‘A coming-of-age novel set in pre-WWII Europe, perfect for fans of Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Kate Quinn.’
– Three Words for Goodbye
[ About the Book ]
Three cities, two sisters, one chance to correct the past . . .
New York, 1937: When estranged sisters Clara and Madeleine Sommers learn their grandmother is dying, they agree to fulfill her last wish: to travel across Europe—together. They are to deliver three letters, in which Violet will say goodbye to those she hasn’t seen since traveling to Europe forty years earlier; a journey inspired by famed reporter, Nellie Bly.
Clara, ever-dutiful, sees the trip as an inconvenient detour before her wedding to millionaire Charles Hancock, but it’s also a chance to embrace her love of art. Budding journalist Madeleine relishes the opportunity to develop her ambitions to report on the growing threat of Hitler’s Nazi party and Mussolini’s control in Italy.
Constantly at odds with each other as they explore the luxurious Queen Mary, the Orient Express, and the sights of Paris and Venice,, Clara and Madeleine wonder if they can fulfil Violet’s wish, until a shocking truth about their family brings them closer together. But as they reach Vienna to deliver the final letter, old grudges threaten their reconciliation again. As political tensions rise, and Europe feels increasingly volatile, the pair are glad to head home on the Hindenburg, where fate will play its hand in the final stage of their journey.
[ My Review ]
“It had all started with a question to her newspaper editor. Was it possible to travel around the world in less than eighty days, and – more importantly – could a woman undertake such a challenge alone? Not only did she ask the question, she proved the answer was a resounding yes, on both counts. I didn’t know her then of course, but oh how I admired her bravery and sense of adventure”
Three Words for Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb was just published September 2nd with William Morrow. I have been a huge fan of the stunning writing from this fabulous pairing, so I was thrilled to bits when a copy arrived in my letterbox from Harper Collins Ireland. Inspired by the idea of trailblazing women who enjoyed travel as much as they themselves did, Gaynor and Webb set about researching for their next book, very quickly setting their sights on Nellie Bly. Nellie Bly (1864 – 1922) was an American journalist with adventure and attitude in her blood. She became well known for her challenging reporting style but she also accomplished a very personal goal by circumnavigating the world in seventy-two days in 1889.
“What was especially interesting to us about this whole adventure was not so much the places Nellie traveled to, or what happened to her along the way, it was the hysteria her trip created in America that really caught our attention”
Inspired by this incredible and brave woman, Gaynor and Webb have created a wonderful work of fiction, interwoven with historical events, taking the reader on a joyous adventure across the ocean from New York to France via the Queen Mary and on to Venice via the Orient Express, followed by rail to Vienna and returning to New York on the Hindenburg.
The year is 1937 and the world is on the brink of war. Violet Bell is in her dying days but has one last request. She gathers her two estranged granddaughters, Madeleine (Maddie) and Clara, to her side and asks them to personally deliver three letters across three countries, France, Italy and Austria. Clara and Maddie have barely spoken for some months due to ingrained differences in their personalities. Both see the world in their own unique fashion and this proposal from their grandmother is a big ask. Maddie has ambitions of being a serious journalist. The expected trappings of a young woman from a high society family were never on Maddie’s radar. A pair of brogues and trousers are Maddie’s go-to wardrobe. Maddie doesn’t feel the need to accessorise herself with a wealthy man and decides early in life to carve her own path and be a modern independent woman. For Clara a more expected path awaits. Engaged to the son of a renowned family, Clara is expected to perform all the correct wifely duties and remain loyal, quiet and faithful to her husband at all times. Clara is shocked by Maddie’s behaviour and attitude with the pair no longer seeing eye-to-eye. Maddie has no time for Clara’s beau and spares no words in expressing her opinion.
Now a trip together is a prospective nightmare for both girls but, out of love for their grandmother, they accept her request and, with trepidation, board the Queen Mary on a voyage that will change their lives forever.
Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb are exceptional at creating a visual journey for their readers. I was completely immersed in the lives of Clara and Maddie. I sailed the high seas and I dined like royalty on The Orient Express. I walked the streets of Paris and drank coffee down a narrow, cobbled street in Venice. When in Vienna, I felt the fear as the Nazis patrolled the street and their simmering anger toward the local Jewish community was unleashed.
Three Words for Goodbye offers the reader multiple stories combining some very poignant scenes with some shocking ones. Weaving historical facts, about the modes of transport and the impending war, with beautiful and scintillating descriptions, Gaynor and Webb have created a compelling and dazzling tale that leaps out of the pages. With truly marvellous characters littered throughout, each brilliantly depicted, Three Words for Goodbye is another elegant and polished read from this magical writing duo.
[ Bio ]
Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author. Her 2014 debut The Girl Who Came Home won the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award, A Memory of Violets was a 2015 WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, The Girl from The Savoy was shortlisted for the 2017 Irish Book Awards, and The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter was shortlisted for the 2019 HWA Gold Crown Award.
Hazel’s most recent novel, When We Were Young & Brave/The Bird in the Bamboo Cage was a national bestseller in the USA, and an Irish Times bestseller, and was shortlisted for the 2020 Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Novel of the Year.
Hazel’s co-written novels with Heather Webb have all been published to critical acclaim. Last Christmas in Paris won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award, and Meet Me in Monaco was shortlisted for the 2020 Romantic Novelists’ Association Historical Novel award. Their latest novel, Three Words for Goodbye has just been published.
Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. Her work has been translated into fourteen languages to date. She is co-founder of creative writing events The Inspiration Project, and lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.
Twitter – @HazelGaynor
[ Bio ]
Heather Webb is the award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of The Last Ship Home, The Phantom’s Apprentice, Rodin’s Lover, and Becoming Josephine.
In 2017, Last Christmas in Paris won the Women’s Fiction Writers Association award, and in 2019, Meet Me in Monaco was shortlisted for both the RNA award in the UK and also the Digital Book World Fiction prize.
Up and coming, Heather’s new solo novel called The Next Ship Home: A Novel of Ellis Island is about unlikely friends that confront a corrupt system altering their fates and the lives of the immigrants who come after them, and it releases in Feb 2022. Also, look for her third collaboration with her beloved writing partner, Hazel Gaynor, Three Words for Goodbye has just been released with William Morrow
Heather is also a freelance editor, and teaches craft courses at a local college. Her novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages, worldwide. She lives in Connecticut with her family and one feisty rabbit.
Twitter – @msheatherwebb