Book Reviews

The Paris Library- Book Review

As you all know by now that Historical Fiction is one of my favourite genres to read. I stumbled across “The Paris Library” when I was looking for more suggestion in this genre from a BookBlogger. The best part about such books is that despite being a work of fiction, these books have a touch of reality.

“The Paris Library” is based on the true events during the Second world war in Paris, circa 1939 and another half is based in 1980’s with Odile, the protagonist and her war time journey.

The Paris Library- Book review
The American Library in Paris at 10 rue de l’Élysée, 75008 Paris (1920-1936)

Odile loves books and so decides to work at an english library, the American Library called The Paris Library. During the 2nd world war, when Nazi’s attack France, a lot of turmoil is going on in Paris. But the Library decides to keep its doors open for its readers, Jewish and Soldiers too. While at the library, Odile falls in love with a police officer. She makes new friends, and also sees friendship going down and people going against one another to survive the brutalities of Nazi’s. Loved ones are at stake, people are scared for their lives, others return to their homeland.

Come to 1980’s, Odile now stays alone, and her teenage neighbor, Lily takes interest in her. She starts asking Odile about her life and as the story unfolds with each page, you will experience Odile’s journey.

The Paris Library - Book Review
American soldiers in Paris just after the armistice of World War I. The American Library in Paris was a continuation of the work of the Library War Service, which ALA created in 1917 to supply reading materials to US servicemembers stationed in Europe during the war.
Photo: American Library in Paris

I like how the author; Janet S. Charles has crafted a perfect blend of well researched facts with a mix of fiction to tell this interesting story. The Paris Library still stays under the shadow on Eiffel Tower and celebrated its 100 years in 2020. A lot of paperwork and stories about The Paris Library are available on Google to read.

The Paris Library - Book review
A reading room at the American Library in Paris, 10 rue de l’Élysée, circa 1927

The author has touched upon some interesting details about the library. She has shown female characters to be very strong and committed towards the library. With this book you will experience love, loss, deceit, commitment, and conviction. I loved how history is shared and Odile’s past is discussed through two-time frames. We all take our time to come out of loss and when one has survived through a war time, the memories can only be painful.

Head Librarian Dorothy Reeder who smuggled books to Jews during the Nazi occupation in Paris. © The American Library in Paris

I loved each page of this book. More so of the war times because, being a reader myself, I could feel the connect with Odile. Her passion for books and the commitment towards her work at the library is something I could resonate with.

So, if you like historical fiction, this book is for you. Undoubtedly a very good book that will take you through the 2nd world war and life of people in Paris.

I have also review one more Historical fiction which was partially based on true events, ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz” which you can read here.

This blog is a part of Book Marathon by

29 replies on “The Paris Library- Book Review”

Book on true stories are really interesting to read and I love such books. You penned the review in an interesting way which can increase interest among readers. Thank you for such a wonderful review.

Of late I’m getting to see many books based on true life events, and was confused not knowing which one to pick up. Your interesting review has urged me to give this a try. Thank you for the recommendation.

I too a fan of historical fiction and from your review I understood this book going to fabulous. the part where you wrote about the Paris incident and the protagonist’s war time journey has escalated my interests a lot more. Also, the picture you attested made it look much more lively. Will read it asap.

I love reading historical fictions, as i feel like these books are like time machines to take me on ride of ordinary people with extraordinary stories. Lkve the way you wrote about the book.

This review is just top level. Loved how you penned it and brought out the details I a brilliant manner. Great one

Thank you for a detailed review. I loved the concept of the book and will certainly grab this one. The whole concept of keeping the library open during the war must have been so brave.

Books base don real stories and facts always draws my attention. They are some strong plot to engage reader’s attention. My daughter is also into Historiacal fiction. If this book is good for 14 year old, I would like to get her a copy of it.

My elder one loves historical fiction genra. will surly share about this book to her. I am sure she will love it. thanks for sharing another wonderful book review. as usual, it was crisp and to the point.

Oh this is a unique book, amazing review I must say and this book looks an interesting mix of history and fiction. Personally I love reading this genre and would to know more about this Paris Library.

Thanks for the detailed review. Love the way you penned it down. I am adding this book to my list now.

I have never read historical fiction but from your review I can guess how wonderful and interesting this book is. I think my mom would love to read this book, shall get it for her. Thanks for sharing this review, Hansa.

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