About the book
On the brink of the second world war, a beautiful Parisian bookshop hides a heartbreaking secret that will tear one family apart forever …
The last time Valerie was in Paris, she was three-years-old, running from the Nazis, away from the only home she had ever known.
Now as a young woman, Valerie must return to Paris, to the bookshop and her only surviving relative, her grandfather Vincent, to find out what really happened to those she loved. As she gets to know Vincent again, she hears a tragic story of Nazi occupied Paris, a doomed love affair and a mother willing to sacrifice everything for her beloved daughter.
Can Valerie and Vincent help each other to mend the wounds of the past? Valerie isn’t after a fairy-tale ending, she only wants the truth. But what is the one devastating secret that Vincent is determined to keep from his granddaughter?
Published by Bookouture
Publication Date – 4th October 2018
I loved the way it was told as we look back over certain points in time that were so important to the family, and that mixed with the relationships that were being formed were such a captivating mix that really added to the story.
A chance meeting on a train pairs the elderly Valerie with Annie, who strike up a conversation and Valerie gets to share her amazing story of her life as she prepares to go back to Paris where she considers home. She has led an extraordinary life so Annie is only too willing to listen.
Her past coincided with the war and she was separated from her family and sent to live with a distant relative, and she always felt like she never knew the truth of why her supposed loving family were quick to ‘get rid of her’. So in the 1960’s she travels to France to work in a Paris bookshop to get answers – but this is a very special bookshop as it is where her family lived and still do.
I loved the way how Valerie quickly settled into life in Paris and how she was so careful to keep things close to her chest whilst trying to get information from those who were around at the time of the War. When Vincent, the bookshop owner, and Madame Joubert start telling her of what exactly happened during the war when the Germans invaded Paris, you could sense the fear that they lived with but had to keep trying to live their lives as normally as possible. It must have been a truly terrifying time and there were many horrific incidents that her family had to deal with, and that helps give Valerie a true sense of the people she knew very little about. She got to hear about what her mother had to go through, along with other members of her family which really changed her perception of the people she had thought about in her mind.
I found this to be a beautifully written book. The changing timelines really worked well in setting out the family history and creating such a beguiling story. I struggled to put it down at times as I just wanted to know more and could easily have carried on reading more of this captivating story!
my thanks to the publisher and netgalley for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.