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The Paris of the East

McKenzie Publishing

Available in Trade paperback and e-book

The Paris of the East is a sweeping epic of love and war, courage and survival, sacrifice and loss.


Warsaw, 1939. Four friends picnic on a brilliant summer’s day and celebrate an engagement, aware of the rumbles of war, but hopeful that in any conflict Poland will have the upper hand.  But only months later, Poland has surrendered and dare-devil pilot Rafael is ordered to flee the country, eventually flying for the RAF in Britain. The other three remain in Nazi-occupied Warsaw – Rafael’s spirited wife, Celina; his shy and brooding brother Marek – who wishes he was the one Celina had married – and their plucky friend Anna. Danger lurks on every corner of occupied Warsaw, even more so when the three friends become active members in the Polish Resistance…


A page-turning story that spans the period of the Second World War, this is a dramatic historical adventure that goes from Warsaw to Lublin, from Bucharest to Paris, from London to the Concentration Camp at Ravensbruck – but always at the heart of this novel is the mesmerising city of Warsaw – ‘The Paris of the East.’


A note from the author:


‘To give you some background to The Paris of the East, a Polish edition of my book Unbreakable Spirit was published a few years ago. On author tour I met Wanda Poltawska, an astonishing woman in her 90s who survived being a ‘guinea pig’ at the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. I read her memoirs and other books written from a Polish perspective.


I was struck by several things – the daring feats of Polish pilots during the war, the inspiring way the camp population at Ravensbruck rounded together to save a group of women who had been operated on by the Nazis, and the tragedy of the Warsaw Uprising.


The Paris of the East is a story of love, courage and survival set during these extraordinary times. It is also the story of Warsaw during the Second World War – the once beautiful ‘Paris of the East’ that was completely obliterated by the Germans at the war’s end.’ – Karen McMillan

Praise for The Paris of the East:

‘From the derring-do of Allied fighter pilots to the cunning of the Polish resistance and the everyday bravery of a professor and his daughter, there are heroes of all kinds in this sweeping tale of war-torn Warsaw. At its heart lies a tender love story which offers a glimpse of hope for a better future, and reminds us that humanity and kindness ultimately always prevail.’ NEXT Magazine


'The weaving of truth and imagination blurs the lines of fiction into a compelling and enjoyable read.' Australian Women's Weekly


'admirable characters and well-researched writing.' NZ Herald


'The Paris of the East is a generous and energetic account of an historical period of terrible darkness, and one that revives what is often overlooked.' Coast FM


'I found this book very hard to put down. A tender love story, a story of courage and survival set in extraordinary times.' Booksellers NZ Blog 


'this is a compelling tale of love, heroes and the utter determination and will to live against all odds.' Hawkes Bay Today

'This a gripping story of life in Warsaw during WW2, with a cast of young people who enter your life and stay there. Karen McMillan writes a detailed story with great authority about an era that she has researched in depth - and about characters she must have based on real accounts from the war. A very absorbing read!' Tina Clough, author of The Chinese Proverb

'The story is one of courage, endurance, determination and the power of love to survive the cruelty and hardships of war. Karen McMillan has ensured that the dramatic background for The Paris of the East and its haunting themes of human resilience, love and heroism linger lastingly in reader’s mind.' Dinah Holman, author of A History of Crime

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