ARC Review Book Review

ARC Book Review | Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

Title: Paris Never Leaves You
Author: Ellen Feldman 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published On: August 4, 2020
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Source: ebook
Pages: 368


“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 WWII 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, 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.

My thoughts

(Spoiler free)

Paris Never Leaves You was a lovely surprise. I’ve had this ARC for months because the publishing date was pushed out thanks to Covid-19, but it was finally next on my list! I thought it was a very well-written book about a mother’s love for her child.

“It was everyday proof of the old adage that a parent-child relationship is the only love affair that has to end in a breakup to turn out well.”

Ellen Feldman, Paris Never Leaves You

I’ve read a lot of historical fiction set during and around WWII. I keep thinking eventually the genre might grow repetitive to me, but I’m amazed how each book holds something new to learn. Feldman has done a marvelous job creating realistic characters, characters the reader can sympathize with but still be surprised by. I read this one quickly, devouring it within twenty-four hours. 

While the story alternates between Charlotte’s time in Paris at the end of the war and the early 1950s in New York, I never became confused. I enjoyed that the timelines weren’t too far apart. That was a newer experience for me. 

And the settings of a bookstore in Paris during the war and the New York publishing world of the 1950s were maybe the best part of the story. As a reader, I always appreciate any glimpses into other bookish worlds.

I’ve noticed other readers have read this story as more of a romance than historical fiction, but it didn’t seem that way to me. There are romantic relationships in the book, but for me they were not the main point of the story. The theme is endurance, and Charlotte’s determination to assure her and her daughter’s survival, no matter what. I thoroughly enjoyed this inspiring story.

Thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin, and Netgalley for providing me with an advance copy.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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About the Author

Ellen Feldman
Ellen Feldman

Ellen Feldman, a 2009 Guggenheim fellow, is the author of Scottsboro, The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank, and Lucy. She writes both fiction and social history, and has published articles on the history of divorce, plastic surgery, Halloween, the Normandie, and many other topics, as well as numerous book reviews. She has also lectured extensively around the country and in Germany and England, and is a sought-after speaker to reading groups both in person and by telephone.
She grew up in northern New Jersey and attended Bryn Mawr College, from which she holds a B.A. and an M.A. in modern history. After further graduate studies in history at Columbia University, she worked for a New York publishing house.
She lives in New York City and East Hampton, New York, with her husband and Cairn terrier named Lucy.

A Song For A Book

On Bookstagram I created a hashtag for when I include a song that reminds me of the book I’m sharing, #ASongForABook, I thought I’d make it a regular feature on my reviews, too.

I wanted to find a song by a woman, but Sleeping at Last’s “I’ll Keep You Safe” fit so perfectly. (Enjoy the stunning setting of Yellowstone in the video below!)

I’ll keep you safe
Try hard to concentrate
Hold out your hand
Can you feel the weight of it
The whole world at your fingertips
Don’t be, don’t be afraid
Our mistakes they were bound to be made
But I promise you I’ll keep you safe

Have you read Paris Never Leaves You? Did you add it to your tbr? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Wandering!

9 thoughts on “ARC Book Review | Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman”

  1. I’ve never really gotten into WWII fiction, because it often seems darker than I prefer to read. (I don’t read much fiction outside of the SFF genres, so I’m picky about what I do choose.) This one sounds good, though. I love the quote you included.

    1. It’s kind of the same for me. Historical Fiction is not my first choice (unless it’s an ARC I have to read), but I haven’t read many historical fiction books I haven’t enjoyed. 😉

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