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.
Written by an expert whose knowledge imbues every word, this story becomes more gripping with every life the architect tries to save.
©2013 Charles Belfoure (P)2013 Random House Audio
"Words like "riveting" and "compelling" aren't strong enough to describe this remarkable novel narrated by Mark Bramhall and set in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1942." (AudioFile)
"A beautiful and elegant account of an ordinary man's unexpected and reluctant descent into heroism during the second world war." (Malcolm Gladwell)
"Belfoure writes like an up-and-coming Ken Follett ... There's plenty of detail to interest architecture buffs, too." (Booklist)
This book is definitely in my top10 out of 115 Audible books I've listened to. It's been a while since I've taken Time to recommend a book. Nice to finally find one good enough.
I couldn't put this book down. Characters were believable and interesting. Plot was great, with some twists and turns. Captured the feeling of France during the German occupation of Paris during World War, and the question of how people behave in terrible circumstances.
Most captivating and extremely informative about the horrors during the WW2 occupation of France. A most unique perspective of the conflict from the eyes of an architect who unwittingly was coerced into helping the Germans was extremely suspenseful and delved into his humanity watching him grow from a selfish survivor to a compassionate hero
I couldn't stop listening to the book. I've read and listened to many Nazi-era books and find this to be one of the best. In fact, anyone who likes Sarah's Key or Those Who Saved Us will also love this one.
The premise of the book--saving Jews in architecturally designed structures--is intriguing. The author somehow balanced the horrors of the era with happiness. His characters conveyed the best and worst parts of people. Paris and all its glory played a strong part in the book.
I found the author fabulous! He added to the quality of the book do I'm glad I listened to it rather than read it. He did a great job with different genders, ages, and nationalities.
I loved this book so much that I'm sad it has ended!
I'm a bibliophile since early childhood. Love speculative fiction, odd premises, mystery novels that teach about different places and times.
I didn't like where this book started. I loved where it ended. It was about Paris and people's moral limits in war time. The characters all did some interesting life change turns, when confronted with evil past stupidity. Don't know if it was realistic, but it was heart warming.
Great all around story and character development. Also enjoyed the historical fiction aspect to it.
It took a little time to get into it but once I was into it, I was hooked.
I strongly disagree with previous comments knocking the narrator.
but, the writing is awful. So enjoy the plotting (well done) and try not to wince at the mawkish prose. Mark Bramhall did a great job with the accents.
I loved this book. it's almost impossible to put down. I've seen some complaints about the performance as pertaining to the reader's accents, but as a French speaker, I thought he did a great job.
"Brilliant and heart breaking"
Yes - it's harrowing and moving but very clever and beautiful too
All characters were beautifully written and read - there wasn't a weak link
Thank goodness I didn't try to read the book - I would have been torn between covering my eyes and being desperate to read on! Lovely, gentle paced book, beautifully written and read.
"Best book in ages!!!"
I could not put it down loved every page!!! Thrilling, well written so good!!!
I was so sad as I got closer to the end...
"Fascinating Listen -wow"
What would you do if your country was occupied by Nazis? Lucien is an architect in Paris and doesn't particularly care for Jews, but he is asked to help build them hiding places. This pacy novel follows Lucien and his interactions with friends, colleagues and the occupying forces. Slowly his viewpoint changes and as a reader, we find he has become an unlikely hero. The narration was excellent although at times the German accents were a little dodgy. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
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