On a platform in occupied Paris, a mother whispers goodbye. It is the end. But also the beginning.
Santa Cruz 1953. Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face is a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi occupation. Now, he has a new life in suburban California, and a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door.
Paris 1944. A young Jewish woman’s future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded onto a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.
On a darkened platform two destinies become entangled, and the choices each person makes will change the future in ways neither could have imagined.
Beginning on an ordinary day and ending on an extraordinary one, While Paris Slept is a stunning portrait of the brutality of war and the tenacity of love, perfect for readers of Virginia Baily’s Early One Morning and M.L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans.
While Paris Slept reflects on the power of love, resilience, and courage when all seems lost. Exploring the strength of family ties, and what it really means to love someone unconditionally, this debut novel will capture your heart. And it certainly captured mine. I’m not ashamed to admit I was teary by the end. Author Ruth Druart has hit the ground running with this moving debut novel of courage, survival and the endurance of hope.
The novel is told from multiple perspectives and dual timelines. There’s Jean-Luc and his wife, Charlotte, in 1950s California where they are attempting to live a normal American life and forget the horrors they witnessed during the Nazi occupation. Jean-Luc as a railway worker in 1940s Paris, where he has been sent to undertake maintenance work near the transit camp at Drancy. And then there’s Sarah, a young Jewish woman on her way to Drancy, who must make a heartbreaking sacrifice in order to save the person she holds most dear. All three of these characters are vividly drawn and beautifully realised, and your heart will go out to each of them as they’re faced with impossible choices that will change their lives forever.
Powerful, heartbreaking, yet ultimately uplifting, While Paris Slept is an unforgettable story of sacrifice and love that’s perfect for readers of WWII historical fiction. An incredible debut from Ruth Druart. You don’t want to miss this.