The reason I picked The Room on Rue Amelie by Kristen Harmel off of the self in the bookstore because of the photo of Paris on the cover. I had been to that beautiful city and, at that time, was planning on visiting again. Reading the blurb on the back convinced me that this was the book for me as I enjoy historical fiction.
Genre: Historical fiction, romance
This is a novel of fate, resistance and family. It tells the tale of an American woman (Ruby Henderson Benoit), a British RAF pilot (Thomas Clarke), and a young Jewish teenager (Charlotte Dacher) whose lives intersect in occupied Paris during the tumultuous days of World War II.
When newlywed Ruby Henderson Benoit arrives in Paris in 1939 with her French husband Marcel, she imagines strolling arm in arm along the grand boulevards, awash in the golden afternoon light. But war is looming on the horizon, and as France falls to the Nazis, her marriage begins to splinter, too.
Charlotte Dacher is eleven when the Germans roll into the French capital, their sinister swastika flags snapping in the breeze. After the Jewish restrictions take effect and Jews are ordered to wear the yellow star, Charlotte can’t imagine things getting much worse. But then the mass deportations begin, and her life is ripped forever apart.
Thomas Clarke joins the British Royal Air Force to protect his country, but when his beloved mother dies in a German bombing during the waning days of the Blitz, he wonders if he’s really making a difference. Then he finds himself in Paris, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, and he discovers a new reason to keep fighting—and an unexpected road home.
From the first chapter, this emotional story drew me in (I warn you to have a tissue nearby). Historical detail is intricately woven into the fabric of the story. In my mind, I am able to imagine Paris during the German occupation, as well as sense the stress the inhabitants may have felt. Harmel does not give too much historical detail. Instead the history is merely a backdrop to the lives and experiences of her characters; historical detail is referred to in their activities and in their dialogue. I loved this book. The story swept me away into a different world in a different era. I closed the last well-written page of the book with a sense of sadness; and a feeling of gratitude that I live in a city free of military occupation.
I give this novel ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 5 stars.
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018
(This novel was the 58th in my 50 book pledge for 2018)