The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
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.
I received this eARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
I don’t have much to say about this book other than I think I’m done reading historical fiction novels for a while. They all feel like the same premise to me (minus The Book Thief by Zusak and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doeer which were amazing!) After I read “The Lost Apothecary” I will be taking a break from reading Historical Fiction; I just keep being disappointed by this genre. I need a break – maybe I’ll read some YA fantasy as a palate cleanser.
This book may be for others, but it was not my cup of tea.
I can see the potential that this book has; it is different from other historical fiction novels as it doesn’t heavily focus on the impact of the war on Parisians, Odile actually seems very oblivious to everything happening until she’s forced to confront it because of her actions.
I couldn’t actually tell you the plot, it felt very… ho-hum. I feel like nothing happened? I disliked the main characters Odile and Lily so much. I felt like they were both whiny and not very well-developed, very one dimensional and had no real personality to them. I understand what the author was trying to accomplish in this novel – having the setting be the American Library in Paris and having a whole range of characters and their personalities clash sounded like a good premise to me, but the execution wasn’t there. I was left wanting more; more drama, more intrigue, but I received none of that.
There wasn’t a specific moment where I was on the edge of my seat of what could happen next – it was very one note for me.
Overall it was an okay book – nothing really stood out to me now that I’m reflecting back upon it.
Let me know your thoughts below!
Cups of Tea: ☕☕☕
Publisher: Atria Books
Published: February 9, 2021