Juliette and her husband Kevin are on a romantic vacation in Paris. Or at least it is supposed to be romantic but with Kevin’s attitude and lack of enthusiasm it has become anything else. Prior to returning home, she discoveries that he has been having an affair with one of their neighbors. Heartbroken and and betrayed, Juliette elects to stay in Paris for a while. Using the money from her mother’s estate, she finds a small place to stay, and goes out to explore the city with new eyes. As she is exploring, she finds herself drawn to the area where she believes to be her relatives home especially when she finds what appears to be an abandoned bookstore. It is The Forgotten Bookshop in Paris.
Once the bookstore enters the picture the story really picks up. Not that watching Juliette drop the bombshell of knowing about the affair right as they were heading to the air port wasn’t exciting. It was so well deserved. Kevin is such a pompous jerk and I hated how he treated Juliette. Learning about the history of the bookstore opened a whole new chapters. It all started in 1940 when Jacques and Mathilde were newly married and had to escape from war torn Germany to Paris. They try to start their lives together but before long the Nazi’s invade Paris and Jacques is pulled right in.
Jacques recently acquired a small shop when he moved to Paris and when renovating he created a small hidden alcove which will hold a very important role in the story. Mathilde refuses to be a pushover to the Nazi’s especially after witnessing the atrocities committed to the Persian people. Together, she and her husband begin hiding individuals to protect them from the Nazi’s. It is decided that Mathilde will take one woman with her south on a train for safety. Jacques remains in Paris, continuing to hide people in the secret room, smuggle illegal books, and care for his sick mother who is far too weak to travel.
Juliette’s present day storyline runs parallel to the past 1940s storyline and as the story progresses their histories are found to cross paths. It is told in a duel first person perspectives with Jacques and Juliette being the respective narrators. I really enjoyed both perspective as both were very strong characters. I had a feeling that their histories were going to interact and couldn’t wait to find out how. There is a sense of mystery throughout which kept me invested. Juliette’s desire to renovate and reopen the book store helped bring everything full circle.
The Lost Bookshop of Paris is just so well written. Author Daisy Wood know both of her history of WWII and her characters so perfectly, it is easy to get transported back to the past and forward to the future. This is a story of love and loss; strength and bravery; secrets, rebellion, and the truth; and war (both personal and political). If you enjoy historical fiction, this is one will not want to miss.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**