The Paris Library

The American Library in Paris is a real place.  This novel, though factionalized, tells the story of some real people who worked to keep the library functioning during World War II and the Nazi occupation of Paris.  They were courageous individuals who continued to bring books to Jews who were in hiding.

1939……..The story begins in Paris. The main character is Odile who is a young Parisian that works in the library. We follow her through her days from adolescence to adulthood.  We follow the many friendships Odile makes and her love relationship with Paul. Margaret, a sophisticated and unhappily married British woman, comes to volunteer at the library and she and Odile become close friends. What ensues in the following days tests the friendship and the relationships of these characters.  

1983.The story continues in Froide, Montana.  Odile arrives in the United States, but she is very secretive about her prior life.  Living next-door is a family with a young daughter who is very curious about her next-door neighbor. Lily decides to do one of her school reports on Paris during the war. She needs to interview someone and Odile seems to be the perfect candidate. That begins an incredibly close friendship and sharing of many different kinds of experiences.

I really enjoyed this novel. The intricate relationship that the author drew between books, love of reading and friendships as well as the historical background made for a very interesting book. Lots of research went into this and it shows.