• Caroline

Until Leaves Fall in Paris | Book Review



About the Book:

Paris, 1940

When the Nazis march toward Paris, American ballerina Lucie Girard buys her favorite English-language bookstore to allow the Jewish owners to escape. The Germans make it difficult for her to keep Green Leaf Books afloat. And she must keep the store open if she is to continue aiding the resistance by passing secret messages between the pages of her books.


Widower Paul Aubrey wants nothing more than to return to the States with his little girl, but the US Army convinces him to keep his factory running and obtain military information from his German customers. As the war rages on, Paul offers his own resistance by sabotaging his product and hiding British airmen in his factory. But in order to carry out his mission, he must appear to support the occupation--which does not win him any sympathy when he meets Lucie in the bookstore.


In a world turned upside down, will love or duty prevail?


My Thoughts

I was disappointed in this book. I enjoyed When Twilight Breaks and anticipated the release of the next book, but it fell short. I am a huge fan of Sarah Sundin's other writing-- her research is meticulous and immersive, her characters breathe, and her descriptions and dialogue sing.


However, this is not her best work. Perhaps being written during a pandemic took its toll. When Leaves Fall in Paris was formulaic, stiff, prosy, and a hundred pages too long. I wanted to like it because of the premise. I mean, come on. A ballerina owning a bookstore in PARIS and a widowed single dad? It looks good on paper (no pun intended) but just didn't hold my attention. There was so much telling instead of showing that the book never came alive.


One tiny example: Even Paul's pet names for his daughter fell flat--it felt as if the author and therefore Paul had a checklist of candy names and simply went down the list every time he referred to his daughter. No parent I know has the bandwidth for this kind of inner monologue: "I called her candy corn this morning, so let me call her scoop of sugar this afternoon."


I still support Sarah Sundin and look forward to her next book, but I have to give an honest review. However, if you're really invested in the storyline of the trilogy and would enjoy something set in 1940 Paris, you'll still enjoy this story.

 

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher and happily provided my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.*