The Paris Library

The Paris Library

Author:  Janet Skeslien Charles
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 368
On Sale: February 2 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, WWII
Stars: 3/5

From the Publisher:

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

From Me:

This book was really well done. It had a dual timeline, spanning from 1939 Paris to 1983 Montana, and I felt it was pretty easy to keep track of the plot. Both stories held up well on their own. I’ve never visited Paris and I had never heard of the American Library there, but I’m proud of the efforts everyone put in to promote reading and sending books to all the troops. Not a lot of focus was put on how the rest of the city or the Jews were faring during the occupation, but it was interesting to learn how the librarians struggled and adapted.

“After the darkness of war, the light of books.” (ALP’s motto)

The Sea Gate

The Sea Gate

Author:  Jane Johnson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 416
On Sale: January 5 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, WWII
Stars: 3/5

From the Publisher:

A broken family, a house of secrets—an entrancing tale of love and courage set during the Second World War.

After Rebecca’s mother dies, she must sort through her empty flat and come to terms with her loss. As she goes through her mother’s mail, she finds a handwritten envelope. In it is a letter that will change her life forever.

Olivia, her mother’s elderly cousin, needs help to save her beloved home. Rebecca immediately goes to visit Olivia in Cornwall only to find a house full of secrets—treasures in the attic and a mysterious tunnel leading from the cellar to the sea, and Olivia, nowhere to be found.

As it turns out, the old woman is stuck in hospital with no hope of being discharged until her house is made habitable again. Rebecca sets to work restoring the home to its former glory, but as she peels back the layers of paint and grime, she uncovers even more buried secrets—secrets from a time when the Second World War was raging, when Olivia was a young woman, and when both romance and danger lurked around every corner…

A sweeping and utterly spellbinding tale of a young woman’s courage in the face of war and the lengths to which she’ll go to protect those she loves against the most unexpected of enemies.

From Me:

I have conflicting feelings about this book. The dual timeline was well done and I didn’t get too lost when the chapters flipped perspective, but I felt a lot of it just kind of plodded along. The characters felt real and believable, but it wasn’t until into the second half that things really came together and it became harder to put the book down. Rebecca felt a bit weak and flimsy at first, but she definitely became a stronger person as time goes on.

The Haunting At Bonaventure Circus

The Haunting At Bonaventure Circus

Author: Jaime Jo Wright
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Pages: 352
On Sale: September 1 2020
Genre: Mystery, Romance, Suspense, Historical Fiction
Stars: 4/5

From the Publisher:

1928
The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the “Watchman,” she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa’s search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Present Day
The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk’s shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot’s history, she’s also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.

From Me:

I was not familiar with Jaime Jo Wright’s work before this, but I will definitely be seeking her out.  This story was split between 1928 and present day and each story was very well written and could easily have stood on its own instead of being combined.  I enjoyed the mystery of the circus and the trials they were going through with the protestors, I also found The Watchman to be extremely creepy in a Scarecrow sort of way.  The present day story had a single mom struggling to balance work & her son, on top of a ghost story and mystery of her own.  Overall I really enjoyed both halves and how they came together.