For fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls, this powerful novel of fate, resistance, and family—by the international bestselling author of The Sweetness of Forgetting and When We Meet Again—tells the tale of an American woman, a British RAF pilot, and a young Jewish teenager whose lives intersect in occupied Paris during the tumultuous days of World War II.
When newlywed Ruby Henderson Benoit arrives in Paris in 1939 with her French husband Marcel, she imagines strolling arm in arm along the grand boulevards, awash in the golden afternoon light. But war is looming on the horizon, and as France falls to the Nazis, her marriage begins to splinter, too.
Charlotte Dacher is eleven when the Germans roll into the French capital, their sinister swastika flags snapping in the breeze. After the Jewish restrictions take effect and Jews are ordered to wear the yellow star, Charlotte can’t imagine things getting much worse. But then the mass deportations begin, and her life is ripped forever apart.
Thomas Clarke joins the British Royal Air Force to protect his country, but when his beloved mother dies in a German bombing during the waning days of the Blitz, he wonders if he’s really making a difference. Then he finds himself in Paris, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, and he discovers a new reason to keep fighting—and an unexpected road home.
When fate brings them together, Ruby, Charlotte, and Thomas must summon the courage to defy the Nazis—and to open their own broken hearts—as they fight to survive. Rich with historical drama and emotional depth, this is an unforgettable story that will stay with you long after the final page is turned.
About the Author:
Kristin Harmel is the international bestselling author of The Sweetness of Forgetting, The Life Intended, and When We Meet Again, along with several other novels. Her work has been featured in People, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Runner’s World, and Ladies’ Home Journal, among many other media outlets. She lives in Orlando, Florida.
I cannot say how much I enjoyed this book. The comparisons to Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale is very fair! I’m sometimes reluctant when books are compared to others, because I assume that the book must be a cheap copy of the first, but The Room on Rue Amelie can definitely stand on its own! It was SUCH a beautiful tale of French Resistance in WWII.
“What color, my love? What color is the first one?”
“Red. The first poppy of the season is red.”
“Of course.” She lies back and smiles. “Of course it is.”
I love anything set in WWII, and the brave fighters of the French Resistance don’t get enough attention, I believe. This is a story of that, but also a love story not just between people, but also between the main character and herself.
“I thought when I came here that my independence would grow. I was going on a great adventure to Paris, after all.” She smiled at her own naivete. “But somehow along the way, I went from being a brave adventurer to simply being a wife, nothing more. It would be easy to blame it on Marcel, but it was just as much my fault. I let him talk over my opinions. I let him make all the decisions. I let him push me to the side, until I wasn’t myself in our marriage anymore. Maybe I never had been to start with. But regardless, I lost the person I’d been, the person I wanted to be, and I don’t thing I grasped it until it was too late.”
I loved Ruby’s journey through being a brave American, to just an ignored housewife, to finding herself swept up in the French Resistance, and finding out who she really is within all of it.
She who blooms in the midst of the darkness.
The Room on Rue Amelie will be released on March 27, 2018.
I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.