Publication Year: 2020
Page count: 368
Rating: 3.5 stars
Rep: queer supporting character, character with mental illness
Blurb (From GoodReads):
Sixteen-year-old Alice is spending the summer in Paris, but she isn’t there for pastries and walks along the Seine. When her grandmother passed away two months ago, she left Alice an apartment in France that no one knew existed. An apartment that has been locked for more than seventy years.
Alice is determined to find out why the apartment was abandoned and why her grandmother never once mentioned the family she left behind when she moved to America after World War II. With the help of Paul, a charming Parisian student, she sets out to uncover the truth. However, the more time she spends digging through the mysteries of the past, the more she realizes there are secrets in the present that her family is still refusing to talk about.
Sixteen-year-old Adalyn doesn’t recognize Paris anymore. Everywhere she looks, there are Nazis, and every day brings a new horror of life under the Occupation. When she meets Luc, the dashing and enigmatic leader of a resistance group, Adalyn feels she finally has a chance to fight back. But keeping up the appearance of being a much-admired socialite while working to undermine the Nazis is more complicated than she could have imagined. As the war goes on, Adalyn finds herself having to make more and more compromises—to her safety, to her reputation, and to her relationships with the people she loves the most.
This wasn’t on my October TBR because I wasn’t planning on reading it this month. But I am happy I did because this did end up being a heart felt story.
This book follows two girls, Alice, in present day Paris, and Adalyn, in Nazi occupied Paris. The story alternates between them each chapter, giving us a mix between historical fiction and contemporary.
I really enjoyed reading from Adalyn’s perspective. Historical fiction was definitely the author’s stronger suit. Although her story started out a bit on the slower side, by the end my heart was racing. Adalyn is a teenager when the Nazis occupy France, and through accident she finds The Resistance, teaming up with them to take down The Nazis. However, she cannot tell a single soul, and that includes her best friend and sister, Chloe. Chloe and Adalyn’s relationship was a heartfelt (although frustrating) one. The entire time I was rooting for the sisters to reconcile. My heart really went out to Adalyn that she could not confide in her sister.
Alice’s perspective was not quite as impactful for me. Alice visits Paris after her grandmother passes, leaving her an apartment that has been untouched since the war. Alice then finds pictures of Adalyn, a great aunt she has never known, as well as her diary. I think the reason I struggled with Alice’s perspective is that she just seemed immature to me. The way she reacted to certain situations, and even the language used, just seemed much younger than she was supposed to be. I wasn’t all that invested in her storyline until the end, and it just kind of served as a distraction from Adalyn’s story.
Another issue I had with Alice was how she handled the situation with her mother. Alice’s mother is clearly depressed after her mother has died, and given her most prized possession to Alice instead of herself. It was frustrating to read about how Alice and her dad handled it, tip toeing around the problem and forcing their mother into clearly uncomfortable situations. By the end, they do reach some clarity that her mother needs help, but it takes a long time for them to reach that conclusion. It was just a very frustrating plotline to get through.
Both Adalyn and Alice also have a romance. Adalyn’s romance was very sweet, and I will forever stan Luc. Their war torn relationship definitely pulled at my heartstrings and had me rooting for them. However, I was not the hugest fan of Alice’s relationship. Their meet cute was the typical “eyes locked across a crowded café” thing, and I just couldn’t really get past that. I didn’t see much of a foundation between the two of them, so it was kind of unbelievable. I think the story would have been better without the romance on Alice’s part, and they replaced her partner with a friend.
All in all, this was a good story and I’m not upset I read it. The author disclosed on Instagram that her next story is a Cold War era novel taking place in NYC, that sounds super exciting and I will definitely read it.
Leave your thoughts on this book in the comments below! Happy reading!