Friday, April 13, 2018

My Thoughts: The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel
The Room on Rue Amélie
by Kristin Harmel
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Publication Date: March 27th 2018
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781501171406
Genre: Fiction | Historical Fiction
Source: Edelweiss

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For fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls, this powerful novel of fate, resistance, and family—by the international bestselling author of The Sweetness of Forgetting and When We Meet Again—tells the tale of an American woman, a British RAF pilot, and a young Jewish teenager 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.

When fate brings them together, Ruby, Charlotte, and Thomas must summon the courage to defy the Nazis—and to open their own broken hearts—as they fight to survive. Rich with historical drama and emotional depth, this is an unforgettable story that will stay with you long after the final page is turned. (Goodreads)

Admittedly, I do not read nearly enough historical fiction books, and that is something I am really trying to work on this year. I have quite a few books set during World War II on my TBR for this year, and The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel was near the top of my list. I was super curious to finally get started on this book, and I enjoyed it SO much more than I expected to.

As I mentioned above, the storyline for this book was set during WWII, and something I have discovered every time I pick up a new book set during this time period, is that you never know what to expect from the story. There are a million stories that could be told, and every book is a new experience. The Room on Rue Amélie is set during occupied Paris, right around the time France was falling to the Nazis. I’m not really sure what I expected from this story, but I totally did not expect it to be about empowerment and resistance, and that’s basically what you get, as well as love, hope and a lot of heartbreak as well. I was completely fascinated by this book, and the end... well, the end nearly did me in.

There are so many characters in this book that I absolutely love, including the three main characters, Ruby, Charlotte, and Thomas. Ruby is an American who moved to France after marrying a Frenchman, Charlotte is her teenage Jewish neighbor, and Thomas is a pilot in the British Royal Air Force. The story is told from each characters alternate viewpoint, and I love that the story was written this way. Being able to read the same story from different views is always so interesting to me. All three of these characters have such completely different lives, yet when fate forces their paths to cross, they have work together and do what they have to do to resist, and to survive.

Overall; The Room on Rue Amélie is the first book I’ve read by Kristin Harmel, but it definitely will not be my last! This book was a really emotional read, and it definitely makes me want to read more books set during this time period, which is something that I am hoping to do as soon as possible. I will also definitely be checking out more books by Kristin in the future as well!

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