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.
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 ... 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.
A fascinating tale, based on true events and historical characters, most notably Directress Dorothy Reeder. The prose contains many memorable quotes about books and libraries. An extraordinary story of friendship, love, sacrifice, betrayal and forgiveness, the novel makes one realise things are often not what they seem. This could be just one more in the recent influx of novels about Paris, but it is so very much more! A true gem for all historical fiction readers.
Chapters alternate between Odile in Paris, where readers get to know Boris, the Russian head librarian, eccentric patron Professor Cohen, and Odile’s twin brother, Rémy, who enlists in the French army. In Montana, Lily relies on Odile for guidance through family and friend trouble, though she senses Odile is keeping a secret. Charles brings her experience working at the American Library in Paris to this novel inspired by real people, that is a love letter to Paris, the power of books, and the beauty of intergenerational friendship.