|The Paris Network by Siobhan Curham|
The Paris Network by Siobhan Curham
Paris, 1940: He pressed the tattered book into her hands. ‘You must go to the café and ask at the counter for Pierre Duras. Tell him that I sent you. Tell him you’re there to save the people of France.’
Sliding the coded message in between the crisp pages of the hardback novel, bookstore owner Laurence slips out into the cold night to meet her resistance contact, pulling her woollen beret down further over her face. The silence of the night is suddenly shattered by an Allied plane rushing overhead, its tail aflame, heading down towards the forest. Her every nerve stands on end. She must try to rescue the pilot.
But straying from her mission isn’t part of the plan, and if she is discovered it won’t only be her life at risk…
America, years later: when Jeanne uncovers a dusty old box in her father’s garage, her world as she knows it is turned upside down. She has inherited a bookstore in a tiny French village just outside of Paris from a mysterious woman named Laurence.
Travelling to France to search for answers about the woman her father has kept a secret for years, Jeanne finds the store tucked away in a corner of the cobbled main square. Boarded up, it is in complete disrepair. Inside, she finds a tiny silver pendant hidden beneath the blackened, scorched floorboards.
As Jeanne pieces together Laurence’s incredible story, she discovers a woman whose bravery knew no bounds. But will the truth about who Laurence really is shatter Jeanne’s heart, or change her future?
Inspired by true events, an epic and emotional novel about one woman’s strength to survive in the most difficult circumstances and the power of love in the face of darkness. Fans of The Alice Network, The Nightingale and The Lost Girls of Paris will be completely gripped from the very first page.
|The Paris Network by Siobhan Curham|
Having enjoyed reading her previous books, it was great to be back in a Siobhan Curhan novel.
A dual timeline always excites me, and I can’t wait to discover how and when the links between past and present will be made and how they will affect our characters – I say ‘our’ as Siobhan’s writing really does draw me into her books. Her storytelling, descriptions and characters wrap me up and I am not an observer reading the pages, I am amongst them, feeling their fear and emotions. It is a treat to get to inhabit her creative world, all be it briefly.
The characters instantly became ones whose stories I wanted to know, whose journeys I had to follow. For Jeanne and Wendall as they revisit France in the 1990’s, it is his journey to heal and make peace with the past, while it is her journey to discover so much she never knew. For Laurance and her book club friends it is about doing what they can to survive the Occupation in body and spirit. Laurence’s bookstore is like a warm hug in dark and difficult times, and I certainly felt the love and sense of community it brought to her and her town. In fact, I wanted to visit, to browse the shelves and the see just what kind of book she would prescribe to me.
This book is engaging, emotional and with a compelling storyline. It is pure book magic from page to page and a feast of literary love to nourish the soul. It is a great reminder to never underestimate the magical power of books.
Having now consumed three Siobham Curham novels, all I can say is I want more.
The Paris Network is a must for this year’s reading list for book lovers and book worms, especially those who enjoy historical novels with family secrets to unravel.
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.