Ellen Feldman comes to the blog with a story of survival and adaption, set in Occupied Paris and one decade later in New York City with
Paris Never Leaves You
Charlotte and her now teen daughter Vivienne survived the occupation and find themselves some years later in a far better position living in New York, with Charlotte working at a publishing house. The story of how they arrived in New York, along with the struggles during the occupation and Charlotte’s clear statement that she didn’t know she was Jewish until the Germans told her, was the interwoven mystery and key point of guilt for Charlotte. Not simple survivor’s guilt that one would expect, but more nebulous and harder to grasp, adding to a tension and interest from readers.
But when Vivienne starts asking more questions about the father she never met, and Charlotte has received two letters from South America, neither she rushes to open, we start to see and understand the conflicted nature of her memories, the losses she suffered, and get a bit of insight into her determination to keep her secrets.
I am still rather torn about the story, and there are moments where Charlotte’s actions become, if not wholly immoral and dishonest, at least questionable. Even as it is clear to the reasoning: and I wanted far more of the publishing options: Charlotte managed several European-published titles that would not have otherwise been available to US readers, but the publisher, her boss and landlord, felt as if it were another ‘proximity if not self-serving’ option for Charlotte, and the romance (of which there were two) never quite felt organic or without another purpose. Still, the writing was engaging, Charlotte was flawed and indomitable, even when she was obviously struggling with memories and guilt, and the moments of history and the city of Paris, even in occupation, was lovely.
Title: Paris Never Leaves You
Author: Ellen Feldman
Genre: Assimilation, Dark-theme, Dual Timeline, Family Saga, Grief, Historic Elements, Historical Fiction, Humor elements, Post World War II, Refugee Stories, Romantic Elements
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin
Published on: 4 August, 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 7 Hours: 30 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
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.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.