When American Ruby Henderson Benoit arrives in Paris in 1939 with her new French husband, Marcel, she believes that nothing can spoil her happiness. She has always thought of Paris as a place of enlightenment and she believes that she will flourish there, especially with Marcel by her side.
She and Marcel begin their lives on the Rue Amélie in an apartment with a terrace. One night, as Ruby sits on the terrace and enjoys the view, she meets Charlotte Dacher, the neighbor’s daughter, who, at age 11, cannot understand why anyone would pick on her for being Jewish. She isn’t a very religious person, after all.
As World War II looms over France, Ruby is becoming more concerned with what it will mean for Marcel’s and her life, but when she tries to talk to him about it he puts her down as a “woman with no idea what is going on in the world.” Ruby is terribly hurt by his disregard for her feelings as well as her intelligence. To make matters worse, the closer they come to the occupation of Paris by the Nazis, the more Marcel ignores her.
When the Germans do take over France and Paris, Ruby promises Charlotte’s mother that she will protect and care for Charlotte if anything happens to them. Over the next couple of years Ruby and Charlotte become much closer as Ruby tutors Charlotte in English.
Meanwhile, Thomas Clarke has given up his dream to become a doctor in order to learn to fly for the Royal Air Force (RAF) and flies regularly over France fighting the Nazis. The loss of his mother during the Blitz strengthens his desire to do whatever he can to help bring an end to the war.
When the war brings Ruby, Charlotte, and Thomas together they must find the courage to defy the Nazis, even at a huge risk to themselves. They feel that by doing nothing they are condoning what the Nazis are doing and they will never give up without a fight.
This novel contains a wealth of information wrapped up in a story that is so beautifully written with such wonderful characters that it will stay with you long after you finish the last page with emotions that range from happiness to sadness, love to hate, anger to revenge. There is also a sense bewilderment at how humans could possibly be as hateful and cruel as the Nazis, while still showing the compassion of so many who risked their lives to stop them.
I very highly recommend this book!
- The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel
- Hardback: 400 pages
- Kindle: 400 pages
- Publisher –Gallery Books (March 27, 2018)
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I received this book free from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”