‘While Paris Slept’ by Ruth Druart #bookreview #WWII #HistoricalFiction

Paris 1944
A young woman’s future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to 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.

Santa Cruz 1953
Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi Occupation. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door.

On a darkened platform, two destinies become entangled. Their choice will change the future in ways neither could have imagined…

This started really well, with Jean-Luc’s intriguing arrest, and then with the events in Paris in 1944. The fear and desperation that Sarah and David feel is palpable, and Sarah’s selfless decision is heartbreaking. And Jean-Luc and Charlotte’s decision to save a stranger’s baby, despite the danger it will put them in, paves the way for what sound be an emotional, heart-in-the-mouth read.

But I didn’t quite feel the terror during Jean-Luc and Charlotte’s journey – everything felt a little too easy. And then the events after the war, from 1953 onwards, just felt very unrealistic. I hate to be negative, because I think there is a really heartfelt story here and one that has a huge amount of potential, but would Jean-Luc really have been arrested? Would he have been punished the way he is? Would he and Charlotte have kept their secret and not tried to get in touch with Sarah and David? Would Sarah and David be so resentful? It just didn’t add up – from all the characters being selfless and putting Sam first, they all seemed to become horribly selfish in the second part of the book.

This was definitely a missed opportunity, in my opinion.



    1. That really shows how different readers can have different reactions to a book. It does have a lot of good reviews. I just found it hard to believe that the characters would behave the way they did in the post war part of the novel, and the authorities would be so harsh too.


  1. The lessons we never seem to learn.

    In 1941, a young Jewish couple in Poland on their way to concentration camps and certain death put their baby daughter (too young to be registered with the Nazis yet) out on a busy road. The baby was taken in by a childless couple, who then had to flee to Siberia to escape persecution themselves because the baby was seen as Jewish. A few years ago, my husband’s family got a message saying that the family they thought had all died in the holocaust had one survivor. Family photos and histories were exchanged, and everyone was set for a happily ever after. Except now the newly found cousin is again missing, this time from Ukraine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Goodness, Barb – I can’t imagine what it must have been like for those parents to leave their baby. The horrendous decisions people had to make are beyond belief. And no, we don’t ever seem to learn from the past.


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