Letters from Paris

The story of a mysterious work of art and the woman inspired to uncover its history in the City of Light.

After surviving the accident that took her mother’s life, Claire Broussard has worked hard to escape her small Louisiana hometown. But these days she feels something is lacking. Abruptly leaving her lucrative job in Chicago, Claire returns home to care for her ailing grandmother. There, she unearths a beautiful piece of artwork that her great-grandfather sent home from Paris after World War II.

At her grandmother’s urging, Claire travels to Paris to track down the century-old mask-making atelier where the object, known only as “L’Inconnue”—or The Unknown Woman—was created. Under the watchful eye of a surly mask-maker, Claire discovers a cache of letters that offers insight into the life of the Belle Epoque woman immortalized in the work of art. As Claire explores the unknown woman’s tragic fate, she begins to unravel deeply buried secrets in her own life.

“Blackwell paints a picture of Paris that is both artistically romantic and realistically harsh….A compelling story of Paris, art, and love throughout history.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Blackwell especially stuns in the aftermath of the main story by unleashing a twist that is both a complete surprise and a point that expertly ties everything together.”
Publishers Weekly

“Letters from Paris is a phenomenal, unusual work of historical fiction that this reviewer can’t praise highly enough—must reading.”
Historical Novel Society

“It’s beautifully paced, thoughtful and mysterious, with a complex plot and endearing characters.”
Star Tribune

“…the story is romantic in an old-fashioned sense but rendered in refreshingly modern tones. The sweet reminder of true love and the powerful meaning of family is neither mawkish nor silly, and it extends the remarkable precedent set in Blackwell’s women’s fiction debut novel, The Paris Key.”
Southern Literary Review