Book Review : The Paris Library

The Paris Library

A Novel by Janet Skeslien Charles

I was so excited to read this book about a library in Paris in 1939. The cover art is absolutely gorgeous. Historical fiction, especially anything to do with WW2, is my go-to genre. I was especially interested to read about a library in Paris after recently finding out that my Grandmother lived in Paris in the late 1930’s. It was there that she worked for Sylvia Beach in her famous Shakespeare and Company bookshop and lending library. I hoped that reading this novel would give me some insight into what the feeling in Paris was like in the years leading up to the start of WW2.

In The Paris Library there are actually two points of time in this narrative: one being Paris in 1939, the other being Montana in 1983. The novel jumps back and forth between the two time periods. In Paris we find Odile, a lover of books who manages to find her dream job working in an American Library, however this comes during the Nazi occupation. We see the effects of Fascism on the library and the world. Years later, in the 1980’s we catch up with Odile, now an old lady, living in Montana. She is introduced to Lily, the lonely teenage girl nextdoor who is navigating so much more than just high school in America. An unlikely and beautiful friendship ensues.

Although at times I found it to be a bit slow paced, I did find The Paris Library to be a heartwarming read and the parallel time lines were easy to navigate. Overall it was a beautifully told story and I thoroughly enjoyed being transported to Paris.

I received an advanced digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. #TheParisLibrary #NetGalley

Publication Date February 2nd, 2021 : Historical Fiction

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