The Forgotten Bookshop in Paris by Daisy Wood is an engaging story with a dual timeline connected by a bookshop in Paris.
The first time setting is from 1939 to 1945 and covers the war years. Jacques Duval, a bookseller, is setting up his own bookshop called, La Page Cachee (The Hidden Page). His friend Henri helps him install floor-to-ceiling shelving. Later they will put extra shelving in front of the storeroom door to create a secret room. Jacques marries Mathilde who works at the Musee de l’homme which is a hub for the French Resistance Movement.
The second time setting is from March to September 2022. Juliette and her husband Kevin have been married for 25 years and travel to Paris for a two-week holiday. Juliette has taught French at a high school in Philadelphia where they live and speaks fluent French. She had a French grandmother who kept a painting on her bedroom wall of a Parisian square with a cafe and a shop.
It soon becomes clear that there are problems in Juliette and Kevin’s marriage so when Kevin returns to the US, Juliette stays on. She finds the square in my grandmother’s picture and makes friends with some locals. She decides to take out the lease on the shop where Jacques had his bookshop. In the process of setting up the shop, Juliette discovers the wartime history of the previous owners and a connection with her own past.
Overall, it’s a well-told story that is cleverly paced with the interweaving storylines.
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