In the tradition of Virginia Bailey’s Early One Morning and M. L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans, a luminous, powerful portrait of the brutality of war and the tenacity of love.
Santa Cruz 1953. Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi occupation. 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 woman’s future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to 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 entangled. Their choice will change the future in ways neither could have imagined.
Beginning on an ordinary day and ending on an extraordinary one, WHILE PARIS SLEPT is an unforgettable read.
While Paris Slept took an alternative view of World War II and the aftermath, a Jewish baby thrust into the arms of a young railway worker, his entrepid escape with his girlfriend and their subsequent life in California.
Our young railway worker Jean-Luc was a man who questioned the Nazi’s and their methods, his work on the railways an eye opener to the horrors that may await the Jews herded on its railway carriages. His girlfriend Charlotte, a health care worker in a German hospital shared his views and they made a formidable but naïve team as they defied their parents and escaped with the baby.
Their flight across the Pyrenees was wonderfully portrayed by Druart, their exhaustion, the danger a tangible presence within the narrative. Yet it wasn’t necessarily this that tugged at the emotions, but more of what happened as Jean-Luc and Charlotte settled into life in America as Druart sprang forward to 1953. The young baby, Sam, was now an all American school boy, oblivious to his dramatic start to life until Jean-Luc is arrested and accused of kidnapping Sam.
What followed was an emotional tug of war with a bewildered Sam in the middle. Druart used the voices of each of her main characters to tell their stories which gave us that closer more intimate and emotional aspect. She made you question what you would do in similar circumstances. Were the two sets of parents thinking of their own feelings, and where did Sam and his feelings fit into the whole scenario.
The officials were at times cold, their objective to get a job done, emotion left somewhere else. It was heart rending to read and that it could have actually happened made it all the more real and plausible.
I admired Druart’s narrative skill, a narrative that kept you reading, that drew you in and made you invest much angst and emotion in the characters and their story.
It was nice to see an author take on a differing aspect to the World War II and its fall out and made a welcome change.
Not an easy read but one I couldn’t put down and found totally compelling.
I would like to thank Headline for a copy of While Paris Slept to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Ruth Druart grew up on the Isle of Wight, moving away at the age of eighteen to study psychology at Leicester University. She has lived in Paris since 1993, where she has followed a career in teaching. She has recently taken a sabbatical, so that she can follow her dream of writing full-time.