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PARIS NEVER LEAVES YOU
St. Martin’s Griffin
August 4, 2020
Charlotte survived Nazi-occupied Paris. And she did what she had to do to feed and protect herself and her young daughter, Vivi. But sometimes survival is its own price to pay. Ten years later, now Charlotte and Vivi live in New York City. Charlotte works at a publishing house with good people who literally helped her escape Europe after she and Vivi were released from a concentration camp. She’s moved on—or at least she’s trying to. But when she receives a letter from someone from her past, from an officer she knew in Paris, Charlotte is thrown into a tailspin. Memories come flooding back, and she’s powerless to stop them. It doesn’t help that, at the same time, her daughter is asking all kinds of questions about their past, about their experiences in Paris, about who her father was, and why they are “self-hating Jews.” Charlotte is overwhelmed, but it’s clear she’s going to have to confront her past whether she wants to or not.
Paris Never Leaves You gets off to a slow start, but once I hit the 20% mark, wow, I was hooked. I don’t want to say too much, because secrets are revealed slowly throughout. But I absolutely love the relationships in this book—not the characters exactly, but more the way they bond themselves to each other. Charlotte by herself is cold and closed off (and understandably so), but when we see her interacting with different lovers, she becomes a full, whole, relatable, lovable person. The same is true for the men in this story, honestly. It’s like the characters on their own are incomplete, but when they come together…it’s life-giving.
Ultimately, this is a book about the power of connection, the inescapable pull of connection—how we’re wired for it, how we crave it, how it fulfills us and makes the unbearable survivable. Always, always, always, life goes on. And so long as we are breathing, connection—and the healing it brings—is possible. Such a beautiful sentiment, especially in times like these.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin and Net Galley for the ARC!