Review: The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
Title: The Paris Architect
Author: Charles Belfoure
Genre: Historical Fiction
Themes: Relationships, Trust, Survival
Setting: Paris, France, 1942
Point of View: 3rd Person
Publisher/Publication Date: October 8, 2013 by Sourcebooks LandmarkRating: Four of Five Stars
Finished/Not Finished: Finished
First Line: "Just as Lucien Bernard rounded the corner at the rue La Boetie, a man running from the opposite direction almost collided with him." The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
One-sentence summary: It is 1942 German occupied Paris, France and for Parisian Lucien Bernard the question of survival takes a turn when he must confront his willingness to risk his life for people he does not even know for a cause he does not believe in.
Cover Art: I think the cover draws the reader in, and also establishes a mood of haunting uncertainty.
Try The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure if you liked The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell, Someone by Alice McDormott, and Burial Rites by Hannah Kent .
Buy, Borrow, Listen, or Avoid: Buy, Borrow, or Listen if you are looking for a well written historical novel set in WWII, which deals with the types of themes previously mentioned.
Why did I get this book?: I was drawn to the cover and the summary of the novel.
If you are a fan of historical fiction then checkout The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure. Yes, it is another in the growing genre of historical fiction, and yes, it is dealing with issues specific to WWII, but it offers a new way to approach the ever increasing number of novels that tackle issues specific to the extermination of the Jewish people during this horrific war. In other words, this one is a must read. Again, it is historical fiction, but it's historical fiction from a fascinating viewpoint. The protagonist, Lucien Bernard, struggles to do what is right. The fact that Lucien wrestles with his indifference to the plight of the Jewish people makes for a metamorphosis, which is believable. At first he only accepts the wealthy Auguste Manet's request to build hiding places for mercenary purposes, but by the end, Lucien's transformation from a mercenary profiteer to a real Parisian resistance fighter makes for a great example of dynamic characterization.
The novels architectural detail is a homage to the author's background in architecture. He builds with words the hiding places that Lucien designs on paper. The writing is fast paced and gripping, and will keep you turning the pages to find out what will happen next. If you are looking for a birds-eye-view of Paris under the German occupation try The Paris Architect.
I'd like to thank Net Galley and Sourcebooks Landmark for allowing me access to an advance readers copy (ARC) of The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure.
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