Some covers are worth a million bucks. I have two for you this week. THE ROOM ON RUE AMÉLIE has a cover that speaks volumes. Whoever was responsible for choosing it should be applauded. Kudos. But, wait, yes, the story is just as yummy.
Kristin Harmel is one of our favorite historical fiction writers. We had the pleasure of having Kristin speak at Copperfish Books yesterday. She spoke to a room filled with avid readers about how and why she came to write THE ROOM ON RUE AMÉLIE. Her sense of place is impeccable because she lived in an apartment in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower once upon a time. And her attention to the historical accuracy of the time is spot on. She’s done her homework.
THE ROOM ON RUE AMÉLIE begins with Ruby, a young American woman, meeting a handsome Frenchman in a cafe. It’s 1939. It’s love at first sight. In no time they are married and she’s flown to Paris to begin a new life with her new husband.
We begin hearing the boots of war as they march from Germany. The closer they come, the tenser the environment in Paris. Enter Charlotte a young Jewish girl who lives in the same apartment building as Ruby and her husband Marcel. Charlotte’s parents are getting more and more worried for Charlotte’s safety. This as they ignore the signs for their own.
We feel the danger but don’t know the source as Marcel begins leaving Ruby home alone for longer and longer periods of time. And Charlotte and Ruby become fast friends even with the difference in age.
You will feel shades of THE NIGHTINGALE in this novel and I say that in a good way. I have long been deeply intrigued by the French Resistance and all things WW11. I am constantly seeking something unique that I don’t already know about the war. Harmel gives us some new tidbits that we can cherish. And then she adds an RAF pilot to the mix to ramp up the story even more. Thomas Clarke hales from Great Britain and risks his life for his country as he serves in the air over France during the war. When he ends up on the ground near Paris and in the protective custody of the Resistance, we are on the edges of our seats trying to help keep him safe.
Three very brave and strong characters: Ruby, Charlotte, and Thomas. Unforgettable. This story is told with a well of emotional depth and keen historical accuracy. Youre definitely going to want to add this to your WW11 collection.
When you read the author’s note at the end of the book you’ll find that Kristin has based the character of Ruby on a real woman in history. Virginia d’Albert-Lake, a Florida woman who married a Frenchman in 1937, moved to Paris, and ultimately worked the Comet escape line in 1943 and 1944 before her arrest and imprisonment at the famous Ravensbrǚck concentration camp. Like Ruby, she had the option to return to the States and decided against it. She felt compelled to help.
I love when authors use true history to move their story. It totally authenticates it all for me.
We had a great crowd yesterday at Copperfish Books. Ann Boyle brought her husband and daughter up from Naples for the event. Ann has been a loyal follower of my blog for years. Thanks, Ann! Jeanne Pauley came from Heritage Palm in Fort Myers and brought a group of readers. I thank them all so much.
The first book I read of Kristin’s was THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING. What a wonderful novel. Then came WHEN WE MEET AGAIN. I fell in love again. And she has others…. In fact, she was kind enough to send me a copy of her earlier novel called THE LIFE INTENDED. I have it on my TBR pile for the summer!
We look forward to Kristin’s next visit. And we can’t thank Gallery Books enough for helping us launch Kristin’s new novel! We have a few signed copies in the store. See you soon!