An instant New York Times, Washington Post, and USA TODAY bestseller—based on the true story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris during World War II—The Paris Library is a moving and unforgettable “ode to the importance of libraries, books, and the human connections we find within both” (Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author).
Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet seems to have the perfect life with her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into the city, 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.
“A love letter to Paris, the power of books, and the beauty of intergenerational friendship” (Booklist), The Paris Library shows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest places.
Have you ever read a book that you feel like you literally dove into it? Well, that’s what happened to me when I read “The Paris Library” by Janet Skeslian Charles.
I am definitely enamored by books that have either “Paris” or “library” in the title, And Janet’s novel has proven to be a favorite of mine. I felt like I waited for this book to be released forever.
This story takes place during World War II when the Nazis overtake Paris and the Americans are asked to leave Paris for their own safety. But, the librarians stay behind. They were considered the enemies, but they were true heroes. They were delivering books secretly in Paris to the soldiers fighting the Nazis.
I donate books to Operation Paperback and it’s the same idea (donating books to the soldiers and vets), but I had no idea how long this is been going on. I fell down the rabbit hole and discover it was going on definitely for several wars. Janet informed me it probably began during World War I.
While the Nazis were banning books and banning the delivery of books we had ordinary civilians, especially women that were making these books still come alive in the eyes of the soldiers. Between the characters humanity and heroism, I was often moved to tears. I always hope that if I was alive during these times I would choose to be doing the same thing. I believe words matter, stories matter and they help us get through really tough times. What these people in the library were doing was truly insurmountable, but they never turned away from their cause.
I loved to be reminded of the old library ways, before technology. It had me reminiscing quit a bit.
I was deeply in love with the character named, Lily. She had a bit of my heart in her. I was reminded of how important it is that we learn from our elders, that we ask them questions, and that we revel in their stories, because there’s a lot for us to learn. I’m gonna say it ~ I am a Lily! #TeamLily
Janet Skeslian Charles writes with such superb intent you will be moved. You will also be surprised that she hasn’t written 20 or more books, because she’s so talented.
There’s a quote that I adore in this book, Okay there’s a few. But, there is one that I’m absolutely in love with and I carry around with me every day. I am not going to give any way, because I want the reader to be as excited as I was reading it for the first time when they’re reading the book.
What Janet has to say really matters! I highly recommend this novel and following Janet Skeslian Charles to see what she brings us next. You’ll be so glad you did.
Janet Skeslien Charles divides her time between Paris and Montana. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with family.
The backdrop of her debut novel MOONLIGHT IN ODESSA is the booming business of email-order brides, an industry where love and marriage meet sex and commerce.
Her second novel THE PARIS LIBRARY is based on the true story of the courageous librarians at the American Library in Paris during World War II. Janet learned about the story when she worked at the Library.