About the Book:
In 1942 Paris, gifted architect Lucien Bernard accepts a commission that will bring him a great deal of money – and maybe get him killed. But if he’s clever enough, he’ll avoid any trouble. All he has to do is design a secret hiding place for a wealthy Jewish man, a space so invisible that even the most determined German officer won’t find it. He sorely needs the money, and outwitting the Nazis who have occupied his beloved city is a challenge he can’t resist.
But when one of his hiding spaces fails horribly, and the problem of where to hide a Jew becomes terribly personal, Lucien can no longer ignore what’s at stake. The Paris Architect asks us to consider what we owe each other, and just how far we’ll go to make things right.
Written by an architect whose knowledge imbues every page, this story becomes more gripping with every soul hidden
Charles Belfoure is the author of the debut novel The Paris Architect, an October Indie Next Pick and National Reading Group Month Selection. An architect by profession, he graduated from the Pratt Institute and Columbia University. His writing has appeared in the Baltimore Sun and the New York Times. He lives in Maryland.
Lucien Bernard is an architect living in Paris. It is the second year of the German Occupation during WWII and he is just trying to earn a living, gain some respect in his chosen field and stay alive. He hates the Germans but has little feeling for the plight of the Jews. As the book opens he is on his way to an appointment when a Jewish man is gunned down by a German soldier right in front of him. His main concern is that he not be late for his appointment.
Despite some excess blood, Lucien makes it to his appointment; he is meeting a man of means who offers him two commissions. He cannot take one without the other. One is for a large factory, the other for a secret room in which to hide someone. A room that will never be discovered no matter how well a house is searched; rather like the "priest holes" of yore. Lucien needs the money and he wants the challenge so he accepts. Little does he know how it will affect him.
This first novel by Mr. Belfoure takes on a very difficult subject in a very troubling time in the history of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. His architect's eye translates well to fiction and it allows his reader to experience the beauty of the buildings and the space of the city. His characters are not perfect and some of them seem to just disappear into the night but Lucien shows remarkable development and growth. He is the lodestar of the novel and it all really rests upon him. Trying times cause great change in people collectively and individually and that is shown to great effect in this arresting tale of one man's efforts to fight evil.
It was a book that I found hard to put down even when reading the more disturbing passages. It is not a perfect book but it is a book that certainly left me thinking.
The Paris Architect Tour Schedule
10/7 - A Bookish Affair
10/8 - Bloggin Bout Books
10/9 – A Utah Mom's Life
10/10 - Poof … Books
10/11 - The Bookish Dame
10/14 - Broken Teepee
10/15 – Mina’s Bookshelf
10/16 - Great Thoughts
10/17 - Passages to the Past
10/18 – Lori’s Reading Corner
10/21 - Mari Reads
10/22 – Oh, for the Hook of a Book
10/25 - Dew on the Kudzu
10/28 - Chick Lit Plus
You can read an excerpt of The Paris Architect
You can purchase The Paris Architect on Amazon.com
You can purchase The Paris Architect on Sourcebooks.com
Disclosure: I received a copy of The Paris Architect from Sourcebooks for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for this post.