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The Paris Architect

The Paris Architect

July 2014

I love well-written stories about World War II. If you page back through my Bets On selections, you can see many books set during this time period. As I read them, I find myself thinking about how I would have reacted during this turbulent time. Would I have been heroic? Would I have survived? Would my family have made the right decisions? All those thoughts again came into play as I read THE PARIS ARCHITECT.

It opens in 1942, as World War II is raging in Paris. An architect, Lucien Bernard, is invited to accept a commission that will make him money, but also will put his life at risk. He is being asked to design secret hiding places for Jewish people --- places  that are clever enough in their design that they will not be found. He taps on walls and looks for crannies where people can be hidden. The fact that he can beat the Nazis in this small way becomes a mission for him. When it gets too dangerous, he starts to walk away, but something happens that makes this cause even more important to him. A mistake that he cannot forget.

It’s a fabulous debut work. The author, Charles Belfoure, is an architect, thus the details ring with authenticity. I felt like I was caught up in the world of Paris at a time when rationing was in effect and danger lurked everywhere. I tasted a bit of chocolate as I read the book, savoring it a lot more knowing that, during these times, even a small square would have been a luxury.

I am sorry I missed this book when it released in hardcover last year, but I am delighted to share it now as it is available for enjoyment in paperback.