From the debonair streets of Paris in 1939 to the dusty roads of farming town Froid, Montana in 1983, this story grabs you and won’t let go. The Paris Library is “based on the true World War II story of the American Library in Paris.”
Everything seems to be coming together for Odile Souchet. She lands her dream job working at the American Library in Paris, finally meets a beau whom she adores, and finds the library to be a source of community and friendship. Then World War II breaks out. Her twin brother, Remy, goes to the front lines, and the world changes. Nazis march in. The library is forced to keep Jewish subscribers out. Food becomes scarce. Odile and the other librarians risk their freedom and even their lives to carry books to their Jewish subscribers. And with only a few decisions made by herself and others, Odile’s world falls apart.
Nearly forty years later in Froid, Montana, Odile lives a solitary life and hides from her haunting past. Then her thirteen-year-old neighbor, Lily, walks through her door. “I’m writing a report on you. I mean, on your country.” So begins an unexpected friendship. Lily asks Odile to teach her French. Odile helps Lily through a difficult season in her life. But underlying everything are memories of betrayal. Secrets. Regrets. How far will Odile go to protect herself? Will Lily’s meddling destroy not one life, but two?
The Paris Library was compelling from the beginning. The main characters, so different from each other, insinuated themselves into my heart and wouldn’t let go. I could hardly put this book down. Highly recommended and unique, The Paris Library tells us an important story about war and about ourselves.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Simon & Schuster through NetGalley. The opinions I have expressed are my own.