[Review] The Paris Library: A Novel by Janet Skeslien Charles


Janet Skeslien Charles’s The Paris Library is a historical fiction novel set in the time of World War II. Olivia, a young American librarian, is sent to Paris to help set up a new library for the American troops stationed there. While she’s there, she becomes friends with a French girl, Michel, who helps her navigate the city and its complicated history.

Summary of The Paris Library

The Paris Library is a novel by Janet Skeslien Charles. It tells the story of a young American woman, Odile, who goes to work at the American Library in Paris during World War II. The library is a haven for writers and intellectuals, and Odile quickly becomes enamored with the city and its culture. However, when the Nazis invade France, the library becomes a target, and Odile must choose between her love for the city and her duty to her country.

The Paris Library is a beautiful and poignant novel that captures the magic of Paris during a time of great turmoil. Skeslien Charles does an excellent job of bringing to life the city and its residents, and her characters are richly drawn and complex. This is a great choice for readers who enjoy historical fiction with a touch of romance.


The Paris Library is a historical fiction novel set in World War II. The story follows Odile Souaret, a young woman who starts working at the American Library in Paris shortly before the Nazi occupation of France. Odile is a passionate reader and quickly becomes friends with the librarian, Margaret. When the Nazis begin to censor books and crack down on dissenters, Odile and Margaret must use their knowledge of the library’s collection to help hide books and save lives.

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The novel has a large cast of characters, all of whom are complex and well-developed. Odile is a brave and determined young woman, while Margaret is wise and level-headed. The supporting characters are also richly drawn, from the Resistance fighters to the Collaborators. Each character has their own motivations and secrets, which makes for a fascinating read.


The Paris Library is a historical fiction novel set in the days leading up to World War II. The story follows Odile Souchet, a young French woman who takes a job at the American Library in Paris. The novel explores themes of war, love, and betrayal, and ultimately asks the question: can books save lives?

The Paris Library is a powerful novel that tackles some big themes. One of the most prevalent themes is the importance of books and libraries. In a time when the world is on the brink of war, the library becomes a haven for those looking to escape the chaos. For Odile, it is a place where she can find solace and companionship. It is also a place where she can discover new things about herself and the world around her.

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Another theme that is explored in The Paris Library is the power of love. Despite the looming threat of war, Odile falls in love with an American soldier named James. Their relationship is forbidden and dangerous, but it is also beautiful and transformative. Through their love, they are able to see past their differences and find common ground.

The Paris Library is a complex and moving novel that will stay with you long after you turn

Author’s Writing Style

Janet Skeslien Charles has a writing style that is lyrical and descriptive. She brings the reader into the story, making them feel as if they are part of the action. The Paris Library is a fast-paced read with characters that are easy to connect with.


Overall, I enjoyed The Paris Library and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, historical fiction read. I loved the setting of the story and the characters were well-developed and likable. My only complaint is that the ending felt a bit rushed and anticlimactic after such a slow build-up. Nevertheless, it was still a satisfying ending and I’m glad I read this book.

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1. What is the Paris Library?

The Paris Library is a historical fiction novel set in World War II. It follows the story of Odile Souchet, a young librarian who risks her life to save books and protect the freedom of information during the Nazi occupation of France.

2. How did the Paris Library come to be?

The Paris Library was founded by American expatriates in 1814, making it one of the oldest public libraries in Europe. Its mission was to provide a space for Americans living in Paris to access books and other resources.

3. Who was Janet Skeslien Charles?

Janet Skeslien Charles was an American author and professor. She was born in Montana and raised in North Dakota. After moving to France, she wrote The Paris Library, which won several awards including the Prix du Roman des Etats-Unis.

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