ABOUT THE BOOK
A family’s love is tested when heroes-turned-criminals are forced to make the hardest decisions of their lives in this unforgettably moving story of love, resistance, and the lasting consequences of the Second World War.
After. Santa Cruz, California, 1953. Jean-Luc and Charlotte Beauchamps have left their war-torn memories of Paris behind to live a quiet life in America with their son, Sam. They have a house in the suburbs, they’ve learned to speak English, and they have regular get-togethers with their outgoing American neighbors. Every minute in California erases a minute of their lives before — before the Germans invaded their French homeland and incited years of violence, hunger, and fear. But their taste of the American Dream shatters when officers from the U.N. Commission on War Crimes pull-up outside their home and bring Jean-Luc in for questioning.
Before. Paris, France, 1944. Germany has occupied France for four years. Jean-Luc works at the railway station at Bobigny, where thousands of Jews travel each day to be “resettled” in Germany. But Jean-Luc and other railway employees can’t ignore the rumors or what they see on the tracks: too many people are packed into the cars, and bodies are sometimes left to be disposed of after a train departs. Jean-Luc’s unease turns into full-blown panic when a young woman with bright green eyes bursts from the train one day alongside hundreds of screaming, terrified passengers, and pushes a warm, squirming bundle into his arms.
Told from alternating perspectives, While Paris Slept reflects on the power of love, loss, and the choices a mother will make to ensure the survival of her child. At once a visceral portrait of family ties and a meditation on nurture’s influence over identity, this heartbreaking debut will irreversibly take hold of your heart.
PUBLICATION DATE – 23RD FEBRUARY 2021
This was a engrossing and emotional read as we follow the stories of characters caught up in the horrors of World War II – a mother desperate to save her child, and a young man wanting to escape the chilling scenes he finds himself witness to day in, day out. It is all written beautifully and considerately and you find yourself torn by the outcome years later.
The story starts in 1953 with Jean- Luc and his wife Charlotte, who are starting a new life in America, desperate to escape the past of what they were caught up in France during the Nazi occupation. He used to work on the railways so had to endure some horrific treatment and sights, so when the opportunity presented itself for him to flee and find a better life for his family he took it.
But his current life is about to be shattered as the past catches up with him and he’s questioned about his past life and the consequences are far reaching and a devastating blow to the family.
We also follow the character of Sarah in 1944, a young jewish mother who is fearful for her life and that of her son, so she makes a decision that isn’t easy to make or live with.
This is one of those stories that really connects with you as a reader as you can sympathise with both sides of the dilemma. The horrors that everyone faced back then are difficult to forget, and are never easy to escape from. It’s a real page turner as you race through each chapter desperate to see both characters find a resolution that gives them both peace.