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.
Heartfelt sorry of average French citizens who risked their lives too help the war effort.
Lovely book about love and hope amidst WWII. Ruby is a character you cheer for, feel with, dream with.
Heartbreaking, enlightening at the same time. So thankful to know we won the war before reading, or I would have cried all the way through.
Thank you for a great read!!!!
This book was so real to me and I felt such conviction to each character.. I loved this book, it reminds us of a terrible time in history but one we should never forget.
I hope Ruby and Thomas found each other on the other side ❤️
Lovely story by a great story teller
Lots of history, lots of love, lots of hope. People can be horrible and people can be good. We all have to chose. This is mostly a story about people who chose to love good. And I too believe I will be with my true love for eternity.