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Man proposes, war disposes.,
This review is from: The Paris Architect (Hardcover)
This is a compelling story set in Nazi-occupied Paris during the Second World War. Lucien is a talented out-of-work architect, a cowardly man of questionable morals although he is, at least, self-aware. The book opens with a wealthy industrialist, Manet, offering Lucien a small project to create a disguised hiding space in an apartment for a Jewish friend.
Lucien is tempted by the proffered fee but too scared to get involved. But then Manet dangles the carrot of designing a new factory for him, contingent on his agreement to the smaller commission. Will Lucien's fear force him to turn down this golden opportunity to prove his architectural chops or will he be enticed into a treacherous world where one false step will mean certain death at the hands of the Gestapo?
That is just the starting point and it's a terrific tale. Unfortunately, the telling of it leaves a lot to be desired. Clunky exposition, unnatural-sounding dialogue and heavy-handed characterisation all conspire to turn this five star story into a three star read. That averages out at 4*. A shame, as this could have been absolutely brilliant. It will be interesting to see how Charles Belfoure follows his promising debut.