1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
What would you risk to do the right thing?,
This review is from: The Paris Architect (Hardcover)
I loved this book. It's set in one of my favourite historical times and it's a very well written and compelling story about everyday French people who are willing to take incredible risks to protect Jews from the Germans.
It's 1942 and Paris is under occupation by the Germans. Lucien Bernard is a French architect who is asked to design a hiding place in a luxurious apartment, allowing a Jew to remain concealed from the Gestapo. Initially reluctant, knowing the immense danger that the assignment puts him in, Lucien accepts the job after being offered the opportunity for other, legal, work. Gradually over the coming months his attitudes towards Jews change and he will take on more and more risks, despite the constant threats of betrayal from those around him. Paris is full of people who will betray others to save their own skin. Plus his mistress is sleeping with a Gestapo officer, a worker in his office has Gestapo connections and a German colonel is keen to strike up a friendship.
This is a terrific story set in a fascinating time in history. It's very well researched and over the course of the book I learned a great deal about topics such as the French fashion industry during the war, life in occupied France, the French Resistance and of course architecture. (The author is himself an architect who has written books on architectural history). The characters are all interesting as well. Lucien is a complex individual who isn't initially terribly likeable. It moves at a good pace and doesn't allow you to guess where the story will go.
Be aware that there are some graphic torture scenes that had me wincing!