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Room on Rue Amélie
BY Kristin Harmel

Gallery Books
March 27, 2018/ ISBN 978-1501171406
Fiction / Women’s / Historical - WWII Paris

Reviewed by Linda Morelli


Ruby Henderson, an American, married Marcel Benoit and lives with him in Paris. Unbeknownst to Ruby, Marcel has joined an underground group that helps downed RAF pilots return to England so they can continue to fight the Nazi invasion of France. When Ruby learns of Marcel’s death, she remains in Paris, hoping to carry on his work.

Charlotte Dacher, Ruby’s neighbor, is nearing her teens when the threat of the Nazis’ arrival looms. After restrictions against the Jews are instituted, Charlotte’s parents realize it’s only a matter of time before they are deported and ask Ruby to watch over Charlotte, to which Ruby agrees.

Charlotte eventually sees Ruby lead RAF pilot Thomas Clarke into her apartment, the reason Charlotte becomes aware of Ruby’s involvement in the resistance. He is just the first of many pilots Ruby and the resistance group help escape, but he’s the only one Ruby can’t forget.

As more resistance participants are killed, and pilots are taken prisoner, Ruby and Charlotte realize the dangers they face, but show their courage on a daily basis as they work to protect Paris and its occupants from complete Nazi takeover, even though it means risking their lives.

Kristin Harmel has written a spellbinding novel of bravery and compassion, one providing us with insights into characters who represent many affected by the war in Paris. Harmel has based this novel partially on the experiences of Virginia d’Albert-Lake, who worked on the Comet escape line in 1943 and 1944 before her arrest and imprisonment, and additional research Harmel conducted on the lives of people and the tense situation in Paris during the German occupation. As a result, fast-paced action and high tension is woven throughout Room on Rue Amélie, making it a story of passion and courage, and one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Reviews of other titles by the author

Italian for Beginners

Reviewed 2018