The Paris Library: A Novel

The Paris Library: A Novel

by Janet Skeslien Charles (Author)

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 Libraryshows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest places.

In the captivating novel "The Paris Library" by Janet Skeslien Charles, we embark on a poignant journey through war-torn Paris during World War II. It is a story of resilience, courage, and the transformative power of literature in the face of adversity. At the heart of the narrative lies Odile Souchet, a young librarian at the American Library in Paris. With Nazi forces occupying the city, Odile and her colleagues risk their lives to keep the library open and provide solace to those seeking refuge within its walls.

As the grip of German occupation tightens, Odile and her fellow librarians devise a daring plan to protect precious books from falling into the hands of the Nazis. They embark on a secret mission, hiding volumes in attics, basements, and even underground catacombs. Their actions are not without risk, and they face the constant threat of discovery and imprisonment.

Amidst the chaos and uncertainty, Odile finds solace in her friendship with Librarian Margaret Edwards, a strong and resourceful woman who inspires her to remain steadfast in her commitment to preserving literature. Together, they navigate the treacherous landscape of occupied Paris, navigating checkpoints and evading Gestapo patrols.

"The Paris Library" also sheds light on the role of books and libraries in times of war. The library becomes a sanctuary for Parisians seeking escape from the horrors of war, a place where they can find solace in the written word. Odile and her colleagues recognize the profound impact that books can have in fostering hope and resilience, and they are determined to keep the library open at all costs.

As the war progresses, Odile's world is further upended when she encounters members of the French Resistance. She is drawn into their dangerous activities, using her library skills to aid their efforts against the Nazis. The lines between her role as a librarian and her involvement in the Resistance blur, and she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue and danger.

Janet Skeslien Charles weaves a compelling tale that captures the essence of courage and resilience in the face of adversity. "The Paris Library" is not only a tribute to the power of books and libraries but also a poignant reminder of the enduring spirit of humanity even in the darkest of times.