Book Review – While Paris Slept by Ruth Druart

First published, 2021

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The story is split in two. In one strand of the story, we learn the history of Sarah and David, a Jewish couple with a newborn baby, who are forced onto the last train from Paris to Auschwitz in 1944. In another strand, we meet Jean-Luc and Charlotte, a Parisian couple, well-established in their new life in 1950s California with their young son.

But when the past comes back to claim young Sam, how will either of the couples cope? And how much of who we are is determined by who raises us?

A very weighty book, the language was approachable and, even the parts in French were easily intelligible. Some of the imagery was very evocative and there was a very profound sense of guilt attached to the French people during the war which, although well explained struggled to provide satisfactory answers.

The twist in the middle was well-executed, however, in a story so fraught with war and prejudice, I felt the melodrama which filled the rest of the story was a little heavy-going. I don’t think there was any other way the story could have ended but it all felt a little bit convenient which, after all that had come before, shouldn’t have happened.