Publisher: Atria Books + Simon & Schuster Audio
Release Date: February 09, 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction / Adult Fiction
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
I am a huge fan of historical fiction and even though I don’t read it that often, I love the information I can get from the books I do read. The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles focuses a lot on the American Library in Paris which I am not familiar with in the slightest, so I loved getting a glimpse into what it was like before and during the war. The story is actually told in alternating timelines, one is Odile who works at the library in 1939, and the other is Lily in 1983 who lives next door to a much older Odile in Montana. Between the two, Odile was definitely my favorite of the two characters and timelines, but I did really enjoy seeing how they came together at the end and how Lily’s character grew.
The audiobook for The Paris Library is fantastic, so if you are a fan of audio I highly recommend going that route. It is narrated by Nicky Diss, Sarah Feathers, and Esther Wane, with the author’s note and acknowledgments read by the author. Each narrator made me feel like I was in the book, and I loved the way they brought the entire plot to life for me. There are some heavy subjects in here and some parts were just heart-wrenching, but they were important to the story and very well done. The coolest part for me was knowing Charles used to be the Programs Manager at the American Library, and that this was based on the librarians that actually worked there during WWII. If you are a fan of historical fiction I definitely recommend checking out The Paris Library.
Thank you to Libro.fm and the publisher for my advance listening copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.