Book: The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 2021
Source: e-book from the library
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.
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?