Review: Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

It’s so hard for me to turn down a story set in Paris. There’s a reason that Paris is called the city of romance and I simply love it and can hardly pass it up when a book comes around set in Paris, especially war time Paris.

This one sounded so incredibly promising that saying yes to it was easy. I love duel timeline narratives and this one sounded like it would be such a fun escape read.

This is a new to me author but she has written a few other books that I had heard of and I was eager to pick this one up and start reading.

Summary

Living through WWII working in a Paris bookstore with her young daughter, Vivi, and fighting for her life, Charlotte is no victim, she is a survivor. But can she survive the next chapter of her life?

Alternating between wartime Paris and 1950s New York publishing, Paris Never Leaves You is an extraordinary story of resilience, love, and impossible choices, exploring how survival never comes without a cost.

The war is over, but the past is never past. (summary from Goodreads) 

Review

While the summary for this one might have been short, I thought it added to the mystery and allure of this book. Charlotte sounded like a tough as nails character just from the basic short description and I was eager to read her story and find out what had happened to her.

I was so eager to read the duel narrative but I felt like the emphasis was on the war time portions rather than the aftermath and I thought the was a little limiting in some ways. I would have liked to have seen the author explore the aftermath of the war and the choices that Charlotte made in greater detail. For me I liked the war time pieces better because of this and found the New York parts to be almost distracting.

This novel also packed more of an emotional punch than I was expecting and it had a lot more plot twists that I was expecting as well. I sympathized with Charlotte and her situation and who knows what I would have done or sacrificed if I were in her same position. There were clearly no easy answers for her character and I thought that added a lot to the story and made it interesting.

While I thought that it was a worthwhile read and enjoyable, I don’t know that it lived up to my expectations. I hoped it would have been a little more balanced when it came to the duel narrative. Sometimes duel narrative doesn’t work as well as one had hoped. It wasn’t terrible by any means, but I just thought the New York parts could have been more fully realized and explored in the ways that the war time parts were. In the end I was glad that I read it and am looking forward to reading more by this author.

Book Info and Rating

Paperback, 368 pages
Expected publication: August 4th 2020 by St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN 1250622778 (ISBN13: 9781250622778)
Free review copy provided by publisher, St Martin’s, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influnced.
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: historical fiction

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