Author: Charles Belfoure
Publish Date: October 8, 2013 (TOMORROW!!!)
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a historical fiction fan.
- You like well rounded characters.
- You like armchair traveling.
From Goodreads.com: "Like most gentiles in Nazi-occupied Paris, architect Lucien Bernard has little empathy for the Jews. So when a wealthy industrialist offers him a large sum of money to devise secret hiding places for Jews, Lucien struggles with the choice of risking his life for a cause he doesn't really believe in. Ultimately he can't resist the challenge and begins designing expertly concealed hiding spaces—behind a painting, within a column, or inside a drainpipe—detecting possibilities invisible to the average eye. But when one of his clever hiding spaces fails horribly and the immense suffering of Jews becomes incredibly personal, he can no longer deny reality."
My Two Cents:
One of the things that I love about books about World War II is that many times they show the good side of human nature against the very dark events that happened during the war. "The Paris Architect" is a fictional tale but with all of the great historical detail and the well-rounded characters, the story feels very real and definitely shows those two sides of human nature that are so absolutely fascinating to me. This is the story of Lucien, an architect, who is sort of indifferent to the plight of the Jews in the beginning. As he begins to understand their plight more and more as the story goes on, he begins to see things a little differently. That transition is one of the things that really made the book come to life for me.
World War II historical fiction has a very special place in my heart. I love it so much. This book does it well. I think it's very easy for us to stand back from our comfortable position in 2013 and make judgements about what risks people did or did not take back then but this book really shows that things were much more murky than they seemed on the surface. We see this in the main character, Lucien. I think one of the hardest things that a writer can show in a book is growth but Belfoure definitely does this well. Lucien goes from being totally in self-preservation mode to realizing that some risks in life are truly worth it. It was a really fascinating metamorphosis to read through. In a way, I think it really endeared Lucien to me.
The historical detail in this book was fantastic. The author definitely made the setting come alive to me. You get a good feel for what France was like during World War II. I really liked the detail of Lucien's architectural life. My husband is an architect and he has really gotten me interested in learning more about architecture. Architecture is a huge part of history and the discussion of what things looked like and what things Lucien was building made things come to life.
One thing that left me wanting more was the ending but not in a bad way. I think one of the signs of a good book is when you find yourself wanting more at the end of the book. The ending was great but I wanted to see what happened afterwards (ahem, sequel, please???).
Overall, this book is truly a treat for historical fiction lovers. It's moving with great detail!
Follow the Rest of the Tour:
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