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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Paris Library

  1. 4 out of 5

    Angela M

    I thought this would be a relevant one to read during Banned Book Week, and it was, but it’s about more than banned books. It’s about people affected by the Nazi occupation of France, how the Librarians and other staff at the American Library of Paris tried to save some of their patrons as well as preserve their right to read by delivering books to their Jewish subscribers who were no longer allowed by the Nazis to use the library. I was compelled to read some about the history of ALP and discov I thought this would be a relevant one to read during Banned Book Week, and it was, but it’s about more than banned books. It’s about people affected by the Nazi occupation of France, how the Librarians and other staff at the American Library of Paris tried to save some of their patrons as well as preserve their right to read by delivering books to their Jewish subscribers who were no longer allowed by the Nazis to use the library. I was compelled to read some about the history of ALP and discovered in those articles as well as in the author’s note that some of the characters in this novel are based on real people. In the novel, Dorothy Reeder (a wonderful sounding name for a Librarian) who is the director of the Library was the director of the actual ALP from 1936-1941. I was so impressed how accurate this novel reflected the history. A program to send books to soldiers was also implemented. It’s also about the power of friendship. I’m drawn to stories about WWII and the Holocaust and as a retired Librarian, this was a perfect read for me. The novel is written with a commonly used mechanism telling the story in two time frames, linking the past with a present or near present time. Odile in the current time frame of the early 1980’s is the recluse neighbor of a young girl, Lily, in Froid, Montana. It’s a lovely story of how these two become unlikely friends when Odile helps Lily get through a tough time of loss and change in her life, with heart, wisdom, love of reading and teaching her to speak French. The alternating past story covers Odile’s life and work as a Librarian at the ALP. It is in these past chapters that the reader is introduced to the wonderful place that the Library was, the Nazi occupation, the courageous and commendable work of these Librarians. It’s also Odile’s personal story of love and loss. While we don’t necessarily see the horrors of the death camps front and center on the pages, there is loss and death close to these characters. While I enjoyed the past time frame of the story a bit more, with some wonderful characters both real and imagined, there is a lovely connection between these two characters in the current story and we never know until the end just how much this friendship meant to both of them. Some may think that the loss of books or the loss of one’s ability to access books is not comparable to the loss of six million Jews in the Holocaust and of course it isn’t, but it’s stealing a part of who people are, their society and culture. Something that the real Dorothy Reeder says made me realize how important their work was. In May 1940, just weeks before the fall of France, Reeder reflected: “More and more I realize my responsibility to guard our library. It stands as a symbol of freedom and understanding, of service to all, a fine piece of democracy.” (We’ll Always Have the American Library in Paris” By Leonard Kniffel | American Libraries Magazine, May 1, 2020 “After the darkness of war, the light of books.” (ALP’s motto) ARC was provided by Atria Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    Historical fiction is my favorite genre. I search out novels that are set about, in or around books, libraries, book stores etc. The novel is set during dual timelines, one in the past in 1939 through 1944 and the other in the more current time of 1983-1989. The first timeline is set in Paris around 1939,as we follow Odelie through the years. She first starting work at the American Library in Paris and then continued through the years of Nazi occupation in Paris. This was definitely the most int Historical fiction is my favorite genre. I search out novels that are set about, in or around books, libraries, book stores etc. The novel is set during dual timelines, one in the past in 1939 through 1944 and the other in the more current time of 1983-1989. The first timeline is set in Paris around 1939,as we follow Odelie through the years. She first starting work at the American Library in Paris and then continued through the years of Nazi occupation in Paris. This was definitely the most interesting part of the novel, learning how the librarians continued to support their Jewish subscribers by delivering books to them since they could no longer use the library. They also sent boxes with books to soldiers that they could reach who were entrenched in the war effort. I didn’t feel the need for the romance between Odelie and Paul and their afternoon trysts in abandoned apartments i.e. “Paul kissed my hands, my cheeks, my lips. I wanted more. His skin on mine, our bodies entwined”, it felt as though I was reading romance. I didn’t think that this really added to the story and just took away from the seriousness of the subject. I would have liked more details about life in Paris under the occupation, not just how it affected the library. The second timeline involves Lily, a high school student who has decided to try to interview their older French neighbor, Odelie, for a school project. Odelie keeps to herself most of the time. When Lily approaches her for an interview she is surprised that Odelie is going to grant her the interview. It seems that Odelie sees a lot of herself in Lily “ the same love of language, the same longings, the same lethal jealousy “. Lily learns a lot about how things were during the war for the Parisians involved with the library, how some were forced to leave after the occupation and how they continued to serve their subscribers. At one point however Lily and her best friend invade Odelie’s privacy and find letters that they don’t understand the meaning of. They are interrupted in their rummaging by Odelie who had returned to her home and discovered the girls there. Everything changes after that. I really enjoyed the author’s notes and learned that many of the characters in the story were real people and the events actually occurred. The author worked as the programs manager at the American Library in Paris in 2019. She was told the story of what occurred during the occupation and spoke to members of the families of some of the characters. It is obvious that much research was done in writing this book. I did feel that at times the novel moved slowly and I think it would have been a stronger book without the second story line involving Lily. I found myself rushing through those chapters to get back to what I considered the “main story” presented in this novel. Overall I still really enjoyed this novel and can recommend it to lovers of historical fiction. I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher. New release date 2/2/2021

  3. 4 out of 5

    Swaroop Kanti

    "based on a true Second World War story of the heroic librarians..." Set in two different time periods, The Paris Library is a well-written and engaging read. The book follows the experiences of Odile, a librarian and Lily, a high school student. To start with much of the book is about the importance of books, the power of literature, the value of libraries and, above-all, the wonderful profession of being a Librarian. This itself is a good enough reason for all book lovers to read this book. Th "based on a true Second World War story of the heroic librarians..." Set in two different time periods, The Paris Library is a well-written and engaging read. The book follows the experiences of Odile, a librarian and Lily, a high school student. To start with much of the book is about the importance of books, the power of literature, the value of libraries and, above-all, the wonderful profession of being a Librarian. This itself is a good enough reason for all book lovers to read this book. The American Library in Paris (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America...). The content and thoughts about books, libraries and librarians is very much as I feel and think about them: <“ONE-two-three. BOOKS-independence-happiness.” "Breathing in the best smell in the world - a melange of the mossy scent of musty books and crisp newspaper pages - I felt as if I'd come home." “I loved being surrounded by stories, some as old as time, others published just last month.” “I never judged a book by its beginning. It felt like the first and last date I`d once had, both of us smiling too brightly. No, I opened to a page in the middle, where the author wasn`t trying to impress me.” “It was why I read – to glimpse other lives.” “But seriously, why books. Because no other thing possesses that mystical faculty to make people see with other people`s eyes. The Library is a bridge of books between cultures.” “Libraries are lungs. Books the fresh air breathed in to keep the heart beating, to keep the brain imagining, to keep hope alive.” “Books and ideas are like blood; they need to circulate, and they keep us alive.” “A better question to ask is what can we do now to ensure that libraries and learning are accessible to all and that we treat people with dignity and compassion.” > Now, for some people, in order to make the book `interesting` maybe it is required to include some drama, romance, et cetera. Also, maybe, these are needed for a book to be commercially successful. But, for me, the content and elements about the books, libraries and librarians were more than enough! Everything else, kind of, felt unneeded, out of the context and like loose ends. The characters in this book: “Her hand hugging me, she introduced her cast of characters. Dear Maman and down-to-earth Eugenie. Blustery Papa. Remy, the mischievous twin I would see every time I looked at Odile. His girl, Bitsi, the brave librarian. Paul, so handsome, I fell in love with him, too. Margaret, every bit as fun as Mary Louise. Miss Reader, the Countess, and Boris, the heart and soul and life of the Library. People I would never know, would never forget. They`d lived in Odile`s memory, and now they lived in mine.” - Lily, Froid Montana 1983 Few interesting quotes from The Paris Library: *** Life`s a brawl. You must fight for what you want. It was important for her to leave a place better than we found it. People are awkward, they don`t always know what to do or say. Don`t hold it against them. You never know what`s in their hearts. Soup teaches patience. It takes just a few ingredients to make a healthy meal, yet industrial food companies have Americans convinced there`s no time to cook. You eat bland soup from a can, even though leeks browned with butter taste like heaven. She knew that God tore down the old world every evening and built a new one by sun up. You`re nothing without principles. Nowhere without ideals. No one without courage. Love is accepting someone, all parts of them, even the ones you don`t like or understand. But… you always know the right things to say. Because I`ve said so many wrong things. Don`t listen when someone tells you not to bother a person – reach out to make a friend. People don`t know what to do or say. Try not to hold that against them; you never know what`s in their heart. Don`t be afraid to be different. Stand your ground. During bad times, remember that nothing lasts forever. Accept people for who they are, not for who you want them to be. Try to put yourself in their shoes. ***"Atrum post bellum, ex libris lux. After the darkness of war, the light of books."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Janet Skeslien Charles writes an intriguing blend of well researched fact and fiction focusing on the experience of the established American Library in Paris amidst the background of the Nazi occupation during WW2. It follows the experiences of the young, ambitious librarian, Odile Souchet, with the library supporting its subscribers, including Jews, and soldiers. The Library is not left untouched by the occupation, a target for the Nazis. The story covers Odile's wartime experiences, such as th Janet Skeslien Charles writes an intriguing blend of well researched fact and fiction focusing on the experience of the established American Library in Paris amidst the background of the Nazi occupation during WW2. It follows the experiences of the young, ambitious librarian, Odile Souchet, with the library supporting its subscribers, including Jews, and soldiers. The Library is not left untouched by the occupation, a target for the Nazis. The story covers Odile's wartime experiences, such as those with her family, she is close to her brother, Remy, who has joined the war efforts, her worries for him, hoping that he will return safe and sound. There are the many wide ranging and disparate subscribers, the staff and volunteers, the joys of seeing the right book find the right reader at the right time. Odile has a romantic relationship with Paul, a policeman, as she finds herself willing to do whatever it takes to save the library, joining the Resistance in its myriad forms. Never was the power of books and reading so desperately needed, in the bleakest, dangerous, hardest and darkest of times, and all the horrors that it entailed. We follow what happens with Odile, her colleagues and friends, trying to save lives and the library, the below the radar deliveries to Jews, going expressly against Nazi orders. There are challenges, obstacles, deception and the shock of betrayal. In 1983 in Montana, teenage high school student, Lily, has recently suffered the loss of her mother, whilst her father has remarried. Griefsticken, lonely and struggling to fit in, Lily becomes close to her elderly French neighbour, Odile, and interviews for a school project. Odile sees that she has much in common with Lily, their relationship culminating in the surprising revelation of a past secret that connects them. This is a fascinating and illuminating glimpse of WW2 history and the terrifying nightmare devastation of the war, viewed through the unusual perspective and role of the American Library in Paris. It was wonderful to read of the courageous librarians, fighting the good fight through books, knowingly resisting the Nazis, aware they faced death and prison if discovered. This is a brilliant read, of loss, betrayal, hope and the power of friendship. Many thanks to John Murray Press for an ARC.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    3.5 stars New month, New Booktube Reading Vlog - tier-listing all the books read in July! The Written Review I loved Paris, a city with secrets. Like book covers, some leather, some cloth, each Parisian door led to an unexpected world. We follow Odile Souchet as she applies to be a librarian in an English-speaking library in Paris, 1939. She quickly falls in love with a police officer beau, finds a new friend among the library's patrons and thrives on the challenge, and is finding 3.5 stars New month, New Booktube Reading Vlog - tier-listing all the books read in July! The Written Review I loved Paris, a city with secrets. Like book covers, some leather, some cloth, each Parisian door led to an unexpected world. We follow Odile Souchet as she applies to be a librarian in an English-speaking library in Paris, 1939. She quickly falls in love with a police officer beau, finds a new friend among the library's patrons and thrives on the challenge, and is finding her purpose by serving the community. But then, the unthinkable happens. War is declared. And then it comes to her library. Odile wants nothing more to continue working with the patrons, finding them books and living peacefully but as the Nazi regulations are put into place, she finds it more and more difficult to stay out of the situation. And we also follow Odile in 1983 as she lives in a small town in Montana - widowed and isolated. The small town sees Odile as an outsider and she truly feels the isolation. But then, the little neighbor girl knocks on her door. Lily, a lonely girl, is trying to escape from her own situation. Dad and I hovered at the side of Mom's hospital bed. She tried to smile but her lips just quivered. The two lost souls find solace in each other, and soon a grandmother-granddaughter relationship begins to form. I was skeptical about soulmates, but could believe in bookmates, two beings bound by a passion for reading. I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I'm not normally one for war books and war books riddled with flashbacks and flashforwards. The two stories felt fairly balanced. I was a little more drawn to the "modern" day one (with Lily in it) but overall, it worked pretty well. I loved the aspect of the library and how Odile's world was so carefully built (only for it to come crashing down). The pacing of the book felt a bit slow...and yet it was the kind of slow that I enjoyed. I loved the details, the attention to various aspects of the 1900s and the whole immersion experience. All in all, I was really entranced by this book and the ending was the crescendo that I was waiting for. A huge thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Janet Skeslien Charles for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Though I am starting to back off on historical novels set during WWII, I picked this book as it appeared to offer something different. The story has dual timelines with our protagonist, Odile (oh-da-lay’), heavily featured in both. During WWII, Odile works at the American Library in Paris (a real institution). The later timeline takes place in the mid to late 1980s in Montana. I enjoyed both timelines equally. The best feature of the WWII period is the library setting. I love the references to t Though I am starting to back off on historical novels set during WWII, I picked this book as it appeared to offer something different. The story has dual timelines with our protagonist, Odile (oh-da-lay’), heavily featured in both. During WWII, Odile works at the American Library in Paris (a real institution). The later timeline takes place in the mid to late 1980s in Montana. I enjoyed both timelines equally. The best feature of the WWII period is the library setting. I love the references to the Dewey decimal system and to specific books. Seeing the war from the perspective of the library and its patrons and employees is also fresh and enlightening. The Montana period is special because of the inclusion of young Lily and her role in helping Odile heal from her difficult life. In turn, Odile supports Lily as the latter struggles “to belong.” The story focuses more on the characters than the war (OK with me) and showcases themes of deep disappointment, loss, hope, healing, and the power of friendship. The author did a great deal of research for the book; make sure you read the author’s note at the end. One of the things I look most forward to in the WWII historical fiction novels is the Author’s Note. My only knock is that the end was rushed in my opinion. I would have liked “another 10%” to be devoted to Odile’s relationship with Buck and Marc and a bit more detail on Lily’s future. Back to the Author’s Note—it did serve as a great epilogue for some of the characters who we find out were actually real people. All in all, I very much enjoyed this novel and recommend it to all fans of historical fiction, especially those who like character-driven novels. Many thanks to Atria Books, through Net Galley and Janet Skeslien Charles, for the invitation to read an ARC of this novel. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    I have been disappointed in the historical fiction genre for a time, But this book has ended that disappointment. It was superb in every sense and one in which the author was able to blend fact and fiction flawlessly. Taking us once again to Paris during the war, we meet a cast of characters who knew and espoused the idea that books are the answer to the ills of people who suffer. The American Library of Paris, like so many things was gravely affected during the wars. From books being banned, to I have been disappointed in the historical fiction genre for a time, But this book has ended that disappointment. It was superb in every sense and one in which the author was able to blend fact and fiction flawlessly. Taking us once again to Paris during the war, we meet a cast of characters who knew and espoused the idea that books are the answer to the ills of people who suffer. The American Library of Paris, like so many things was gravely affected during the wars. From books being banned, to people being denied access because of their backgrounds and what they believed, this library was able to survive and bring hope to his patrons. The author reminds us of the way in which fascism worked. How it eliminates those ideas, those concepts, and those books which they feel are a challenge to what fascists espouse. For so many of us, the library has been a place of refuge, a place to escape the ills of the world and escape into a world where peace and words exist side by side. Odile Souchethas found that perfect job, that of a librarian in the American Library of Paris. She and her coworkers are lovers of books, and through them the library and its patrons, including those who were banned, are able to find solace. These people become part of their own Resistance by seeing that books stayed a part of the way forward. Years later, living in America, Odile comes to meet and counsel Lily, a young teenager who is unhappy and feels cut apart from life and love. Through their blossoming friendship, Lily learns of Odile's life, her struggles, and her strength. From Odile, Lily learns the meaning of courage and the ability to realize that everyone carries burdens some of which are harder than others. This marvelous story comes highly recommended for both teaching us a piece of history not well known as well as presenting a story of bravery and the will to carry on even with adversity nipping at one's heels. Thank you to Janet, Skeslien Charles, Atria Books, and NetGalley for this enlightening and poignant story, due out February 2, 2021.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carole

    The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles is a memorable account of life during World War II in Paris after the German invasion. In 1939 Odile is thrilled to be hired at the American Library in Paris (ALP). Her love of the written word soon makes her an important and respected member of staff. As the German soldiers take control, the library is in danger of being closed permanently, like so many others. This is the story of how library staff coped with years of foreign dominance while serving The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles is a memorable account of life during World War II in Paris after the German invasion. In 1939 Odile is thrilled to be hired at the American Library in Paris (ALP). Her love of the written word soon makes her an important and respected member of staff. As the German soldiers take control, the library is in danger of being closed permanently, like so many others. This is the story of how library staff coped with years of foreign dominance while serving their subscribers. They were years of hardship, fear, terror, prejudice and survival of the human spirit. But it was also a time of love, friendship and kindness. These are the heroic lives of the librarians during a terrible time. To this day, the American Library in Paris is still thriving, in part due to these courageous people. This is a well-researched and fascinating look at the dedication needed to stand against the Nazis and save an important and beloved library. The author worked at the ALP in 2010, which accounts for the atmospheric retelling. Highly recommended. Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    This story brings “a little-known chapter of WWII history: the story of the American librarian, Miss Reeder, who created the Soldiers’ Service to deliver books to servicemen, and who later faced the Nazi ‘Book Protector’ in order to keep her library open. She and her colleagues defied the Bibliotheksschutz by delivering books to Jewish readers after they were forbidden from entering the library.” Montana, 1983. Lily, a lonely teenager, is working on a school project, a report on France. She goes This story brings “a little-known chapter of WWII history: the story of the American librarian, Miss Reeder, who created the Soldiers’ Service to deliver books to servicemen, and who later faced the Nazi ‘Book Protector’ in order to keep her library open. She and her colleagues defied the Bibliotheksschutz by delivering books to Jewish readers after they were forbidden from entering the library.” Montana, 1983. Lily, a lonely teenager, is working on a school project, a report on France. She goes to her French neighbor Mrs. Gustafson to interview her for the report. Mrs. Gustafson is defined as the epitome of solitude. And what starts as a school project, turns into a heartfelt relationship. As the relationship deepens, Lily starts wondering about certain things about Odile’s life in Paris. Paris, 1939. Odile Gustafson has just started working as a librarian at the American Library. When England and France declare war on Germany, requests for magazines and books from soldiers pour in. The library gets busy with fulfilling those requests. Once, the Nazis occupy Paris, Miss Reeder, the Library Directress, realizes that churches and libraries will not be spared as she previously hoped. Certain people and books are not allowed in the library. Thus, an idea of smuggling books to Jewish subscribers springs up. But there are checkpoints everywhere, thus carrying something suspicious puts one in danger. Then, the crow letters, most unsigned, informing on Jews, keep arriving at the police station. Deceit weaves its way into the story. Loved the portrayal of Odile’s French family. They come through as very human, always criticizing father, depressed mother. The bond she has with her brother is very endearing. Lily is also a very likeable character. Her tone is expressionless most of the time. She is not the most enthusiastic person, which reflects her loneliness. But her journey of discovering herself is engrossing. Usually, I don’t like to read stories through the voice of a teenager, but there is something special about her and the relationship with Odile. When the story was unravelling in Paris for a longer time, I started to miss the present time story. “You came into my life like the evening star.” Typically, I don’t like foreign words being mixed with English. But I actually enjoyed little lessons of French that Lily was getting from Odile. It makes so much more sense as in this case you know what you’re reading. It’s also interesting to learn about Dewey Decimal number system. 813 (American) + 840 (French) + 302.34 (friendship) = 1955.34 (worthy books). This book doesn’t detail the events of WWII. The purpose of this book is to shed light on the Library and its people who risked their lives to lift other people up. I enjoyed the story and writing thoroughly, but if you enjoy more of a descriptive writing, then this book may not be the right fit for you. Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tea Jovanović

    The reading completed, 4 blissful days of pure enjoyment... Good story, from start to finish, serious story lined with fine humour... My favourite city in the world, Paris, American Library, WWII, Jews, friendships, hardships, strong emotions, and many life situations that can't be watched as black or white... there is also a bit of grey... Only the true book lovers can understand passion for books and risks to save them... Two parallel stories, the one in Paris during WWII and another 40 years The reading completed, 4 blissful days of pure enjoyment... Good story, from start to finish, serious story lined with fine humour... My favourite city in the world, Paris, American Library, WWII, Jews, friendships, hardships, strong emotions, and many life situations that can't be watched as black or white... there is also a bit of grey... Only the true book lovers can understand passion for books and risks to save them... Two parallel stories, the one in Paris during WWII and another 40 years later in Montana are well led... With all the teenage ailings well-crafted :) If you liked “Sarah's Key” by Tatiana de Rosney you will love this book too... #mustread

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Thanks to Hachette Australia, NetGalley and Janet Skeslien Charles for my copy of The Paris Library. Paris, 1939: Odile Souchet is a girl obsessed with both the Dewey Decimal System and her boyfriend Paul and has just been employed as a librarian at the American Library in Paris. With the shadow of another war looming, she and her parents are worried about her twin brother Remy and of course he joins the French army. The German army easily overcome the Maginot Line, they march into Paris and the Thanks to Hachette Australia, NetGalley and Janet Skeslien Charles for my copy of The Paris Library. Paris, 1939: Odile Souchet is a girl obsessed with both the Dewey Decimal System and her boyfriend Paul and has just been employed as a librarian at the American Library in Paris. With the shadow of another war looming, she and her parents are worried about her twin brother Remy and of course he joins the French army. The German army easily overcome the Maginot Line, they march into Paris and the Parisians are now living in a city with new rules and regulations. Guided by the directress Miss Reader, the library has already started to hide many of the thousands of precious books and the librarians deliver books to Jewish people who can no longer use the library and soldiers convalescing in hospital. When the war finally ends instead of celebrating Odile is devastated she has been betrayed by the person she thought she could trust and loved. Montana, 1983: Lily Froid is a lonely teenager; she is doing a school project and decides to ask her elderly neighbor Odile some questions. Odile is a widow; they refer to her in town as the war bride, she arrived in 1945 married to Buck Gustafson and no one knows anything about her life before moving to Montana? When Lily’s mother Brenda becomes ill, Odile is there for her and after her mum passes away she’s someone who she can talk to and confined in. One day Lily crosses the line by snooping into Mrs. Gustafson past and she does uncover things about her neighbor’s life in Paris during WW II and has her invading her friend’s privacy ended their friendship? The story focuses on the complex relationships between the main characters in the book, too many to mention, it has a dual timeline and I had no trouble following it. The Paris Library is an unforgettable story about choices, friendship, loyalty, family, deceit, loss, betrayal and books. Heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest of places and that’s the library. I gave The Paris Library five stars, I have shared my review on Goodreads, NetGalley, Twitter, Australian Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and my blog. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    What a beautifully written story! I devoured The Paris Library in just two sittings. I loved the story of Odile and everything that came with it. I had a soft spot for Paul as that's also my husband's name. I also really enjoyed the relationship between Odile and her twin brother, Remy. A truly strong set of characters inside these pages.... my only complaint, I still wanted more! I felt such a connection to the characters and was sad when the story ended. We're all readers here ... who doesn't What a beautifully written story! I devoured The Paris Library in just two sittings. I loved the story of Odile and everything that came with it. I had a soft spot for Paul as that's also my husband's name. I also really enjoyed the relationship between Odile and her twin brother, Remy. A truly strong set of characters inside these pages.... my only complaint, I still wanted more! I felt such a connection to the characters and was sad when the story ended. We're all readers here ... who doesn't love a story about a group of librarians who join the resistance and work together to save a library during the War? Based on real events this is a must read for any Historical Fiction lover! The story alternates between the years 1939 - Odile in Paris and 1983 - Lily in Montana. The relationship that forms between these two women is a truly fascinating one. Huge thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for my review copy!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    A story told in two separate timeframes – 1939 and 1983, and in two very different places – Paris, France and Froid, Montana, from the perspectives of two different women – Odile Souchet whose story spans the two timeframes, and her young neighbor Lily, who is at the age where bodies are beginning to change and the interest in boys and girls are front and center of many of her classmates. While her friends are busy with boys, Lily feels excluded and befriends her neighbor, eventually taking Fren A story told in two separate timeframes – 1939 and 1983, and in two very different places – Paris, France and Froid, Montana, from the perspectives of two different women – Odile Souchet whose story spans the two timeframes, and her young neighbor Lily, who is at the age where bodies are beginning to change and the interest in boys and girls are front and center of many of her classmates. While her friends are busy with boys, Lily feels excluded and befriends her neighbor, eventually taking French lessons from her. When Lily’s mother dies, and her father remarries quickly, Lily takes refuge in the acceptance she finds in Odile, and treasures the moments she spends with Odile learning to speak French. In 1939 Paris, Odile’s life is very different, her father is a banker, and they live a comfortable life, money isn’t prominently displayed, but it isn’t a worry, either. Her father brings home several men for family dinners over time, hoping to find her a suitable husband who will be able to provide for her as he has. Odile, on the other hand, wants more than anything to work at the American Paris Library, applies for a job there, and is soon after hired. It isn’t long before Odile’s brother Remy enlists, the German Occupation of Paris begins, and the atmosphere of Paris and the library changes. Tensions build, and restrictions are put in place by the Germans, but Odile and the other librarians have already set in motion measures to protect some of the more treasured books. When Jews are no longer allowed to check books out from the library, Odile and friends, at great risk to themselves, bring the books to them. Meanwhile, Odile’s father has managed to bring home another potential suitor, and this time something clicks. I loved the occasional quotes from classics inserted throughout, as one would float through Odile’s thoughts periodically. I loved the relationship between Odile and Lily, their relationship reminded me so much of my relationship with my godmother, who lived next door and was really more like a mother to me. I loved how the author portrayed these librarians, basing this story on the real librarians who lived through these years, and actually did defy the Nazis by making sure all had access to literature through their underground book-lending service. Some of the Parisians were happy to be rid of those deemed ‘undesirables’ by the Nazis, which seems relevant these days, but the main focus of this story was on the library, the books, the beauty of literature, and the hope it offers even in dark times. Pub Date: 02 Feb 2021 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Atria Books via NetGalley

  14. 4 out of 5

    Virginie *No more time to write reviews for the moment :( *

    So glad I've been approved for an ARC on Netgalley! Can't wait to read it!

  15. 4 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    In my quest to read WWII-era books with perspectives that I have not read before, I was happy to read The Paris Library. In 1939 Paris, the future looks bright for Odile Souchet. She has just been hired by the American Library in Paris and is now part of an exciting world of book lovers including librarians, writers, diplomats and intellectuals. But as the Nazis invade Paris, the world around her drastically changes. Not only are people being persecuted but there is a threat to her beloved libra In my quest to read WWII-era books with perspectives that I have not read before, I was happy to read The Paris Library. In 1939 Paris, the future looks bright for Odile Souchet. She has just been hired by the American Library in Paris and is now part of an exciting world of book lovers including librarians, writers, diplomats and intellectuals. But as the Nazis invade Paris, the world around her drastically changes. Not only are people being persecuted but there is a threat to her beloved library and its thousands of treasured books. The story takes us to 1983 in Montana, a world far from Paris. Odile is now a lonely widow. She develops a close bond with Lily, a young teenager, who is facing many challenges including a dying mother. Lily is very smart and is intrigued by this mysterious old woman who is clearly hiding many secrets. Odile sees a lot of herself in Lily. Their relationship is endearing. As much as this is a wartime tale, the elements of friendship, love and betrayal provide the main appeal. While the story of Odile is fiction, many of the colorful characters from the American Library were real and exhibited great heroism in the face of the enemy showing their love for books. They managed to keep the Library open during the war and fearlessly brought books to Jewish members after the Nazis banned them from using the library. The Paris Library was a little slow starting but the pace picked up providing an interesting and worthwhile read. Many thanks to Atria Books, NetGalley and the author for an advance copy. A review will be posted at MicheleReader.com prior to its publication date.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Thanks to Hachette Australia, NetGalley and Janet Skeslien Charles for my copy of The Paris Library. Paris, 1939: Odile Souchet is a girl obsessed with both the Dewey Decimal System and her boyfriend Paul and has just been employed as a librarian at the American Library in Paris. With the shadow of another war looming, she and her parents are worried about her twin brother Remy and of course he joins the French army. The Nazis easily overcome the Maginot Line, they march into Paris and the Parisi Thanks to Hachette Australia, NetGalley and Janet Skeslien Charles for my copy of The Paris Library. Paris, 1939: Odile Souchet is a girl obsessed with both the Dewey Decimal System and her boyfriend Paul and has just been employed as a librarian at the American Library in Paris. With the shadow of another war looming, she and her parents are worried about her twin brother Remy and of course he joins the French army. The Nazis easily overcome the Maginot Line, they march into Paris and the Parisians are now living in a city with new rules and regulations. Guided by the directress Miss Reader, the library has already started to hide many of the thousands of precious books and the librarians deliver books to Jewish people who can no longer use the library and soldiers convalescing in hospital. When the war finally ends instead of celebrating Odile is devastated she has been betrayed by the person she thought she could trust and loved. Montana, 1983: Lily Froid is a lonely teenager; she is doing a school project and decides to ask her elderly neighbor Odile some questions. Odile is a widow; they refer to her in town as the war bride, she arrived in 1945 married to Buck Gustafson and no one knows anything about her life before moving to Montana? When Lily’s mother Brenda becomes ill, Odile is there for her and after her mum passes away she’s someone who she can talk to and confined in. One day Lily crosses the line by snooping into Mrs. Gustafson past and she does uncover things about her neighbor’s life in Paris during WW II and has her invading her friend’s privacy ended their friendship? The story focuses on the complex relationships between the main characters in the book, too many to mention, it has a dual timeline and I had no trouble following it. The Paris Library is an unforgettable story about choices, friendship, loyalty, family, deceit, loss, betrayal and books. Heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest of places and that’s the library. All thoughts expressed in this review are my own and I gave The Paris Library five stars.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

    The Paris Library might just be my most favorite read of 2020! I devoured this story, I couldn't get enough and it's one of those books that grab you deep inside your soul so hard that you wish the book would never end. These are the books I wish were in a series, I want more! Based on real actual events and people, the author did an amazing job with her research. I fell so far into the story I'm not sure I can pick up another book for a few days. I literally feel like I was taken back in time t The Paris Library might just be my most favorite read of 2020! I devoured this story, I couldn't get enough and it's one of those books that grab you deep inside your soul so hard that you wish the book would never end. These are the books I wish were in a series, I want more! Based on real actual events and people, the author did an amazing job with her research. I fell so far into the story I'm not sure I can pick up another book for a few days. I literally feel like I was taken back in time to the 1940s and the characters were my real life friends. This was a powerful story that will stay with me. Thank you netgally and the publisher for allowing me to fall into an amazing story I won't soon forget. I can't wait to get my hands on a physical copy, as this is one of those books I must have in my collection.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bam cooks the books ;-)

    How exciting to find a work of historical fiction set in Paris and dealing with WWII that brings something new to light. The focus of this story is the American Library in Paris and a young woman librarian named Odile who is hired to begin working in Periodicals in February of 1939. The Director of the library is a brilliant American woman named Miss Reeder who says she believes in the power of books and in the library to make knowledge available to all. As war closes in on their city and the Ge How exciting to find a work of historical fiction set in Paris and dealing with WWII that brings something new to light. The focus of this story is the American Library in Paris and a young woman librarian named Odile who is hired to begin working in Periodicals in February of 1939. The Director of the library is a brilliant American woman named Miss Reeder who says she believes in the power of books and in the library to make knowledge available to all. As war closes in on their city and the Germans crack down on what books are permitted and who is allowed to read them, the librarians find ways to get books into the hands of people who so desperately want them: 'Books (are) the fresh air breathed in to keep the heart beating, to keep the brain imagining, to keep hope alive.' In challenging times such as we are currently facing, this resonated with me as so true. 'You're nothing without principles. Nowhere without ideals. No one without courage.' But who can stand in judgment of other people for their mistakes in desperate times? Is there room for forgiveness, compassion, understanding in our hearts? Odile with her youthful lack of life experience, struggles with these concepts. Perhaps most importantly, she may need to forgive herself. But there are actually two stories here--the second set in Montana in the 1980s where a young girl named Lily becomes fascinated with her elderly neighbor, a widow living alone. How did the elegant Frenchwoman end up here? As they become friends, can Odile help Lily avoid making similar mistakes in her life? She often tells her friend to put herself in other's shoes--or as the French say, in their skin. Both stories were quite nice but I felt the second storyline was not really necessary and was rather a distraction from what I was really interested in reading about--that is, what was going on at the library in Paris! I disliked the choices Odile makes and the mess she creates. Did she live up to the ideals she found in her favorite books? Very close to a 5-star read if not for these details. I received an arc of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinions. Many thanks for the opportunity!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    The Paris Library was sent to me as an advanced reader copy, so I might be able to create some buzz and excitement for it. It is due for entry in June! I hope I do the review justice. Paris, Books, WWII resistance, this book has all the elements I love! Hits all the notes for me. Dual timeline, where of course the historical story is the center of the tale. This is a book for readers who understand books and libraries and the appeal of the people who frequent these places for refuge, learning, an The Paris Library was sent to me as an advanced reader copy, so I might be able to create some buzz and excitement for it. It is due for entry in June! I hope I do the review justice. Paris, Books, WWII resistance, this book has all the elements I love! Hits all the notes for me. Dual timeline, where of course the historical story is the center of the tale. This is a book for readers who understand books and libraries and the appeal of the people who frequent these places for refuge, learning, and connection of all kinds. What I learned at the end of the book, was that all of the characters and events related to the American Library in Paris during the Second World War were true events and people. I believe only our heroine Odile is fictional. Books and their communities were at the center of the resistance in this moment, and people risked their lives for their subscribers and each other, in many untold ways. The library was more than a home for these librarians. For each, it was a refuge and a soul and community wrapped into one, and this is where the writing shone. When it spoke of the relationship of the people to the books and the library and what it meant to them. That spoke far more beautifully than the plot. But speaking of the plot, here is what stayed with me. Heroes and Heroines that are flawed. That have petty jealousies and behavior. That sometimes the best of them shone. Sometimes young people, people are also scared, self-interested, and vulnerable to ego. We have seen so many stories where brave men and women risk anything for honor, freedom, virtue, etc. What felt real to me about this one, is that our heroes and heroines are ordinary, and therefore flawed and imperfect. But there are lessons learned, some the hard way. This story was less come see how noble and brave I am, to lets see the human side of people put in difficult positions, and how they ultimately choose. I had a lot of empathy for all of the characters involved. This is the kind of courage one shows when instead of the fantastical 17 year old hero or heroine, its the one doing their best in impossible circumstances and life too young to metabolize. I liked it even more after its pages closed, but I had to adjust to the change and the realness of it. I think its worth checking out - but only if you love books and libraries and are willing to take the risk to be human.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Although I like historical novels, I have tended to shy away from them lately. This looked interesting – based upon the story of the American Library in Paris and their role during WWII. However, I will admit that my heart did sink when I realised that, once again, this book relied upon a dual time frame, which must be the most over-used plot device of recent times. If I were not reviewing this, I would have thrown it at the wall. However, as it was on my kindle (which I obviously did not want t Although I like historical novels, I have tended to shy away from them lately. This looked interesting – based upon the story of the American Library in Paris and their role during WWII. However, I will admit that my heart did sink when I realised that, once again, this book relied upon a dual time frame, which must be the most over-used plot device of recent times. If I were not reviewing this, I would have thrown it at the wall. However, as it was on my kindle (which I obviously did not want to break) and I had to finish it, in order to review it, I did soldier on. At least both time periods featured the same main character – Odile, who we first meet when she is going for a job interview at the library. Later, we meet her as an elderly lady, living in Montana, where she intrigues the young, lonely, schoolgirl, Lily. Of course, the main storyline of the book revolves around the war years, with those in the library doing their best to keep in contact – and provide books – to their Jewish readers. This is a story of resistance, bravery and betrayal. Odile, passionate about reading and obsessed with the Dewey system, intrigued me. I used to work in a library and so I could appreciate her love of order. Although I did enjoy this, I find the dual time line distracting and unnecessary and do not like the direction that historical fiction is taking as it is becoming very formulaic. I think the amazing work of the American Library in Paris was interesting enough to merit a novel, without the reader having to wander into another time zone. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley to review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Author Janet Skeslien Charles worked at the American Library in Paris as a project manager. While working there, she learned about the Library’s operations during World War II from her colleagues. Their stories about the dedication of the library staff and its valuable service inspired her novel. This beautifully written story alternates between the lives of two main characters. Odile Souchet worked as a librarian at the American Library in Paris during World War II. After the war, Odile moved to Author Janet Skeslien Charles worked at the American Library in Paris as a project manager. While working there, she learned about the Library’s operations during World War II from her colleagues. Their stories about the dedication of the library staff and its valuable service inspired her novel. This beautifully written story alternates between the lives of two main characters. Odile Souchet worked as a librarian at the American Library in Paris during World War II. After the war, Odile moved to a small Montana town with her new husband. There, Odile befriends her young neighbor, Lily, an impulsive teen who yearns to leave her small town for the excitement of bigger cities. Odile becomes a mentor to Lily, in whom she sees parallels to her own youth. It’s hard to put this book down as Odile’s life story slowly unfolds! Ms. Charles combines fact with fiction as she incorporates some of the real Paris Library employees into the story. With a real sense of time and place, it’s a story of love, relationships, family, and sacrifice, as well as a love of reading and libraries. It’s an unforgettable story that would appeal to readers of historical fiction - don’t pass this one up! Thank you to Net Galley, Atria Bookis, Simon & Schuster, and author Janet Skeslian Charles for giving me the opportunity to read the ARC of this unforgettable novel.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Genevieve Graham

    Absolutely delightful story - stories - from the first page to the last. Odile was a wonderful lead, with her contagious energy and insatiable curiosity, then her wisdom and generosity later in life. I adored the menagerie of colourful ‘subscribers’, those who, like Odile, put their lives on the line to preserve the sanctity of the library and every word contained therein from the unthinkable actions of the enemy. I 100% recommend this book to anyone who understands the magic of books, friendshi Absolutely delightful story - stories - from the first page to the last. Odile was a wonderful lead, with her contagious energy and insatiable curiosity, then her wisdom and generosity later in life. I adored the menagerie of colourful ‘subscribers’, those who, like Odile, put their lives on the line to preserve the sanctity of the library and every word contained therein from the unthinkable actions of the enemy. I 100% recommend this book to anyone who understands the magic of books, friendships, and love in the face of evil.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles is a captivating read about friendship, family, loss and extreme courage. You will laugh, you will cry, you will feel outrage but mostly you will feel one with the characters. Charles has crafted this novel in parallel stories: one story in Paris during WWII and the second in Montana in the eighties. From the beautiful cover to the well developed characters and vivid descriptions, the reader will travel back and experience and appreciate all the heartbr The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles is a captivating read about friendship, family, loss and extreme courage. You will laugh, you will cry, you will feel outrage but mostly you will feel one with the characters. Charles has crafted this novel in parallel stories: one story in Paris during WWII and the second in Montana in the eighties. From the beautiful cover to the well developed characters and vivid descriptions, the reader will travel back and experience and appreciate all the heartbreaking experiences of Odile. I enjoyed the mini French lessons as they made the storyline very authentic. I also enjoyed the refresher course of the Dewey Decimal System. 840 (French) + 813(American) + 30234 (Friendship) = 1955.34 (Worthy Books. It may have been overdone at times, but still enjoyable. This novel should be a strong book club contender when it goes on sale June 2020. Thank you Net Galley and Atria Books for giving me the opportunity to read this memorable novel. It is a historical fiction gem.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kylie H

    The Paris Library is based on fact and an actual library that ran during the WWII occupation of Paris. Odile Souchet only ever wanted to work at this library and had trained as a librarian specifically for this. The story is told in parallel time lines, one during the war and the other in the 80's which finds Odile living as a mysterious widow in Montana. Lily as a young neighbour of Odile befriends her and her story starts to unravel. Together these two unlikely friends help each other as both d The Paris Library is based on fact and an actual library that ran during the WWII occupation of Paris. Odile Souchet only ever wanted to work at this library and had trained as a librarian specifically for this. The story is told in parallel time lines, one during the war and the other in the 80's which finds Odile living as a mysterious widow in Montana. Lily as a young neighbour of Odile befriends her and her story starts to unravel. Together these two unlikely friends help each other as both deal with grief and loss. However, when Lily oversteps a boundary and shatters Odile's trust the friendship is tested to the maximum. This is also a book about books with a large library right at the very centre of the story and all of the incredible characters who are drawn to this library. A well told and intriguing story about friends, that also deals with the occupation, trust, betrayal, love and loss, and most importantly books! Thank you Hachette Australia and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this digital ARC for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Erin Clemence

    Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review. Expected pub date: Feb. 2. 2021 It’s 1939 and Paris is on the brink of way. Odile Souchet lands her dream job at the American Library, and spends the days among its patrons and her true loves; books. However, things change quickly when her twin brother, Remy, joins the war effort and soon, the library itself is under attack as the Nazis frequently raid the library, Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review. Expected pub date: Feb. 2. 2021 It’s 1939 and Paris is on the brink of way. Odile Souchet lands her dream job at the American Library, and spends the days among its patrons and her true loves; books. However, things change quickly when her twin brother, Remy, joins the war effort and soon, the library itself is under attack as the Nazis frequently raid the library, destroying or taking away the “unapproved” books. Odile now spends her days hiding the most beloved tomes, and carrying novels to Jews who have been banned from accessing the library. In 1983 in Montana, Lily is a teenager dealing with the recent death of her mother, her father’s remarriage, and the small-town gossip that invades her every day high school life. Desperate for attention, she befriends the eccentric neighbour next door, a French ex-pat named Odile. Lily soon becomes infatuated with Odile’s life during the way, but she knows Odile has secrets she is keeping from everyone. The importance of books during times of strife seems to be a common theme in a lot of the books I have read this year. From “The Giver of Stars” to “The Little Bookshop on the Seine”, many authors are trying to reconnect readers with the importance of books, beyond the simple enjoyment one experiences. Books form communities, link kindred spirits, and spread knowledge and information. In fact, they are indeed so powerful that in many eras throughout history, they have been banned and/or burned, and many people have been denied access. It is books like these that I find so important, especially in the world we live in today. Odile is a great character, trying to find her independence as a war wages around her. She manages her love of books and her romantic love with Paul, a policeman, desperately hoping her brother Remy will return safely from the war. Lily also struggles with grief, loss and unrequited love, and she forms a deep connection with Odile through their shared love of literature. The ending of the novel touches on how things can change in an instant, how decisions can alter the course of our lives, and how simply reaching out to others can have a greater impact than we can imagine. Well-written and well-researched, “The Paris Library” by Janet Skeslien Charles is a powerful story about the love of books, the tragedies of war, and the incredible power of the human spirit. Books connect us, books save us, books allow us to escape. In the times we live in today, it is more important than ever that we remember this.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kerrin Parris

    The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles is about the American Library Paris (ALP), which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. The author, who worked at the ALP, has created a beautiful work of fiction that incorporates many of the actual employees of the library during World War II. In the beginning of the war, the library sent over 20,000 books to French, British, and Czechoslovakian troops and the Foreign Legion. After the German occupation of France, the library was able to remain The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles is about the American Library Paris (ALP), which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. The author, who worked at the ALP, has created a beautiful work of fiction that incorporates many of the actual employees of the library during World War II. In the beginning of the war, the library sent over 20,000 books to French, British, and Czechoslovakian troops and the Foreign Legion. After the German occupation of France, the library was able to remain open as long as it did not circulate banned books or allow Jews to enter. The librarians regularly defied the Nazis to make sure all subscribers, including the Jewish ones, were able to have books to read. The ALP staff’s dedication reminds us of how literature binds us all together. The main character of the novel is Odile, who was an ALP librarian during World War II, but is now a lonely widow living in Froid, Montana in the 1980s. The 1980s story centers around Odile’s relationship with a teenage girl, Lily, who lives next door. The two become close, with Odile teaching Lily to speak French. Odile can see Lily making some of the same mistakes Odile made as a young woman and gently tries to put Lily on a different course. The World War II plot centers around the emotions of being in an occupied country. What makes a friend, what is loyalty, who is a traitor, what is love, and how to forgive are all questions pondered. Odile is forced to face these questions along with learning the importance of keeping secrets. When she fails, her life is never the same. 5-Stars. Thank you to #NetGalley and #AtriaBooks, for my advanced reader copy of this novel. The expected publication date is February 2, 2021. If you enjoy historical fiction, be sure to add this to your To Be Read list.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Natasha Lester

    Paris and libraries - what's not to love?! I knew nothing about the American Library in Paris before I started the book and I truly enjoyed this insight into the wartime activities of the library and its staff.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lorna

    The Paris Library is an historical fiction novel by Janet Skeslien Charles centering around The American Library in Paris during World War II during the occupation of the Nazis in Paris and the subsequent efforts of the courageous American Library staff to not only keep the library open, but to provide books and research to their Jewish subscribers as well as the soldiers at the front and in the hospitals. We first are introduced in 1939 to Odile Souchet, a recent graduate of library school and The Paris Library is an historical fiction novel by Janet Skeslien Charles centering around The American Library in Paris during World War II during the occupation of the Nazis in Paris and the subsequent efforts of the courageous American Library staff to not only keep the library open, but to provide books and research to their Jewish subscribers as well as the soldiers at the front and in the hospitals. We first are introduced in 1939 to Odile Souchet, a recent graduate of library school and infatuated with the Dewey Decimal System used at the American Library in Paris as she feels that it brings order to chaos. Odile has fond memories of the library where she was frequently taken as a child by her Aunt Cara. Fluent in English as well as French, she prevails in obtaining the job of her dreams at the American Library in Paris. All of the diverse personalities in the library are a delightful addition to the book and many based on actual members of the staff during the war. A second storyline takes place in the early 1980's in a small town in Montana where a widowed Odile befriends a young neighbor. The author researched this book extensively, in fact, even working at The American Library in 2010. It was at this time that she became aware of the Library's history during the occupation of Paris. It was a very interesting and somewhat different focus of the French Resistance during World War II. I enjoyed the book. A special thanks to Atria Books and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of The Paris Library.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    I have been on self imposed moratorium of WWII novels (so many of them) but this one featured a library so I decided to break my roadblock. I am so glad I did. This is a delightful, heart warming book that I enjoyed from beginning to end. How can you not love a main character who thinks in the Dewey Decimal System? The novel follows Odile from her first job at the American Library in Paris during WWII and then alternates with her life in Montana in 1983. Both are fascinating but the cast of cha I have been on self imposed moratorium of WWII novels (so many of them) but this one featured a library so I decided to break my roadblock. I am so glad I did. This is a delightful, heart warming book that I enjoyed from beginning to end. How can you not love a main character who thinks in the Dewey Decimal System? The novel follows Odile from her first job at the American Library in Paris during WWII and then alternates with her life in Montana in 1983. Both are fascinating but the cast of characters at the Library makes it especially interesting. I was interested in the ending to discover that they were based on real people. Odile has a twin brother, Remy, who enlists in the French Army to the family's consternation. Her father is a police chief and brings home policeman to eat dinner and meet his daughter. On the fourteenth meal he finds one she likes. I love how much book talk is done and that she has a favorite dead author and a favorite live author. I love how she is constantly thinking of where things go in the Dewey Decimal System. I like that she is a fully developed character that makes good choices and bad choices. I like her friendship with her young neighbor in Montana, Lily. This is a rich, rewarding book that is joy for people who like to read, or to learn history or have friendships or just about everyone. It's a lovely, complex novel that I am so glad I read. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    This was a Goodreads giveaway so thanks once again to Goodreads and to Simon & Schuster Canada for the ARC. The book arrived wrapped up in very attractive American Library in Paris wrapping paper which was a very nice touch. I felt like one of Odile's out-of-town subscribers! I'd never heard of this author or this book when I entered the giveaway but I can't express strongly enough how lucky I consider myself. It was an excellent story and I absolutely loved all the characters, especially Odile This was a Goodreads giveaway so thanks once again to Goodreads and to Simon & Schuster Canada for the ARC. The book arrived wrapped up in very attractive American Library in Paris wrapping paper which was a very nice touch. I felt like one of Odile's out-of-town subscribers! I'd never heard of this author or this book when I entered the giveaway but I can't express strongly enough how lucky I consider myself. It was an excellent story and I absolutely loved all the characters, especially Odile and Lily, all the more likeable since they are based on real people. It's one of those books that I hate to be distracted from and I was pretty weepy at times. I plan to look for her previous book, Moonlight in Odessa, but in the meantime The Paris Library is highly recommended.

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