Published by Gallery Books on March 27th 2018
Genres: Literary Fiction
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For fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls, this powerful novel of fate, resistance, and family—by the international bestselling author of The Sweetness of Forgetting and When We Meet Again—tells the tale of an American woman, a British RAF pilot, and a young Jewish teenager whose lives intersect in occupied Paris during the tumultuous days of World War II.
When newlywed Ruby Henderson Benoit arrives in Paris in 1939 with her French husband Marcel, she imagines strolling arm in arm along the grand boulevards, awash in the golden afternoon light. But war is looming on the horizon, and as France falls to the Nazis, her marriage begins to splinter, too.
Charlotte Dacher is eleven when the Germans roll into the French capital, their sinister swastika flags snapping in the breeze. After the Jewish restrictions take effect and Jews are ordered to wear the yellow star, Charlotte can’t imagine things getting much worse. But then the mass deportations begin, and her life is ripped forever apart.
Thomas Clarke joins the British Royal Air Force to protect his country, but when his beloved mother dies in a German bombing during the waning days of the Blitz, he wonders if he’s really making a difference. Then he finds himself in Paris, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, and he discovers a new reason to keep fighting—and an unexpected road home.
When fate brings them together, Ruby, Charlotte, and Thomas must summon the courage to defy the Nazis—and to open their own broken hearts—as they fight to survive. Rich with historical drama and emotional depth, this is an unforgettable story that will stay with you long after the final page is turned.
#WorldWar2 #Paris #FrenchResistance #Holocaust @kristinharmel @XOXOAfterDark @GalleryBooks
You may get through The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel with one box of tissues, or you may require more. Best to get the first box ready before you even open the book. I’ve always loved stories with a WW2 setting and this one did not disappoint. Kristin Harmel has captured the essence of a time and circumstances that we can only imagine. Imagine yourself as an idealistic young American woman who has married the man of her dreams and is starting out a new life with him in his native city, Paris. Imagine yourself as a young Jewish girl who believes her life is secure in a loving family until a regime based on racial superiority and anti-semitism tells you that you are inferior. Imagine yourself as a brave young soldier who wants to do his part to keep his country safe but who begins to doubt his sense of purpose when his world and his family are irrevocably changed by war.
Ruby Benoit, Charlotte Dacher, and Thomas Clarke are the leading characters in a book that is filled with historical detail and heart-wrenching emotion. When the three come together under the worst possible circumstances, they have no way of knowing their lives will be joined forever. Each of these characters, along with others whose stories are interwoven with theirs, will touch your heart. So much courage and selflessness and love come across in the author’s words. I always wonder when I read books about this period in history if I would have had the strength that had to be present to survive the hardship and the temptation to give up and give in to a despicable enemy. The world would be a very different place without people like the ones the author portrays.
I highly recommend The Room on Rue Amélie to those who enjoy historical fiction with a bit of romance and lots of adventure. This is an absorbing tale of enduring love and people who are willing to risk everything for freedom. There are twists and turns throughout the book that will require a tissue from that box I hope you already have close by and, even though the ending is satisfying, it may require a second box.
Thanks to Gallery Books for the opportunity to read and review The Room on Rue Amélie publishing in March 2018.