Ellen Feldman Writes About Paris Never Leaves You (and Shares Some Great Book Club Questions)

Ellen Feldman Writes About Paris Never Leaves You (and Shares Some Great Book Club Questions)

Moving between Occupied Paris, the City of Light darkened now by blackouts, curfews, and fear, and the publishing world of 1950s Manhattan, giddy with postwar abundance and optimism,  Paris Never Leaves You is a story of resilience, love, and impossible choices.

Widowed in the first weeks of the war, working in a bookshop in Paris, Charlotte Foret struggles to survive and care for her infant daughter Vivi.  In a world where enemy uniforms patrol the streets, friends and loved ones suddenly disappear, neighbors can betray as easily as comfort, and hunger stalks every waking hour, Charlotte walks a fine line between saving her child and staying true to herself.  If the enemy offers aid, is he still the enemy?  If kindness wears a uniform, is it not still kindness?  Are moral scruples worth a child’s life?

Charlotte’s existence is a daily struggle to find food, medicine, and safety for her and her daughter in a ravaged city.  It is also a battle between the clear and acceptable morality of peacetime and the realities and exigencies of war.

Charlotte is not a victim.  She is a survivor.  When she and her daughter leave Paris for New York, she thinks she has put her anguish behind her.  But the choices she made in her old life shadow her new and ultimately threaten her relationship with the child she fought so hard to save.  A teenage Vivi begins to ask questions about the past Charlotte is running away from.  And when the family friend who has sponsored her immigration and given her a job in his publishing house, a man with his own physical and emotional war wounds, forces her to face what she did and did not do to endure, she must confront twin truths.  Survival never comes without a cost.  The past is never past.

Paris Never Leaves You is a tale of the moral conundrums we face, the roads we take, and the price we pay for them later in life.  That’s one of the reasons I think book clubs will have an especially lively time discussing the book.  I suspect there will as many opinions about Charlotte’s actions as there are readers of the book.  The choices we make in life are never easy.  The responsibility or guilt we feel for those choices is often even more fraught.  How far will a mother go to protect her child?  What price does a woman pay for survival?  And how to recognize love in the time of war, and deal with its aftermath in peace?

Few of us are faced with Charlotte’s life-and-death decisions, but all of us encounter moral challenges in life.  Paris Never Leaves You provides no answers to these dilemmas, only questions about moral absolutes, the individual conscience, and one woman’s struggle to survive – and forgive herself.

Reading Group questions…

 

 

 

Reviews

Take a Sneak Peek at Ellen Feldman's Compelling New Historical, Paris Never Leaves You

Review | Extract

10 August 2020

Take a Sneak Peek at Ellen Feldman's Compelling New Historical, Paris Never Leaves You

    Five Quick Questions with Paris Never Leaves You Author Ellen Feldman

    Review | Author Related

    10 August 2020

    Five Quick Questions with Paris Never Leaves You Author Ellen Feldman

      Ellen Feldman's Paris Never Leaves You is an Unforgettable Story of Resilience and Love

      Review | Our Review

      10 August 2020

      Ellen Feldman's Paris Never Leaves You is an Unforgettable Story of Resilience and Love

        Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman: Your Preview Verdict

        Review | Preview

        5 August 2020

        Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman: Your Preview Verdict

          Preview Reviews: Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

          Review | Preview

          29 July 2020

          Preview Reviews: Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

            Publisher details

            Paris Never Leaves You
            Author
            Ellen Feldman
            Publisher
            Simon and Schuster
            Genres
            Historical Fiction, Romance
            Released
            05 August, 2020

            Synopsis

            The war is over, but the past is never past …Paris, 1944. Charlotte Foret is working in a tiny bookstore in Nazi-occupied Paris struggling to stay alive and keep her baby Vivi safe as the world around them is being torn apart. Every day they live through is a miracle until Vivi becomes gravely ill. In desperation, Charlotte accepts help from an unlikely saviour – and her life is changed forever.Charlotte is no victim – she is a survivor. But the truth of what happened in Paris is something she can never share with anyone, including her daughter. But can she ever really leave Paris behind – and survive the next chapter of her life?Seamlessly interweaving Charlotte’s past in wartime Paris and her present in the 1950s world of New York publishing, Paris Never Leaves You is a heartbreakingly moving and unforgettable story of resilience, love – and impossible choices.
            Ellen Feldman
            About the author

            Ellen Feldman

            Ellen Feldman is the acclaimed author of Scottsboro, which was shortlisted for the prestigious Orange Prize, The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank, which was translated into nine languages, Next to LoveTerrible VirtueThe Unwitting and Lucy. A former Guggenheim Fellow in fiction, she has a BA and MA in modern history from Bryn Mawr College and after graduate studies at Columbia University, she worked for a New York publishing house, like Charlotte in Paris Never Leaves You. She has lectured around the US, Germany and the UK. She lives in New York and Amagansett with her husband and rescue terrier Charlie.

            Books by Ellen Feldman

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