The Paris Library

S. & S. Audio. Feb. 2021. 368p. 11:53 hrs. ISBN 9781797104997. $39.99. F
Based on the real-life American Library in Paris and the brave acts of its librarians during World War II, this novel begins with Odile Souchet, a young woman who dreams of being a librarian. For a short time, Odile’s life feels magical. She has a job at the American Library and a romance with a young police officer named Paul. Then the war erupts and the Nazis occupy Paris. The library can no longer circulate a range of titles, and Jewish subscribers are banned, though the librarians secretly deliver books to those who ask. This narrative alternates between the World War II timeline and 1980s Montana where Odile now lives. As she builds a relationship with her young neighbor Lily, listeners learn more about what happened during the war. The audiobook’s three narrators, Nicky Diss, Sarah Feathers, and Esther Wane, give voice to Odile, Lily, and a host of additional characters with a variety of accents; they lend a sense of authenticity to each character’s personal thoughts, as well as the dialogue between characters. An author’s note shows how the story line is connected to real events and people.
VERDICT This expertly interwoven story will be a sure hit with librarians and bibliophiles, but is also a great choice for history buffs and anyone who enjoys interconnected stories about love and friendship.
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