This is a very good historical fiction set in Paris during WWII and is based on a true story. Odile is a young French girl who dreams of working at the American Library in Paris. She obtains her dream job, forming deep friendships with the other workers. She also starts to date a handsome police officer introduced to her by her father. When war breaks out and the Nazis occupy Paris, she and her fellow librarians are determined to keep the library open. They send valuable books out of town to safety, and they smuggle books to Jewish patrons that are forbidden from going to the library.
Lily is a lonely teenager in a small town in Montana in 1983 dreaming of being adventurous and traveling. She befriends her solitary elderly neighbor, Odile, and slowly learns how Odile went from having a life in Paris to being a widow in a small town in Montana.
This is a beautifully written book. The story slowly unfolds and the time line jumps back and forth between Odile’s life in Paris during WWII and Lily’s life in Montana in 1983. The author does a fantastic job of developing Odile and Lily’s characters, as well as building the characters around them. Normally I’m impatient with books that are slower in pace than other books I read, like fantasy and mystery books, but the author does such a great job that it didn’t bother me. Odile and Lily are both impetuous and allow jealousy to get the better of them, and the way that Odile coaxes Lily to be more mindful of her actions is beautiful to read. I highly recommend you read this book.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and Atria Books. All opinions are my own.