LAST DAY OF THE WAR, THE
By Judith Claire Mitchell
This exciting debut novel is the love story of a Jewish girl and an Armenian-American soldier who together enter a maze of underground politics at the conclusion of the First World War.
Yael Weiss, an eighteen-year-old from St. Louis, reinvents herself as the twenty-five-year-old Methodist Yale White when she travels to Paris with the YMCA to work in a soldiers’ canteen. Dub Hagopian–the doughboy she has a carried a torch for all the way across the Atlantic–is at once the patriotic child of immigrants from Rhode Island and, covertly, a member of Erinyes, an organization dedicated to avenging the Armenian massacres of 1915.
In her jaunty, engaging style, Mitchell captures the atmosphere of political carnival surrounding the Paris Peace Conference, where Yale, Dub, and their crowd gather, bursting with both the passionate ideals and the devil-may-care energy of youth. When they decamp to a château outside Paris, where Erinyes is hatching a radical plan and Armenian war orphans are billeted, Yale and Dub will face the largest decisions of their young lives.
A beautiful love story, The Last Day of the War is also 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.
Pantheon Books, First Edition (2004)