The year is 1939, WWII is on everyone’s mind as the war is moving closer to home. Impressed with the American’s Dewey Decimal System, Odile decides that an American library is where she wants to works and lands a position at the American Library in Paris. Odile loves her new position: being surrounded by individuals who care and enjoy reading. This truly becomes her second home and her refuge.
We move to the year 1983. Lily has heard that this woman in her neighborhood was a war bride yet to Lily, she didn’t match what Lily envisioned. For school, Lily interviews this neighbor and discovers what a treasure Odile really is. While Lily feels like her own life is crumbling apart, she finds a true friend in Odile and someone that she can confine in. Although they are generations apart, Odile finds that being with Lily, she’s able to share the story of her life and her talents, which brings her tremendous joy.
I enjoyed how the author alternated the stories throughout the book. As I read, I had to keep reminding myself that this was a true account, that this story actually took place. Although at times, I didn’t want one story to end, I was excited to get back into the lives of all the characters. I had a hard time in the beginning chapters getting settled into the book but after those few chapters, I enjoyed it. I loved how everyone who was a part of the library tried so desperately to make sure their subscribers had access to the materials that they wanted. It wasn’t just making sure that the books were safe during the war but getting them out and into the hands of the individuals who really needed them, during this difficult time. Doesn’t this sound like what we are going through now, to a point? Is your own library meeting the needs of the people that it serves during this uncertain period in our history?
Odile’s relationships had me up at 3:30 in the morning as I couldn’t sleep thinking how things were going to work out. Between her father, her brother, her girlfriends and her romance, it’s a wonder I slept at all the past couple nights. I appreciate the author’s research in putting this book together as it was a fantastic read and one that I highly enjoyed.
Thank you Atria Books and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.