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The Paris Library
by Janet Skeslien Charles




Overview -
Instant New York Times bestseller
USA TODAY and Washington Post bestseller

#1 LibraryReads Pick
Named a Most Anticipated Book of the Year by Library Journal and Goodreads

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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More About The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

 
 
 

Overview

Instant New York Times bestseller
USA TODAY and Washington Post bestseller

#1 LibraryReads Pick
Named a Most Anticipated Book of the Year by Library Journal and Goodreads

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.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781982134198
  • ISBN-10: 1982134194
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publish Date: February 2021
  • Page Count: 368
  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.14 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

The Paris Library

One might wonder if anything new can be written about Paris, but Janet Skeslien Charles reminds us of the city’s evergreen appeal and unbounded potential for stories with The Paris Library, which tells of the very real, very beloved American Library in Paris and the role it played during World War II.

The year is 1939, and Odile Souchet is nervously reciting the Dewey Decimal System as she prepares for a job interview at the American Library. It’s not common for young ladies of her class to get jobs, but Odile is in love with books as if they were walking, breathing bodies, and she wants nothing more than to be a librarian at a place she has loved since her childhood. It’s no surprise to the reader when she lands the job.

The comfort and whimsy that young Odile once experienced at the American Library are still very much alive. However, everything changes when the Germans occupy Paris and threaten to destroy everything she holds dear. Together with the rest of the staff, Odile joins the resistance, delivering books to Jewish readers banned from entering the library. When the war eventually ends, instead of rejoicing, Odile learns of betrayals that make it impossible for her to remain in the city she loves or to work in a place she had come to know as her sanctuary.

The book skips ahead to 1983 Montana, where we find Odile living alone. In all these years of calling a small American town her home, she hasn’t managed to shake off the mystery surrounding her. When a school assignment connects a lonely and curious teenage girl named Lily with Odile, a friendship is forged, and the two slowly confront the consequences of present and past choices.

What makes The Paris Library such a tender read is Charles’ firsthand experience at the American Library, where she was the programs manager. This is where she first discovered the stories of the brave librarians who fought the Germans with nothing more than books. Her meticulous research brings these figures to life with Odile as their narrator. Furthermore, Charles’ Montana roots help shine light on the small-town life that Lily can’t wait to escape. Together the two storylines provide wonderful insight into relationships and friendships that transcend time and place.

 

BAM Customer Reviews