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The Paris Library  By  cover art

The Paris Library

By: Janet Skeslien Charles
Narrated by: Nicky Diss,Sarah Feathers,Esther Wane,Janet Skeslien Charles
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Publisher's Summary

In the darkness of war, the light of books...

Paris, 1939

Odile Souchet is obsessed with books, and working at The American Library in Paris for the formidable Director Dorothy Reeder is all she has ever dreamed of. The Library and its thriving community of students, writers, diplomats and book lovers provide her with a safe haven. When war is declared, the Library is determined to remain open. But then the Nazis invade Paris, and everything changes. The Nazi 'Library Protector' changes the rules overnight, declaring a war on words and making the librarians risk their lives to do their jobs.

Under the courageous guidance of Miss Reeder, Odile and her fellow librarians defy the authorities to make sure all their subscribers, even those deemed no longer desirable, get access to books and remain part of their community, whatever the cost.

Choices as black and white as the words on a page become a murky shade of grey - choices that will put many of the wrong side of history, and the consequences of which will echo for decades to come.

The Paris Library illuminates a seldom-seen slice of history: the role of women and their fate during the war. It also recounts the consequences of unspeakable betrayal, when the people we count on for understanding and protection fail us. 

©2020 Janet Skeslien Charles (P)2020 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

Critic Reviews

"I devoured The Paris Library in one hungry gulp...charming and moving." (Tatiana de Rosnay, author of Sarah's Key)

"An irresistible, compelling read." (Fiona Davis, author of The Chelsea Girls)

What listeners say about The Paris Library

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Enchanting from start to finish

A lovely story told of the love of libraries and the power of books in our world during the darkest of times. I love thus story and the background history it was written around.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-12-21

Irritating chick lit

This will be a great read for someone who likes easy reading romantic fiction. I found it pretty lightweight and particularly hated the French accents that the reader adopted. From the blurb I expected something a bit more substantial- I got about 30% in and abandoned it. Just not my kind of book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sara
  • 05-27-21

it grows on you

I found quite slow the first part (of the story in general, not the audiobook), at times I almost gave up but I am glad I didn't. It's a book that grows on you and explains relationships well, especially during hard times such as a war.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nicky
  • 11-25-22

A good story badly told

This book sounded promising, but it was not a well developed plot, the characters had no depth and it became cliched chick lit. I could not invest in the characters as there was not a chance to get to know them, they were never fully developed and other than Odile they all were annoying characters. The narration was poor, alternating between hackneyed French accents to a petulant sounding teenager, it really ruined the story for me. Other reviews were so positive I was perhaps expecting more, but this was not for me

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-05-22

Living with the enemy

The Paris Library – Janet Skeslien Charles set in two time periods of 1939 Paris and 1980’s America. Odile Souchet is obsessed with books and working at The American Library in Paris. The library is a thriving community of students, writers, diplomats, and book lovers and provides a safe haven. When war is declared the Library is determined to stay open, but then the Nazis invade Paris and the rules changes overnight. The library is no longer the safe haven to all, not all books are permitted to be in circulation within the library. Under the guidance of Miss Reader the Director of the Library, Odile and her fellow librarians defy the authorities to make sure all their subscribers get access to books.
Based on real life events and the stories of women, then women who had to make the best of the situation they found themselves in where nothing is black or white. I enjoyed this book and found it interesting what ordinary people did to survive, it is all very easy to I wouldn’t have done that but it is very different if you are actually living that experience.

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  • Seb Charlie Leaver
  • 03-23-22

“Words can be dangerous”

A slow start, but it quickly grew on me,
A sweet romantic story, touching on some very tough times of the past, all the while trying to teach the moral lesson that ‘words can be dangerous’.

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  • LakesClaire
  • 03-08-22

Disappointing

Was just indifferent to the characters in this book. Perhaps my expectations were too high?

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-10-21

What a beautiful story

Loved this book - written do beautifully - you can tell the amount of research that has gone into the history of the library.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Judith Staples
  • 04-01-21

Interesting Story

Has good characters with lots of depth. Good life lessons. Very enjoyable. worth a read.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Isabel
  • 12-20-22

Beautiful but sad story

Another wartime tragically sad story but told beautifully - narration was faultless, and the characters were beautifully portrayed.

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  • Aline Arruda
  • 11-28-22

Loved it from beginning to end

What about! The story is very well written, with romance, thriller and suspense. Highly recommend

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-18-22

not this library

narration was annoying especially when the whining started. story not as good as i expected.

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  • Carol Barnard
  • 04-24-22

Slow to start but worth staying to the end

I struggled with the story in the beginning. It seemed to go on without getting anywhere. I nearly gave up until Odile's story really started to unfold then I couldn't stop listening. It's worth seeing it through to the end.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-20-22

Average

This book covered interesting topics, but the writing never really lifted off into good literature. Somewhere between a quick, easy read and a book that really draws you in on characters, plot or beautiful use of language. If you want an average read, then go for it.

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  • Lee-Ann M Kervin
  • 01-14-22

New favorite

An amazing story with a beautiful meaning and twist. This has been added to my favorites list.