Of the power of books and the bonds of friendship

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New Delhi– The obsession with World War II continues — and from all indications, is not likely to die down anytime soon.

Paris, 1939: Young, ambitious, and tempestuous, Odile Souchet has it all — Paul, her handsome police officer beau; Margaret, her best friend from England; Remy, her twin brother who she adores; and a dream job at the American Library in Paris, working alongside the library’s legendary director, Dorothy Reeder.

When World War II breaks out, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear — including her beloved library. After the Nazi army marches into the City of Light and declares a war on words, Odile and her fellow librarians join the Resistance with the best weapons they have: books. Again and again, they risk their lives to help their fellow Jewish readers, but by war’s end, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.

Montana, 1983: Odile’s solitary existence in gossipy small-town Montana is unexpectedly interrupted by her neighbour Lily, a lonely teenager craving adventure. As Lily uncovers more about Odile’s mysterious past, they find they share not only a love of language but also the same lethal jealousy. Odile helps Lily navigate the troubled waters of adolescence by always recommending the right book at the right time, never suspecting that Lily will be the one to help her reckon with her own terrible secret.

Based on a true World War II story, Janet Skeslien Charles’ “The Paris Library” (Hachette) is an unforgettable novel about the power of books and the bonds of friendship — and the ordinary heroes who can be found in the most perilous times and the quietest places and the courage it takes to forgive.

Janet Skeslien Charles is the award-winning author of “Moonlight in Odessa”, which was published in ten languages. Her shorter work has appeared in revues such as Slice and Montana Noir. She first became interested in the incredible true story of the librarians who stood up to the Nazi “Book Protector” Dr. Hermann Fuchs, who had full authority over intellectual activity during the occupation, when she worked as the program’s manager at the American Library in Paris. “The Paris Library” will be published in thirty countries. She divides her time between Montana and Paris. Visit her at JSkeslienCharles.com or connect with her on Twitter @SkeslienCharles.(IANS)

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