“All the Ways We Said Goodbye” is a story of love, betrayal, and war, a family saga full of tragedy and secrets. It focuses on three women who take refuge in the historical Ritz Hotel in Paris, France during three different time periods.
Aurelie, an heiress, is the daughter of Comte Sigismund de Courcelles and Madame la Comtesse de Courelles, an American heiress. It is 1914 and World War I has broken out. Aurelie flees the comforts of the Paris Ritz Hotel where her estranged mother resides. She leaves to join her father at the family estate in Picardy, France. Aurelie is trapped at estate when the Germans claim it. Aurelie endures the hardships of war, finds forbidden love with a German soldier and manages to escape back to the Ritz Hotel in Paris.
Daisy Villon is living in Paris in 1947, during World War II. Her husband Pierre is a Nazi collaborator. Her grandmother lives at the Ritz Hotel and is part of The Resistance. Daisy finds herself betraying her husband and acting as a courier for Kit Langford, an Englishman who is forging identity papers for Jewish refugees. She too finds forbidden love.
Then there is Barbara “Babs” Langford, who marries Kit Langford after his return from the war. Upon Langford’s death, Babs travels to Paris in 1964 to look for the mysterious woman from Kit’s past known as La Fleur. Babs joins American lawyer Drew Bowdain in the hunt for La Fleur, a resistance fighter turned traitor in hopes of clearing his father’s name. While assisting Drew in the search, Babs finds herself falling in love and keeping secrets.
The chapters alternate between the three women and their time in Paris. It is hard to keep the characters straight at the beginning of the novel but it becomes more manageable as you progress. Although this is technically a historical fiction novel, I found it to be more of a love story. The characters are well developed and they keep you engaged until the end, even though parts of the story were predictable.