By Sarah Jio
Published Augsut 13,c2019
Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.
Two women are connected across time by the city of Paris, a mysterious journal, and shocking secrets, sweeping from World War II to the present--for readers of Sarah's Key.
When Caroline wakes up in a Paris hospital with no memory of her past, she's confused to learn that she's lived a sad, reclusive life for years in a sprawling apartment on the Seine. Slowly regaining vague memories of a man and young child, she vows to piece her life back together--though she can't help but feel she may be in danger. A budding friendship with the chef of a charming nearby restaurant takes her mind off of her foggy past, as does a startling mystery from decades prior...
In Nazi-occupied Paris, young widow Celine lives a quiet life with her father, the local florist, and her daughter, Cosi. When a ruthless German officer discovers the family's Jewish ancestry, he blackmails Celine, forcing her to become his mistress in exchange for the others' safety. The trio plans an escape, but their mission goes horribly awry and Celine's beloved father and daughter are sent away to a cruel fate. Initially distraught, Celine fears the worst. Yet she soon discovers that Cosi has snuck away and followed her into captivity. More motivated than ever, Celine must now fight to hide and protect the person she loves most.
Parallel timelines intersect when Caroline discovers Celine's diary tucked away in a closet, and it is revealed that the walls of her apartment harbor dark secrets. With the help of a local student from the Sorbonne, she realizes that she may have more in common with Celine than she could ever imagine.
What a beautiful book! I'll admit it took me a bit to get really invested and hooked into this book. I've been a fan of Jio's books for a long time and know the traditional format of her books--two time frames and two story lines that weave together--but this one did not suck me in from the beginning. I almost DNF'd around 30%. However, I'm so glad I kept reading--the more I read, the more attached to the characters I became. It was heartbreaking at times but such a beautiful story. I read the last half of the book in one afternoon and loved how the stories came together.
If you love Paris and WW2 historical fiction, this book is a must read. Jio's description of the streets and neighborhoods of Paris made me feel like I was there. I wanted to eat at the Bistor Jeanty and buy flowers from Papa's flower shop. I loved the French language used in the book. Though it had its share of sad moments, there were happy moments and heartwarming lessons. I definitely recommend reading this book, especially if you're a Sarah Jio fan!