All the Ways We Said Goodbye: A Novel of the Ritz Paris
Williams, Willig, and White return with their third jointly written historical fiction book, All the Ways We Said Goodbye. Described as a novel of the Paris Ritz, the narrative is divided into three parts. First, in World War I France, Aurelie leaves the Ritz to rescue a sacred family relic and, in the French countryside, she ends up closer to the Germans than she ever could have imagined. In World War II Paris, Daisy is part of the French resistance even though her husband is siding with the Nazis, and she fights to save Jewish refugees. And in post-World War II Paris, Barbara Langford travels to the Ritz, desperate to find out the secrets that her deceased husband kept about the war, specifically about a member of the Resistance nicknamed “La Fleur.” As the reader progresses, the three storylines become intertwined as family secrets, betrayal, and misunderstandings are revealed and romance blossoms for all three women.
All the Ways We Said Goodbye explores female heroines of World Wars I and II. Overlooked and underestimated, Aurelie, Daisy, and “La Fleur” take advantage of being ignored in order to help France win the war. It’s a bit predictable but still enjoyable. I would like to see Williams, Willig, and White move beyond the tripartite narrative format in their next book, a structure shared by all three of their novels. But within the three parts there are no changes in the narrative style, and you cannot tell which author has written which section (at an author event last year, they said that even their editor didn’t know who had written what). With its focus on the Ritz, All the Ways We Said Goodbye pairs nicely with Melanie Benjamin’s Mistress of the Ritz from 2019.