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A provocative and stylish literary noir about two female war correspondents whose fates intertwine in Europe.
Paris, 1938. Two women meet: Mielle, a shy pacifist and shunned Mennonite who struggles to fit in with the elite cohort of foreign correspondents stationed around the city; the other, Jane, a brash, legendary American journalist, who is soon to become a fascist propagandist.
When World War II makes landfall in the City of Lights, Mielle falls under Jane’s spell, growing ever more intoxicated by her glamour, self-possession, and reckless confidence. But as this recklessness devolves into militarism and an utter lack of humanity, Mielle is seized by a series of visions that show her an inescapable truth: Jane Anderson must die, and Mielle must be the one to kill her.
Structured as a series of dispatches filed from around Europe and based on the misadventures of a real journalist-turned-Nazi mouthpiece, The War Begins in Paris is a cat-and-mouse suspense that examines the relentlessness of propaganda, the allure of power, and how far one woman will go for the sake of her morality.
“An exhilarating rush of a novel, The War Begins in Paris tells the story of a woman torn between what is right and what is easy. With sharp, propulsive prose, Theodore Wheeler’s third novel is a tender search for courage and humanity in the face of the unthinkable.” —Jenny Tinghui Zhang, author of Four Treasures of the Sky
“Propulsive, immersive, and beautifully rendered, Theodore Wheeler’s The War Begins in Paris is that rare novel that’s both contemplative and energetic, pulse-pounding and utterly devastating. Through Mielle and Jane, Wheeler deftly illuminates themes of friendship, love, sacrifice, and heroism, and shows us how loyalty and conviction can move in unpredictable patterns under wartime duress. This is a major gut-punch of a novel, and I, for one, am thankful it exists.” —James Han Mattson, author of Reprieve
“The War Begins in Paris tracks, in scrupulous and forensic detail, a relationship toxified by the lies of Nazism.” —Luke Jennings, author of Codename Villanelle