Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The Paris Library Paperback by Janet Skeslien Charles

Based on the true World War II story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris, this is an unforgettable story of romance, friendship, family, and the power of literature to bring us together, perfect for fans of The Lilac Girls and The Paris Wife.

Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet has it all: her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into Paris, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear, including her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. But when the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.

Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love of language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.

A powerful novel that explores the consequences of our choices and the relationships that make us who we are—family, friends, and favorite authors—The Paris Library shows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest of places.

My Review: 

Brilliantly written.

I was first attracted to this book because of the unique friendship between Odile and Lily.  I also wanted to learn more about Paris during WW2, and what the people living there went through and how they overcame the challenges of everyday life.  I was also curious about the American Library.   

I was quickly drawn into the story and enjoyed learning about both Odile and Lily’s lives.  There were a lot of twists to the story that I didn’t expect.  I admired Odile’s strength and how no matter what was thrown in her path, she stood strong to her beliefs and followed her dreams.  The one thing that took me by surprise was how she ended up in Montana.  When Lily’s curiosity led her to Odile’s house, I was also surprised how close they became and the secrets they shared.  

The author did a fantastic job writing this book.  It is one that I won’t soon forget.  It was entertaining and educational.  It’s a story about friendships, family, finding love and the love of books.  

Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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