One woman must make the hardest decision of her life in this unforgettably moving story of resistance and faith during one of the darkest times in history.
Santa Cruz, 1953. Jean-Luc is a man on the run from his past. The scar on his face is a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi occupation in France. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door.
Paris, 1944. A young Jewish woman's past is torn apart in a heartbeat. Herded onto a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.
On a darkened platform, two destinies become intertwined, and the choices each person makes will change the future in ways neither could have imagined.
Told from alternating perspectives, While Paris Slept reflects on the power of love, resilience, and courage when all seems lost. Exploring the strength of family ties, and what it really means to love someone unconditionally, this debut novel will capture your heart.
Includes a Reading Group Guide.
Good people coping with an impossible situation are at the heart of Druart's uneven debut. In occupied Paris in 1944, 21-year-old Jean-Luc works on a railway line serving a housing complex for Jews who will soon be sent to concentration camps. After he is hurt while attempting to sabotage the tracks, he is sent to a German-run hospital, where he meets 18-year-old Parisian nursing assistant Charlotte. A month later, with Jean-Luc back at the station, Jewish couple Sarah and David Laffitte are herded onto the train at Jean-Luc's station, and Sarah begs Jean-Luc to hold onto their newborn baby. Nine years later, Jean-Luc and Charlotte are living in Santa Cruz, Calif., with the Laffittes' son, Sam, when Sarah finds them, placing Jean-Luc in legal jeopardy. The action shifts gears smoothly between 1944 and 1953, as Druart explores each character's point of view, some more successfully than others, with Sam's perspective being the least convincing. The dialogue can be stilted, the characters implausibly saintly, and the plot turns on an unlikely legal decision, but the author succeeds in keeping things moving, particularly in the action-packed first half of the novel. Despite the ham-handed execution, the ethical questions raised by the narrative suggests this may do well with book clubs.
This story was so different from all the Holocaust themed books because it is from the perspective of someone who worked at a camp rather than a prisoner. Many Jewish survivors did not talk of their experiences for many years and many who settled in the USA did not share their native languages. But fortunately times and attitudes have changed. It is important to tell these stories so those who do not know will learn. Loved this book
Awesome family story
The story of a boy rescued from certain death in the camps of World War II Germany and raised in America by a couple who receive him in a shocking moment that changes all their lives forever. It moved me deeply to feel for Sam and his displacement when he is taken from the only parents he has ever known to go live with the parents who gave him life and were forced by hideous circumstances to abandon him to a stranger.