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13 Rue Therese

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Overview

American academic Trevor Stratton discovers a box full of artifacts from World War I as he settles into his new office in Paris. The pictures, letters, and objects in the box relate to the life of Louise Brunet, a feisty, charming Frenchwoman who lived through both World Wars.

As Trevor examines and documents the relics the box offers up, he begins to imagine the story of Louise Brunet's life: her love for a cousin who died in the war, her marriage to a man who works for her ...

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13, rue Thérèse: A Novel

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Overview

American academic Trevor Stratton discovers a box full of artifacts from World War I as he settles into his new office in Paris. The pictures, letters, and objects in the box relate to the life of Louise Brunet, a feisty, charming Frenchwoman who lived through both World Wars.

As Trevor examines and documents the relics the box offers up, he begins to imagine the story of Louise Brunet's life: her love for a cousin who died in the war, her marriage to a man who works for her father, and her attraction to a neighbor in her building at 13 rue Thérèse. The more time he spends with the objects though, the truer his imaginings of Louise's life become, and the more he notices another alluring Frenchwoman: Josianne, his clerk, who planted the box in his office in the first place, and with whom he finds he is falling in love.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780755374229
  • Publisher: Headline Review
  • Publication date: 4/28/2011

Meet the Author

Elena Mauli Shapiro was born and raised in Paris, France, in an apartment below the real-life Louise Brunet's. She has a BA from Stanford University in English and French, an MFA in Fiction Writing from Mills College, and an MA in Comparative Literature from UC Davis. This novel was a finalist for the 2009 Bakeless literary prize.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 72 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(45)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 72 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2011

    Disappointing

    This was one of the most confused, and confusing, books I've ever read. It seems like it belongs in the YA genre, and yet it has too much sex in it for that. It could be a romance novel, but the plot is all over the place -- whereas romances have a definite story arc. Halfway through, I still didn't know whose voice I was hearing when. The narrator? Trevor? The author herself? Louise? I pushed on to the end, hoping for a resolution that would explain it all, but it never happened. The book reads more like a first draft than a finished novel.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A mysterious allure into the past so enticing with a hint of eroticism.

    The book is fiction, but the mysterious box on which it is based is real. Every item inside it, described in the book in intimate detail and photographs, exists. We may never know the real story behind each of them, but the items themselves offer a peek, and it inspired a woman to catch that mystery, wonder, and inspiration in this lovely, movingly descriptive novel.

    What an exceptionally intriguing novel this has been, from start to finish. From the beginning I was fascinated by the objects found in the box. Such simple things yet they can tell so much of a life. Louise and her husband seem to float by each other daily as if not even connected. The true essence of their marriage drained away like a bottle of whisky is drained by an alcoholic street urchin. With such boredom in her marriage it does not surprise me when Louise turns into such a naughty wife later in the book.

    The relationship of Louise and her cousin although strange was not something uncommon in the early 1900. However I could feel her father's rage and frustration at hearing such news. But did her father really feel this way? We shall never know. I found it rather odd when her piano student seemed to have lost her mind and proclaimed her love for Louise is such a weird way. My favorite part in this book was when Louise took off for the old farm to be alone. It struck me as something I would have done if I was her. 13, Rue Therese is at times sad and at others quite funny, mixed with a bit of sexual scandal and weirdness.

    Trevor seems to be in a trance half the time and is very comical at others as he studies the objects in his possession. The most intriguing part of this book is when Trevor crosses paths with someone from the past, that someone who is very much a part of the objects from the box. Is it a ghostly figure? Or has he crossed into another dimension, into the very past of which he is probing. Find out by reading 13, Rue Therese, I promise you will not put it down until the very end.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2011

    Intriguing premise

    This novel by first-time author Elena Mauli Shapiro offers an intriguing premise. An American translator, Trevor Stratton, is working in Paris and finds a box of mementos hidden in his office. The mementos belonged to Louise Brunet, a deceased neighbor of Stratton's secretary. The secretary placed the box in Stratton's office to test his imaginative powers and also to lure him as a potential lover. Stratton succeeds on both accounts. The two story lines are intertwined as Stratton slowly conjures up the elements of Louise's life: her family (the loss of mother and brother, her father's close attachment to her); and her love life (true love killed in WWI, a respectable but childless marriage, a passionate love affair). The novel's plot development is rather limited, sometimes confusing and marred by occasional jolting passages of clumsy erotica writing. In these passages the author seems unduly influenced by Harlequin novels and the unfortunate result is more parody than passion. Ms. Mauli Shapiro would profit from studying authors such as Mary Wesley and Edith Pearlman who managed to write about love, sex and passion without relying on adolescent descriptions. Since "13, rue Thérèse" includes overwrought passion within the ever-ageless plot of people searching for love (and is set in Paris), the author will probably receive lucrative offers for the movie rights. However, any early financial success should not deter Ms. Mauli Shapiro from efforts to improve her writing skills, as she does show imaginative promise in this first effort.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Something Short of Love at 13, rue Therese

    "She will give him the office with the tall useless empty file cabinet in the corner. He will probably not think to open all the drawers and look in them his first day on the premises. But he will, eventually, discover a box tucked all the way into the darkness at the back of the bottom drawer, innocent-looking yet unexpected. How could one see such a think and then not take a little peek inside?" (~pg. 5)

    So the plot begins...a mysterious box of artifacts, strategically left for Trevor Stratton, a young American starting a new job in Paris. As he begins to peruse the letters, photos, trinkets, etc., he delves into the world of Louise Brunet, a Frenchwoman who lived in Paris during the first part of the 19th century, whose life was impacted by the Great War that devastated the world. As he ponders this woman and pieces together in his imagination the story of her life, her love, her loss, he becomes enamored with the history and sweeping romance that he uncovers.

    The Review:

    I did the unthinkable! I fell in love with the cover. An ultimate no-no. But come on - look at it. This cover is gorgeous! I look at it and the songs of Les Miserables start playing in my head. "Do you hear the people sing?" or "On my own, pretending he's besides me." Okay, push pause on my brain iPod. The sepia tint and the backlighting that makes those curls in her hair seems so soft just scream Historical Fiction. Naturally, I'm a big fan of this genre, and this novel was one I really, really, really wanted to love. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. Don't get me wrong, it has its moments, but they are too few and far between for me to be satisfied. I found the narration confusing and cluttered. I've never really been a fan of the frame story structure, but it's necessary for this novel - we have to experience Louise through Trevor's eyes. Trevor's story is useless except to bring us to Louise. I like Louise. She's a woman struggling to find her place, and I can relate to that. Given the setting, 1920s Europe, it's no wonder she sits on the fence between wanting to be a proper housewife and wanting to rebel and be free from the traditional constrains of society. Louise lost her first love to the horrors of the war, settled down with her father's business partner, never had kids, and eventually grows tired of her husband and initiates a love affair with the handsome neighbor next door. The history and the piece-by-piece discovery of her life story are enjoyable to read. Her portion of the narrative was well-written and character driven; I felt the desire, the longing, the wishful thinking, and even the resentment and frustration that Louise felt about her life. If it were just her story, the book would be a better read.

    The Concept:

    The novel is unique for a couple of reasons - 1) the pictures and images placed among the pages of the text bring the story to life and 2) there is even an accompanying website with additional access to certain items you can't seem to stop staring at.bringing the whole experience of Louise to the digital age we live in now. However, there are too many footnotes and pages of information that describe these artifacts that distract from the plot itself. Piecing together the story of a woman's life through someone else's thoughts is also something that stands out with this novel, but I found the imagining of a woman's desires by a male protagonist a bit off-putting.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2011

    Really something special

    a tremendous first offering!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    13 rue Therese is a good read~!!

    13 rue Thérèse takes you back in time by weaving a tale of romantic mystery. You begin to be drawn to the main characters, Louise Brunet from the past and Trevor Stanton of the present. You read how Trevor finds a box and becomes drawn to the story of Louise, and feels compelled to uncover her tale. With pictures, artifacts, mementos and more strewn throughout the books pages, the author captures your sense of mystery and you cannot wait for the story to unfold. Your left to speculate on a time and a place in a distant past that leaves you almost seeing and hearing what the author is trying to write. Louise is simple but beckoning, her methods naive yet animalistic. You will learn of love lost and love found. You will feel Louise yearn for a child that may never come and you find yourself unable to let go until you have finished the story and walked with Louise through all that she could be. The book is a quick read and I felt driven to finish, to bring to life the woman known as Louise Brunet. To allow her live if even in my heart, for a few more moments. It is a gripping story of sex, love, lies, war, passion and history.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2013

    TO ALL

    Go TO STONES RESULT 2

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2013

    Percy

    Ello govner!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2013

    Amanda to ellie

    Why no. And if I did, I wouldn't go around shreiking about how I liked him...or kissing him, for that matterl

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2013

    Flynn and Will

    Hi x2

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    DAMN

    Runs to restult 17

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    Sydney

    "Sure" Sydney said.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    Dart

    Draws his blade

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    Courtney to Zach

    Awww...that is so sweet! But you actually remember 2 things. Your name is the second one.
    (That is actually really cute. I wont be on for a bit i have to take a shower. Brb!)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 4, 2012

    Exactly what is going on here???

    I started reading this based on the cover - a no, no! expecting a grand historical novel (in not many pages). I cannot get it - who is speaking, to whom, where they are, etc. etc. I am not finishing the book....maybe someday someone will re-write it so I can read it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2012

    Guthix and sonic

    Guthix:we have been gone for about two months and this is what we come back to? Sonic:all the campers are doing nothing...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 10, 2012

    Disappointing read.

    I read this with a book club, made up of teachers and history lovers. I am not a former teacher, but a lover of history and time slips. I found this book to be confusing and did not ever understand why the narrator began everything with "Sir." It was not until the end that I sensed the narrator was, in effect, channeling these figures from the past. It just was confusing and I did not like the main character of Louise at all, she was not a character you, or I, would love. I did not put it down and finished it, but it was a disappointment. I expected so much more.

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  • Posted May 5, 2012

    Juicy Novel with a Twist

    This was a very cleverly written novel that kept me turning pages just to see what the protagonist would come up with next, and what the heroine would do...would she have an affair or stay with her staid husband? The little object we leave behind have so much more to offer a person with some immagination than just their obvious surface function. They become tiny time machines that can send us back in our history to a time and place fraught with emotion and resonance. I would recommend this book for a book club mostly comprised of women over 35.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    Kain

    Call me kain cuz theres another jason here

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2012

    Dani to all

    Go to camp all results!! New camp!!

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