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While Paris Slept: A Novel (Paperback)
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One woman must make the hardest decision of her life in this unforgettably moving story of resistance and faith during one of the darkest times in history.
Santa Cruz, 1953. Jean-Luc is a man on the run from his past. The scar on his face is a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi occupation in France. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door.
Paris, 1944. A young Jewish woman's past is torn apart in a heartbeat. Herded onto a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.
On a darkened platform, two destinies become intertwined, and the choices each person makes will change the future in ways neither could have imagined.
Told from alternating perspectives, While Paris Slept reflects on the power of love, resilience, and courage when all seems lost. Exploring the strength of family ties, and what it really means to love someone unconditionally, this debut novel will capture your heart.
Includes a Reading Group Guide.
About the Author
Ruth Druart grew up on the Isle of Wight, leaving at eighteen to study psychology. In 1993 she moved to Paris, the city that inspired her to write While Paris Slept. There she pursued a career in international education and raised three sons with her French husband. She recently left her teaching position, so she can write full time while running her writing group in Paris.
"As writers, some stories keep us up at night with the need to get them down on paper. Ruth Druart has one such tale. We met in 2006, and I read pages of her story then. She never let go and never gave up. Thanks to this tenacity, her heartbreaking debut will be published in several languages. It will appeal to fans of The Light Between Oceans as well as to readers fascinated by novels set in World War II. While Paris Slept delves into eternal questions: how far will we go to protect our child? Is love holding tightly or letting go? The characters -- and readers -- must choose between what is right and what is best in this mediation on love and sacrifice."—Janet Skeslien Charles, Author of The Paris Library and Moonlight in Odessa
"While Paris Slept made me think and cry and rage and smile at mankind's capacity for both beautiful, selfless love and terrible, heartbreaking cruelty. It is at once a story of wartime courage and desperation, and of the many ways in which war reverberates through people's lives for years after the fact. Prepare to question yourself and the characters in the novel, to wonder what you might have done in their place; in short, prepare to be thoroughly engrossed in this compelling book in which four adults and one child grapple with the true meaning of love and family."
—Natasha Lester, Author of The Paris Secret
"What a book . . . emotional and heartrending . . . absolutely phenomenal. I was on tenterhooks throughout. A wonderful achievement."—Jill Mansell, Sunday Times bestselling author of And Now You're Back
"While Paris Slept is a powerful and poignant debut from a brilliant and bold new novelist. Expertly weaving together multiple storylines, author Ruth Druart fills each page with thrilling suspense, uncommon emotional depth, and fascinating characters. Fans of historical fiction should not miss this one."—Imogen Kealey, Author of Liberation
"Both epic and intimate, this unexpected story of two couples' sacrifices in war-torn France had me completely and utterly enraptured. You'll have your heart in your mouth and tears on your cheeks as it reaches its rich, life-affirming conclusion."—Louise Candlish, Author of Our House
"I absolutely loved [While Paris Slept]. An ingenious plot, wonderful, believable characters, and it moved me to tears. A fabulous read."—Lesley Pearse, Author of Suspects
"Good people coping with an impossible situation are at the heart of Druart’s [debut] . . . The author succeeds in keeping things moving, particularly in the action-packed first half of the novel . . . Ethical questions raised by the narrative suggest this may do well with book clubs."—Publishers Weekly
"The ending is extremely touching, and even the most cynical reader will shed a tear. It certainly brings the story full circle in a very satisfying manner. I can imagine that book clubs will enjoy discussing the intricacies and questions about love and family—and what we would sacrifice in their name—that the book raises."—Bookreporter.com
"With her accomplished first novel, Druart penetrates to the heart of . . . emotional questions, exploring them in multiple ways through the interlinked stories of two couples . . .The ending is as beautiful as one could wish."—Historical Novel Society
"Druart examines sacrifice, selflessness, and resilience in this atmospheric debut about the cost of war and the price of love."—Toronto Star
"Ruth Druart has written one of the best novels of the year."—Red Carpet Crash