Publisher and Publication Date: Simon and Schuster. February 2, 2021.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Source: NetGalley, eBook, Kindle edition. I received a complimentary eBook copy from NetGalley, I was not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of historical fiction, World War II, and enjoy women’s stories.
This book will be published in 10 months. I had the chance to read it through NetGalley.
Author’s site at Goodreads
Story number one, World War II.
Odile Souchet (pronounced Oh-deal) is a young woman who lives and breathes the Dewey Decimal Classification (the library system of organizing books.) When the story begins she interviews for a job as the Directress of the American Library in Paris, France. Her father works in the police department in Paris. Odile has a twin brother who is a student. Their mother is a delicate woman who is compliant and submissive to the husband.
Story number two, 1980s.
Lily is a teenage girl living in Froid, Montana. She is an only child. Her mother is in poor health. Her father works in a bank. Lily has an eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Gustafson. The two become friends at just the right time.
The first point I love about this story is usually when there is two different characters with two time periods, I have to guess how this story is going to intersect with the two characters, and why the two characters need one another. I was shown right away in
The Paris Library the purpose of the two characters. This is a breath of fresh air in a stagnant pool of dual time periods of characters who go back and forth. I love that right from the beginning the two characters have purpose for the relationship. It’s actually a lovely relationship of encouragement, comfort, companionship, and devotion.
A second reason I love this story is Odile’s personality. Odile is a young woman. Often young women are shown either extremely naïve or extremely independent. Odile is in the middle. She is a young woman with education and a career that gives her a bit of freedom and independence. She still lives at home and under her parent’s rules. She also has little experience with romantic relationships. However, she is a careful person. She is observant and waits to make a decision. She does not immediately act on feelings.
I love the conflict between the two women: Odile and Lily. Even the best of friends have misunderstandings and situations that require good communication. Their story is a teaching element for the book.
I love how Skeslien weaved in several sub stories. For example: a romantic relationship with a German enemy. And, an older French woman’s perspective on marriage.
I enjoyed reading the story of Odile more than Lily. Lily is a solid character, but I was drawn to Odile.
I could go on and on about this story because it’s wonderful!