While Paris Slept starts in 1953, Santa Cruz, California. Jean-Luc Beauchamp and his wife Charlotte live a nice life with their nine year old son Sam. The family escaped Paris toward the end of World War II and managed to put that life behind them. But Jean-Luc is confronted by two men who arrive at their home asking him about circumstances that occurred back in France which threatens their happy life.
The story, told through multiple perspectives, shifts back to 1944 when Jean-Luc is a railroad worker. He is assigned work near the Drancy internment camp where Jewish families are ultimately sent to the concentration camps. After suffering an injury, he meets Charlotte in the hospital and they form a bond. Unlike the Jewish families being forced from their homes, the young couple has their freedom but gain greater awareness of what is taking place around them. The day Jean-Luc meets a young Jewish mother being sent to Auschwitz changes the course of his life.
Author Ruth Druart has written a heartbreaking story about family, love and sacrifice. While the book describes the horrors that took place during the Holocaust, it focuses more on the aftermath of the war and how lives were changed based on decisions that were made to survive.
While Paris Slept is an impressive debut that was hard to put down. It's a perfect book club read as it raises many questions with no easy answers.
Rated 4.25 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: February 23, 2021.
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