What a way to end my reading for the year, I would definitely class The Paris Model in my top 10 for 2019 and cannot wait to see what Alexandra Joel comes up with next. – Mel, NSW, 5 stars

&fell in love with her family secrets & emotions.Enjoyed the descriptions of Australian bush life & the fabulous life in Paris, I was truely living the experiences in the story. – Laraine, QLD, 5 stars

Wow! There are not enough superlatives to convey how much I loved reading this book. There were so many well-hidden twists and turns. It was the most enjoyable book I have read in a long time. I can highly recommend! – Amanda, QLD, 5 stars

The Paris Model is a gorgeous entwining of Grace Woods’ life in both outback Australia and life in Paris. Reading the blurb, it is hard to imagine an Australian sheep farmer modelling for Christian Dior in Post-war France. However, Alexandra Joel creates a beautiful read with unexpected plot twists making it difficult to put this historical fiction down. As Grace seeks to learn her identity, her courage and resilience has the reader willing her to triumph with each new challenge. Expect numerous late nights with this engaging read. The novel has a perfect mix of Australiana, France, drama, mystery and romance. As an avid reader of historical fiction, the ‘Author’s Note’ about Christian Dior’s sister and her internment in Ravensbruck concentration camp for resistance activities was a catalyst for intriguing research. I’m sure The Paris Model will be appreciated by readers on an international scale. – Jodie, NSW, 5 stars

What can I say – I just loved this book. While I have to admit to a slight bias, as I soon discovered that the early parts of the book were located in and around my childhood hometown of Parkes, I just couldn’t put it down. The book was beautifully written, the characters coming to life on the pages and the progression of the story kept you hooked right to the end. For her time, Grace is a very brave woman, uprooting herself from the isolation of a secluded upbringing in country NSW, followed by the impact of war on relationships – and finally taking herself off to Paris to search to live her dream as a Paris Model. While there were many twists and turns, her determination eventually leads her to achieve her dream, and later to achieve the happiness she thought she had lost. My only criticism was the ending; I thought (or perhaps just hoped?!) that it needed one final chapter to bring all to a conclusion – but perhaps there is a sequel in the wind? I hope so – it will be straight to the top of my reading pile. Definitely it is one of my top 5 reads for 2019. – Jane, NSW, 5 stars

The Paris Model is a perfectly paced and beautifully written novel about the life of Grace Dubois. Grace, who grew up working on her family’s sheep and wheat farm, longs to see the world and leaves her brief and unhappy marriage to pursue a career in Paris as a model for Christian Dior. Although she is initially reluctant to pursue a romantic attachment, she eventually falls in love with Phillipe, and soon discovers people are not always who they seem to be. The story is inspired by true events and contains appearances from many important political and artistic figures from the post-WWII era, which added a fun and interesting element to the story. The descriptions of the locations, fashions, and events depicted in the book perfectly set the scene for the story. The characters were multidimensional and interesting – I particularly liked the way the Dior mannequins were portrayed in the book. The actual story itself is absolutely fascinating, especially the events that unfolded as a result of Grace and Phillipe’s relationship. The Paris Model is a must-read, combining an interesting read with a story of depth and substance. – Amanda, QLD, 5 stars


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            Publisher details

            The Paris Model
            Alexandra Joel
            True Story
            20 January, 2020


            Sometimes you have to lose everything to find yourself ... A stunning novel of love, betrayal and family secrets for all fans of Fiona McIntosh and Natasha Lester.After a shocking discovery, Grace Woods leaves her vast Australian sheep station and travels to tumultuous post-war Paris in order to find her true identity.While working as a mannequin for Christian Dior, the world's newly acclaimed emperor of fashion, Grace mixes with counts and princesses, authors and artists, diplomats and politicians.But when Grace falls for handsome Philippe Boyer she doesn't know that he is leading a double life, nor that his past might inflict devastating consequences upon her. As she is drawn into Philippe's dangerous world of international espionage, Grace discovers both the shattering truth of her origins – and that her life is in peril.Inspired by an astonishing true story, The Paris Model is a tale of glamour, family secrets and heartbreak that takes you from the rolling plains of country Australia to the elegant salons of Paris.
            Alexandra Joel
            About the author

            Alexandra Joel

            Alexandra Joel is the author of Parade: the Story of Fashion in Australia, a social history detailing the development of fashion, style and national identity. She is a former editor of the Australian edition of the international magazine Harper's Bazaar, and of Portfolio, Australia's first magazine for working women. She has also been a regular contributor of feature articles, interviews and reviews to a number of national and metropolitan publications including The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend Magazine.More recently, Alexandra has been a practising counsellor and psychotherapist. She is an honours graduate from the University of Sydney and has a Graduate Diploma in Applied Psychology.

            Books by Alexandra Joel


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