The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
This is a story told in dual timelines, primarily of Odile, a librarian at the American Library in Paris during WWII. This historical part of the book shines a light on the real life people who bravely kept the library open, circulated books, and resisted the Nazis during Paris’ occupation.
There is also a modern timeline set in Montana with Lily, a girl trying to find her place who turns to her neighbour, the now elderly Odile.
I loved this book. The writing was gorgeous and was a real treat for book lovers and history buffs. Charles brought a real compassion to the war and the occupation, showing how people coped, resisted how they could, and kept going and took care of each other in terrible circumstances.
The modern part of the book was an interesting counterpoint to the history – how people judge and try to fit in.
There was some great character development, especial with Odile and I loved the 2 views of her – as a young and an elderly woman. And the friendships she developed, both in Paris and in Montana, really enhanced the human aspect of the story.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy.