Wednesday, April 20, 2022

The Paris Showroom: A Novel by Juliet Blackwell

(Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book: (summary from Goodreads)

In Nazi-occupied Paris, a talented artisan must fight for her life by designing for her enemies. From New York Times bestselling author Juliet Blackwell comes an extraordinary story about holding on to hope when all seems lost.

Capucine Benoit works alongside her father to produce fans of rare feathers, beads, and intricate pleating for the haute couture fashion houses. But after the Germans invade Paris in June 1940, Capucine and her father must focus on mere survival—until they are betrayed to the secret police and arrested for his political beliefs. When Capucine saves herself from deportation to Auschwitz by highlighting her connections to Parisian design houses, she is sent to a little-known prison camp located in the heart of Paris, within the Lévitan department store.

There, hundreds of prisoners work to sort through, repair, and put on display the massive quantities of art, furniture, and household goods looted from Jewish homes and businesses. Forced to wait on German officials and their wives and mistresses, Capucine struggles to hold her tongue in order to survive, remembering happier days spent in the art salons, ateliers, and jazz clubs of Montmartre in the 1920s.

Capucine’s estranged daughter, Mathilde, remains in the care of her conservative paternal grandparents, who are prospering under the Nazi occupation. But after her mother is arrested and then a childhood friend goes missing, the usually obedient Mathilde finds herself drawn into the shadowy world of Paris’s Résistance fighters. As her mind opens to new ways of looking at the world, Mathilde also begins to see her unconventional mother in a different light.

When an old acquaintance arrives to go “shopping” at the Lévitan department store on the arm of a Nazi officer and secretly offers to help Capucine get in touch with Mathilde, this seeming act of kindness could have dangerous consequences.

my thoughts:

Wow! What an engaging and entertaining story. I just loved The Paris Showroom by Juliet Blackwell. It was such a treat to read. 

The story shares a mother-daughter relationship that is non-existent, until it is forced to exist. Paris has been invaded by the Nazis and people are struggling to survive. Capucine and her father are arrested, but she manages to avoid being sent to Auschwitz. Instead, Capucine is sent to work at a prison camp within a department store. Her daughter, Mathilde, is living with her paternal grandparents - they have been raising her.  The two have no connection, apart of biology.  Except, with everything going on, Mathilde finds herself questioning the world and wondering about her mother. In fact, one day Capucine gets an offer at work - someone is willing to help her get in contact with Mathilde. The question is, should she? Is it safe? Will this turn out to be a trap? Could she be endangering her daughter's life and her own? 

Blackwell has created a lovely story about two strong women and their determination to survive and thrive. The Paris Showroom is a terrific story! I'd definitely recommend it to fans of Blackwell and to anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book! Check it out!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!

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