Jenelle Read a Book: The Paris Architect
It’s no secret that I love WW2 historical fiction novels. I’m particularly drawn to them. But I also consider myself a picky book reader. I need a certain cadence to the book. If I can’t hear the author’s tone or the character’s voice, I just can’t fall into it like I want to.
The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure checked all the blocks for me. It is in a genre that I love. The voice of the story was welcoming and smooth as silk. I fell for the characters right away. Even though each chapter jumped from character to character, it all flowed seamlessly!
The story takes place in WW2 Paris. The author was inspired by the crusades and how priests were persecuted if they held mass. Catholics would build ingenious hiding places in their homes so that they wouldn’t be found by the authorities. A similar act of humanity exists in this book. Lucian, the Paris architect, is asked by a wealthily business owner to help him design hiding places for a Jew that is being hunted by the Gestapo. In exchange for his work, he receives a handsome payment and a contract to build factories for the Reich, which the wealthy man is in charge of coordinating. So while he works for the Germans, he is also hiding Jews.
It is a tug at the virtue of values and how we change at war time. It is a story of humanity and relationships. It’s an exploration of ourselves as a cog in our community. We watch Lucian grow and shift in how he always believed (or was taught by his father to believe) and his own personal experiences that influence and reveal the person he truly is.
The entire story is a chase and we furiously wait for the paths of our characters to cross. What will happen when Lucian comes face to face with the Gestapo officer looking for the Jew? How can Lucian and the German architect he works with have an honest and true friendship? And what will Lucian do when he is asked to hid a Jewish child in his own home?
I definitely recommend The Paris Architect if you like WW2 historical fiction. It was fascinating and beautiful. Another book with testament to the resilience and beauty of the human spirit!