Author: Janet Skeslien Charles
Publisher: Atria Books
On Sale: February 2 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, WWII
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
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)