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Monday, April 23, 2018

The Room on Rue Amélie... #BookReview

About the book:
For fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls, this powerful novel of fate, resistance, and family—by the international bestselling author of The Sweetness of Forgetting and When We Meet Again—tells the tale of an American woman, a British RAF pilot, and a young Jewish teenager whose lives intersect in occupied Paris during the tumultuous days of World War II.

When newlywed Ruby Henderson Benoit arrives in Paris in 1939 with her French husband Marcel, she imagines strolling arm in arm along the grand boulevards, awash in the golden afternoon light. But war is looming on the horizon, and as France falls to the Nazis, her marriage begins to splinter, too.

Charlotte Dacher is eleven when the Germans roll into the French capital, their sinister swastika flags snapping in the breeze. After the Jewish restrictions take effect and Jews are ordered to wear the yellow star, Charlotte can’t imagine things getting much worse. But then the mass deportations begin, and her life is ripped forever apart.

Thomas Clarke joins the British Royal Air Force to protect his country, but when his beloved mother dies in a German bombing during the waning days of the Blitz, he wonders if he’s really making a difference. Then he finds himself in Paris, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, and he discovers a new reason to keep fighting—and an unexpected road home.

When fate brings them together, Ruby, Charlotte, and Thomas must summon the courage to defy the Nazis—and to open their own broken hearts—as they fight to survive. Rich with historical drama and emotional depth, this is an unforgettable story that will stay with you long after the final page is turned.

The story begins in present day and is then told in flashback.

Ruby, an American woman, marries Marcel Benoit after a rather whirlwind courtship and arrives in Paris thinking it's going to be magical. But, war is coming and as France falls and the Germans invade, Ruby begins to question her marriage because her husband is so secretive and distant. Charlotte and her family live next door. Being Jewish, they live in constant fear of arrest. Ruby and Charlotte bond over their mutual feelings of unease.

Ruby soon discovers that Marcel is a French resistance fighter sheltering British soldiers who have been shot down and are trying to get back to England. When he is caught and executed, believing in the work and refusing to return to America, Ruby begins aiding the resistance as well. When Ruby meets Thomas, a British fighter pilot she discovers in her hallway one evening, she realizes that he is special and even after he returns to England, they can't forget each other.

When Charlotte's family is arrested, Ruby takes her in and together they continue working with the resistance, helping others escape. Needing papers for themselves and those they help, Charlotte meets Lucien, a young forger who teaches her what he knows. But how long can they all do this without being found out themselves?

The treatment of the Jewish people during World War 2 was an atrocity, and this story doesn't minimize it. The story weaves history and fiction without being over-dramatic or long-winded. War brings people together. People who might not normally have been acquaintances, become friends and ultimately family.

The story has its share of heartbreak, but also hope. And instead of being depressing, it simply tugs at your heartstrings and makes you appreciate the importance of love and family and the strength of women, especially women who support and help others.

Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery Books for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Kristin Harmel on her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Read 1/18

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4/5 Stars

1 comment:

  1. I like stories told via flashbacks so think I'd like this.