The Paris Library #BookReview #histficreadingchallenge
Book: The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 2021
Source: e-book from the library
Summary: We meet two characters in two timelines in the first two chapters.
Odile lives in Paris in 1939 and desperately wants to work in her favorite place in the city, The American Library.
Lily is a seventh grader in a small town in Montana in 1983 and curious about things, especially about her neighbor, Mrs. Gustafson, who the townspeople call The War Bride, even though she’s old and widowed. A sneaky peek at The War Bride’s mail reveals that her first name is Odile.
Not much happens in a small town in Montana, but a lot happened in the world between 1939 and 1983. Lily wants to know how much of it happened to Odile.
Thoughts: The Paris Library charmed me on the first page when I realized that Odile, a young Parisian woman, was thinking in Dewey Decimal numbers. We know from the dates and the news what is about to befall Paris, but Odile is blissfully picturing a life surrounded by books and readers.
Eventually, I grew to love the 1983 timeline, too, and especially how two coming-of-age stories, decades and a world apart, came together.
Appeal: The Paris Library is ideal for lovers of books, Paris, or stories set during World War II.
Challenges: The WWII timeline is historical, of course. Do I have to count the 1983 timeline as historical, too? I was in college! Given that it was an era before ubiquitous mobile phones and the internet, however, it does read like a time gone by.
Have you read this book? What did you think?
I too enjoyed the WWII Paris part. I wondered why after her husband passed why she didn’t leave to a bigger city where she would be happier and fit in
I added this to my TBR list after seeing it reviewed several times last year. I still haven’t read it though.
Thanks for sharing with the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.