Two American expat women meet in Paris during WWII and their lives become forever intertwined. It's 1939. Elise LeClair, a sculptor married to French artist Olivier, is pregnant with their first child and is concerned about her husband's activities with the French communist party. She meets Juliette Foulon, who runs the local bookstore, and she is also expecting another child with husband Paul. Elise gives birth to daughter Mathilde and Juliette has daughter Lucie. Once the Germans invade Paris, Olivier's activities put his wife and child in grave danger. Elise is forced to flee to the countryside, leaving Mathilde behind for safety with Juliette, Paul and their children. Their friend Ruth Levy also makes the heartbreaking decision to send her son and daughter away to safety with new identities as she fears she will be sent to a concentration camp. After the war ends, Elise returns to Paris where there is vast destruction, and nothing is the same. Juliette moves to New York City and Elise eventually is able to track her down.
There is so much more about The Paris Daughter that makes this another winning book for author Kristin Harmel, but sometimes the less said the better. Harmel has created rich and complex characters who represent all the many people who had to face unimaginable decisions and then, if they survived, had to deal with a wide range of conflicted feelings. I found the post-war part of the book especially interesting as it shows how the trauma of war continued. Excellent research as always by an author who tells important stories in a way that is both entertaining and moving. Historical fiction fans, add this to your must-read list.
Many thanks to Gallery Books for the advance copy of this powerful book.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: June 6, 2023.
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