A moving and entrancing novel set in Paris during World War II about an American woman, a dashing pilot, and a young Jewish girl whose fates unexpectedly entwine—perfect for the fans of Kristen Hannah’s The Nightingale and Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls, this is “an emotional, heart-breaking, inspiring tribute to the strength of the human spirit and the enduring power of love” (Mariah Stewart, New York Times bestselling author).
When Ruby first marries the dashing Frenchman she meets in a coffee shop, she pictures a life strolling arm in arm along French boulevards, awash in the golden afternoon light. But it’s 1938, and war is looming on the horizon.
Unfortunately, her marriage soon grows cold and bitter, her husband Marcel, distant and secretive—all while the Germans flood into Paris, their sinister swastika flags waving in the breeze. When Marcel is killed, Ruby discovers the secret he’d been hiding—he was a member of the French resistance—and now she is determined to take his place.
She becomes involved in hiding Allied soldiers—including a charming RAF pilot—who have landed in enemy territory. But her skills are ultimately put to the test when she begins concealing her twelve-year-old Jewish neighbor, Charlotte, whose family was rounded up by the Gestapo. Ruby and Charlotte become a little family, but as the German net grows tighter around Paris, and the Americans debate entering the combat, the danger increases. No one is safe.
“Set against all the danger and drama of WWII Paris, this heartfelt novel will keep you turning the pages until the very last word” (Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author).
Harmel (The Sweetness of Forgetting) injects new life into a well-worn story in this hopeful three-voiced tale about the struggle to find normalcy amid the horrors of WWII. On a damp, blustery afternoon in 1930s New York, Ruby Henderson meets a handsome Frenchman in a cafe. Swept off her feet and into a whirlwind marriage (and relocation to Paris), Ruby quickly learns that her storybook romance may be spoiled by external forces as Europe topples into war. Ruby's story's emotional core is her struggle to establish her own identity and help others who are less fortunate, despite the growing dangers to herself. Harmel treats this subject with great care; although Ruby's story is set in the past, the values by which she lives feel current. Unfortunately, the second narrator, Ruby's young Jewish neighbor Charlotte Dacher, receives wobbly treatment, with a narrative voice that never quite lands. The third major point of view comes from tender-hearted, attractive RAF pilot Thomas Clarke, who helps Ruby's story progress but is insufficiently fleshed out on his own. Harmel's emotionally fraught story hammers home the message that each person has a unique opportunity to stand against injustice. This is a celebration of those, like Ruby, who found the courage to face life head-on.
The room on Rue Amelie
Changing what I said about the first chapter. Does not give every’ thing away. A good book
Your heart is invested immediately
Heartbreaking and gripping. I read it in 24 hours, couldn’t put it down.
I don’t leave a lot of reviews, but let me tell you- I couldn’t put this book down! I was reading it everywhere I went! By the end, I was sobbing (which is a big deal because I don’t cry at books and movies that often). Highly recommend.