An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham
Published January 4th 2021 by Bookouture
Synopsis: Paris, 1940: Walking through Montmartre that morning was like the eerie calm right before a storm. The roads were deserted. We carried on, arm in arm, and then finally, we saw them. Columns and columns of soldiers, spreading through the streets like a toxic grey vapour. ‘You must write about this,’ he whispered to me. ‘You must write about the day freedom left Paris.’
As Nazi troops occupy the City of Lights, American journalist Florence is determined to do everything she can to save her adopted home and the man she loves.
Florence had arrived in Paris in 1937 and on a beautiful summer’s day, met and fell in love with Otto, a Jewish artist from Austria, who had fled persecution in his homeland. But as swastikas are draped along the city’s wide boulevards, everything Otto was running from seems to have caught up with him.
Both Florence and Otto begin lending their talents to the Resistance, working to sabotage the Germans right under their noses. Florence’s society columns that, before the war were filled with tales of glamorous Parisian parties, now document life under occupation and hide coded messages for those fighting outside France for freedom. While Otto risks arrest in order to pin up the anti-Nazi posters he designs by candlelight in their tiny apartment.
But with every passing day, things become more dangerous for Otto to remain in Paris. If Florence risks everything by accepting a secret mission, can she ensure his survival so that they can be reunited once the war is over?
A sweeping wartime story that will capture your heart and never let it go. Fans of The Alice Network, The Lost Girls of Paris and My Name is Eva will be absolutely gripped from the very first page.
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
An American in Paris. a dual-timeline story, tells us about Sage, a present day influencer and her grandmother, Florence, an American who is dancing in a club in France as WWII breaks out. Sage’s mother died a year ago, and as the anniversary of her death approaches, Sage finds herself spiraling out of control. When she has a meltdown at a local bar and posts it to instagram, her life changes drastically. Not sure what is to become of her and where she will go and what she will do, someone reaches out to her and she realizes that she might not be alone after all. The second timeline begins in 1937, when Florence arrives in Paris to dance at the Flament Rose, a club owned by her friend from New York, Bessie. Florence is recruited to write light pieces about Parisienne women for a US paper and she is loving her life. She falls in love with an Austrian Jewish man and they marry. Not long after, Germany occupies France, changing all their lives forever.
Both women are at a crossroads in their lives, with Florence’s being a struggle to survive the horrors of war, Sage’s trying to find what she really wants out of life and discovering a past and family she never knew she had. Florence is a remarkable woman. She did not survive an internment camp, she was not a possession of a German officer, but she did her part to help win the war. She wanted to do her part to get the Germans out of France and help those that she could. It was sad, it was painful and it was horrific to live through, but she survives. It was the major part of the story, Sage is more a conduit to sharing this story, but does play a part. The two timelines meshed together seamlessly and I enjoyed taking peeks at Sage’s transformation on the farm. I enjoyed this emotional tale, learning some things along the way, and happy with the ending. The book has themes of friendship, love, family, the pitfalls of social media, PTSD, and hatred in war. Overall a well-written and researched story. I recommend this one to those who enjoy historical fiction, especially with a dual-timeline. I was gifted a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.
About the Author: Siobhan Curham is an award-winning author, ghost writer, editor and writing coach. She has also written for many newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Guardian, Breathe magazine, Cosmopolitan, Writers’ Forum, DatingAdvice.com, and Spirit & Destiny. Siobhan has been a guest on various radio and TV shows, including Woman’s Hour, BBC News, GMTV and BBC Breakfast. And she has spoken at businesses, schools, universities and literary festivals around the world, including the BBC, Hay Festival, Cheltenham Festival, Bath Festival, Ilkley Festival, London Book Fair and Sharjah Reading Festival.