…The blistering conclusion feels both satisfying and inevitable, thanks to the skill with which Mitchell assembles the pieces of her story and the light touch with which she incorporates thorny issues of prejudice and national identity into what is essentially a historical spy novel. It’s a bravura performance, Alan Furst with a dash of Tintin…
–The New York Times Book Review
This exciting debut novel follows Yale White (nee Yael Weiss), a Jewish girl from St. Louis, and Dub Hagopian, an Armenian-American soldier from Providence, as they enter a maze of underground politics at the conclusion of the First World War. In her jaunty, engaging style, Mitchell captures the post-war period, from the political carnival surrounding the Paris Peace Conference to the historically-based but little known efforts to avenge the Armenian massacres of 1915. The Last Day of the War is a love story, but more than that, it’s a tragicomic farce about the workings of history and a testament to the moral fortitude of men and women swept up in the tide of their extraordinary times.
More Praise for The Last Day of the War:
“THE BEST HISTORICAL NOVEL OF THE YEAR.”
–The Deseret Morning News
Like her heroine, Mitchell’s debut is willfully charming, alternately impudent and intense…Resisting the temptation to write an “issue” book, Mitchell manages to capture a horrendous chapter in world history through exhaustive research while allowing a full spectrum of humor and pathos to flesh out the picture.
–Publishers’ Weekly (starred review)
This eloquent first novel encompasses the full spectrum of joy and torment that is the human condition.
Mitchell weaves a tale filled with historical detail and facts about the 1915 Armenian massacres, and about life in 1919, complete with Y girls and fashions like split skirts. This combination of love and war, history and revenge, makes for a thrilling read, one that lingers long after you finish it.
–The Providence Journal
The sweeping historical novel is not the usual fare for a literary debut, but Mitchell captures Europe after World War I with a seasoned writer’s appreciation for the timeless appeal of a lost world. Using the story of a Jewish girl who reinvents herself to follow her infatuation with a doughboy across the Atlantic, Mitchell crafts an engaging tale of humor and pathos and young love amid the rich tapestry of post-war France.
–The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
The scope of The Last Day is rare in a first novel. Each of the characters is fully developed, and their interactions are thoroughly believable….Equally rare is Mitchell’s finely tuned pacing. Allotting each scene enough time to unfold fully, but never bogging down the narrative in incidents that don’t advance the action, she builds to a conclusion as satisfying as it is unpredictable.
–The Columbus Dispatch
With The Last Day of the War Judith Claire Mitchell has brought sad and increasingly distant history to vivid and inventive life. She is a first-time novelist with a sorceress’s gifts.
–Lorrie Moore, author of A Gate at the Top of the Stairs
The Last Day of the War is an extraordinary achievement: a book simultaneously full of humor and horror, both enthralling and poignant, and spilling over with heart.
–Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See
Judith Claire Mitchell’s debut novel is an eloquent, sweeping, generous tale of war, love, history, deceit, and friendship, and it reads like the work of a seasoned novelist.
–Thisbe Nissen, author of Osprey Island
Bookpage named the paperback edition of The Last Day of the War one of 2005’s best paperbacks for reading groups. This edition includes an author interview and reading guide. More info for book clubs can be found at Reading Group Guides. Judy is always happy to join you for your discussion either in person if possible or, if not, by phone or SKYPE.
The Last Day of the War may be ordered from your favorite online bookseller including those listed below. Or ask for it at your local bookstore.