Paris Never Leaves You: A Novel

· Sold by St. Martin's Griffin
3.7
22 reviews
Ebook
368
Pages
Eligible
70% price drop on Aug 29

About this ebook

"Masterful. Magnificent. A passionate story of survival and a real page turner. This story will stay with me for a long time." —Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka's Journey

Living through World War II working in a Paris bookstore with her young daughter, Vivi, and fighting for her life, Charlotte is no victim, she is a survivor. But can she survive the next chapter of her life?

Alternating between wartime Paris and 1950s New York publishing, Ellen Feldman's Paris Never Leaves You is an extraordinary story of resilience, love, and impossible choices, exploring how survival never comes without a cost.

The war is over, but the past is never past.
3.7
22 reviews
DJ Sakata
August 7, 2020
This was an intense yet gripping read with storylines steeped in angst, despair, and human and inhuman tragedy (which don’t rank among my favorite things), yet the quality of the writing was phenomenal and kept me engrossed and fully engaged. I was hooked - I was starving, I was tense, I was cold, I felt unwashed, I was THERE! Ms. Feldman’s uniquely evocative arrangements of words were powerful, emotive, poignant, transportive, and thoughtfully plotted. This epic tale involved multiple storylines that laced together toward an entirely unexpected and somewhat indeterminate ending. Each thread as tautly written, mysteriously secretive, and anxiously risky of perilous discovery as the next. Her characters were enigmatic, deeply flawed, profoundly insightful, and entirely human. I was pulled into their edgy vortex of imminent danger and impending doom, not just from the brutal cruelty of the Nazi invaders, but more disturbingly, from the unrepentant savagery of the French citizenry as they turned on each other amidst the escalating tensions and unrelenting subjugation of their occupation as well as the aftermath. There were several instances that required I put my Kindle down, walk away, and seek solace in a vat of wine… the most ruinous was near the end when I found myself totally devastated by a particular loss, and of the most unexpected of characters. Ms. Feldman has strong word voodoo and a new fangirl.
Did you find this helpful?
brf1948
August 4, 2020
I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Ellen Feldman, and St. Martin's Press - Griffin. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. This was an enjoyable, slow-paced book with a simple storyline and emotional without too much angst. There are several other books by this author, new to me, that will entice me later. I am pleased to recommend Ellen Feldman to my historical fiction loving friends and family. Charlotte is a young French widow with a baby, Vivi - Vivienne Gabrielle Foret - who is suffering greatly with the deprivations of wartime Paris. The child needs real meals and lots more vitamins than their diet can provide. Charlotte runs a book store, keeping Vivi with her. A German Medical doctor, Julian Bauer, stationed in Paris, often shops at her bookstore, and eventually begins slipping fruit and meat for the baby into his medical bad to pass off to Charlotte and Vivi. Eventually, a relationship forms between Julian and Charlotte, and it is obvious that he adores Vivi as well. But as the war begins to wind down and the German roundups increase, Charlotte is desperate to get to the United States, hopefully before it is discovered that she has been collaborating with the enemy. Julian, a Jew drafted into the German military before the war and with excellent forged Christian identification, alters Charlotte's identity papers to hide them in the mass of displaced French Jewish citizenry and drops them off at Drancy from where she and the baby were able to become refugees in New York City, but lose all contact with Julian. Horace Field, an old American friend of Charlotte's father, sponsors Charlotte and Vivi, employs her at his publishing house, and he and his wife Hannah set them up in an apartment in their upper floor, where Vivi thrives and Charlotte, her own worst enemy, keeps herself laced up in solitude as punishment for her sins of the past for the next many years. Julian eventually winds up in Bogota and Charlotte, traced through the group who helped her find refuge in the US is contacted by a Rabbi from there, wanting a character reference before he will sponsor Julian because of his military years of service to Germany. Of course, she can, and only then does she admit that she loved Julian, and that he was a good man. Is that the first step in forgiving herself? Is she going to be able to move past her Paris affair and find a happy place? And is she ever going to be able to explain to Vivi why she has refused to answer her questions about religion and any remaining family left in France?
Did you find this helpful?
Becky Baldridge
May 31, 2020
Paris Never Leaves You is as much historical romance as historical fiction or women's fiction, which works for this story. The storyline is emotional, and it's impossible to read about Charlotte's determination to survive and protect her daughter without feeling the emotion of the story. Ellen Feldman did a great job of showing Charlotte's survivor's guilt as well as her relationship with her daughter. The story moves between two timelines, and while the switch was sometimes a bit abrupt, both timelines were interesting. The story is easy to follow, and the characters are well-drawn and made me want to see how things would come out for them. All in all, Paris Never Leaves You is an engaging historical romance from Ellen Feldman. It's well written, and I would check out other books by this author.
1 person found this review helpful
Did you find this helpful?

About the author

ELLEN FELDMAN, a 2009 Guggenheim fellow, is the author of Terrible Virtue, The Unwitting, Next to Love, Scottsboro (shortlisted for the Orange Prize), The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank (translated into nine languages), and Lucy. Her novel Terrible Virtue was optioned by Black Bicycle for a feature film.

Rate this book

Tell us what you think.

Reading information

Smartphones and tablets
Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.
Laptops and computers
You can listen to audiobooks purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.
eReaders and other devices
To read on e-ink devices like Kobo eReaders, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Follow the detailed Help Center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.