Okay, it’s official. I’m falling in love with historical fiction. The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles is another wonderful WWII novel based on the true story of the incredibly brave librarians working at The American Library in Paris who joined the resistance and fought the Nazi’s through books for their Jewish subscribers. This book was incredibly well researched, beautifully written, and I loved how clearly evident the author’s passion for this story was throughout the entire book.
BOOK DESCRIPTION: “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.”
The characters in this story are absolutely wonderful and will tug at your heartstrings. I adored Odile so much. Her bravery, resilience, and intelligence were absolutely captivating and inspiring. Odile began the story as a young and naive woman who wasn’t exposed to many dangers of the world but we were blessed to see how much she grew as a character and into a powerful force to be reckoned with. The unlikely friendship between Lily and Odile was something I enjoyed too and I loved how much they helped one another overcome serious pain they’ve carried for a long time, transforming into better people because of it.
My favorite part about the characters though are that several of these characters are in fact the real names and backgrounds of the individuals working at the library during WWII. The authors note at the end of the story had a ton of fascinating information about these characters, making this story even more magical.
While this book addresses a lot of heartbreaking topics such as grief, loss, betrayal, and violence, there are also a lot of joyful moments about friendship, hope, love and forgiveness. If you’re looking for a slow paced, but highly enjoyable, WWII story that’s unique, exciting and heartwarming, I highly encourage you to check out The Paris Library, coming out 2/9. I can’t recommend it enough.
Thank you so much Atria and NetGalley for gifting me this wonderful eARC in exchange for my honest review 💛
BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles is best paired with Chai Milk Stout (Nitro) by Left Hand Brewing Company. This delicious beer is incredibly smooth and tastes just like a chai latte 🍻