The Paris Apartment by Kelly Bowen
April 20, 2021, by Forever
Review by Angela
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened this book for the first time on my Kindle. I’ve read and enjoyed many of this author’s historical romances, but this title is more of a historical fiction book, wrapped in a mystery, containing elements of extreme danger and desperation, all set against the Nazi invasion of France. That’s a lot, I know. And to be honest I was hesitant going in because the historical setting was Nazi occupied France. But then I fell into this story and didn’t come up for air for a good long while.
This book is told in alternating timelines and POVs, which is something I’ve come to truly enjoy over the last year or so after reading other books with this same storytelling style. The first character introduced is Lia, who has just inherited an apartment in Paris from her grandmother… an apartment that no one in the family knew about until the reading of the will. This apartment is like a time capsule from 70 years ago, full of priceless art, designer dresses, and expensive furs and jewelry. But after seeing certain photos and correspondence to her grandmother, Lia is convinced that she must have been a Nazi sympathizer and sets out to try and get the artwork back to whom it belongs.
There are actually three heroines who narrate and I won’t get into the actual storyline, or reveal their roles, but one is Lia’s grandmother and the other is a woman who has set her course to do whatever must be done to defeat Germany. As their timelines started to converge, and the truth of what happened in that apartment in the early ’40s began to materialize, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see how it would all play out. Grieving for the lives lost, in terror for the people willing to do what must be done for the allied resistance, and in awe of these women’s bravery. The backdrop of WW2 and scenes of injured allied soldiers, desperate Jewish families being torn apart, and the men and women who in the shadows did whatever they had to do to find safe places and help those in need was both heartwrenching and riveting.
There are love stories within the narrative, but I wouldn’t classify this as a romance. Lia enlists the help of a man named Gabriel, who they soon discover is connected to these historical events, and there is attraction and then a deep connection, but their relationship isn’t the main focus. They do end up with a happy for now understanding, and I was pleased by this.
I do believe this author did a wonderful job of wrapping each main character’s story arc, and giving readers the closure they needed. The Paris Apartment is a beautifully written novel both heartbreaking and uplifting. This is one that will stay with readers long after they’ve read the last page.
Content Warnings: Death, grief, images of war
Final grade- A