All the Flowers in Paris

All the Flowers in Paris

by Sarah Jio

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Overview

“Sarah Jio weaves past and present in this eminently readable novel about love, gratitude, and forgiveness. I tore through the pages!”—New York Times bestselling author Christina Baker Kline

Two women are connected across time by the city of Paris, a mysterious stack of love letters, and shocking secrets sweeping from World War II to the present—for readers of Sarah’s Key and The Nightingale.


When Caroline wakes up in a Paris hospital with no memory of her past, she’s confused to learn that for years she’s lived a sad, reclusive life in a sprawling apartment on the rue Cler. Slowly regaining vague memories of a man and a young child, she vows to piece her life back together—though she can’t help but feel she may be in danger. A budding friendship with the chef of a charming nearby restaurant takes her mind off her foggy past, as does a startling mystery from decades prior.

In Nazi-occupied Paris, a young widow named Céline is trying to build a new life for her daughter while working in her father’s flower shop and hoping to find love again. Then a ruthless German officer discovers her Jewish ancestry and Céline is forced to play a dangerous game to secure the safety of her loved ones. When her worst fears come true, she must fight back in order to save the person she loves most: her daughter.

When Caroline discovers Céline’s letters tucked away in a closet, she realizes that her apartment harbors dark secrets—and that she may have more in common with Céline than she could have ever imagined.

All the Flowers in Paris is an emotionally captivating novel rooted in the resiliency and strength of the human spirit, the steadfastness of a mother’s love, and the many complex layers of the heart—especially its capacity to forgive.

“Heart-stopping . . . Fans of emotional, romantic stories set during World War II will enjoy this heartbreaking tale of love and loss.”—Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101885055
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/13/2019
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 17,904
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Sarah Jio is the #1 international, New York Times, and USA Today bestselling author of ten novels. She is the host of the Mod About You podcast and also a longtime journalist who has contributed to Glamour, The New York Times, Redbook, Real Simple, O: The Oprah Magazine, Bon Appétit, Marie Claire, Self, and many other outlets, including NPR’s Morning Edition. Jio’s books have been published in more than twenty-five countries. She lives in Seattle with her three young boys.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1



CAROLINE

SEPTEMBER 4, 2009

Paris, France

How could he? My cheeks burn as I climb onto my bike, pedaling fast down the rue Cler, past the street vendors with their tables lined with shiny purple eggplants and bunches of flowers, pink peonies and golden sunflowers standing at attention in tidy buckets, past Café du Monde, where I sometimes get a coffee when I’m too tired to walk to Bistro Jeanty, past an old woman walking her tiny white poodle. Despite the bright sun overhead, she pessimistically clutches a sheathed umbrella, as if at any moment the skies might open and unleash their fury.

Fury is the emotion I feel. Furious, rather. He was the last person on earth I expected or wanted to see this morning. After everything that’s happened, does he not have the decency to respect my wishes? I told him I didn’t want to see him, now or . . . ever. And yet, here he materializes, at Café du Monde of all places, smiling at me as if nothing has happened, as if . . .

I blink back tears, careful to regain my composure, the way I didn’t last night, when I threw down my napkin, shouted at him, and stormed off. A Parisian woman, in contrast, would never lose her cool like that.

While I have a lot to work on in that department, on any given day I might pass for French, at least from a distance. I look the part, more or less. Scarf tied loosely around my neck. On a bike in a dress. Blond hair swept up in a high bun. No helmet—­obviously. It has taken three years to semi-­master the language (emphasis on the “semi”), but it would easily take a lifetime to become adequately versed in French style.

But what does any of it matter now? Over time, Paris has become my hiding place, my cocoon, my escape from the pain of the past. I blink back tears. And now? Does he really think he can just waltz in and expect me to behave as if nothing happened? That everything should just magically go back to the way it was?

I shudder, glancing over my shoulder to make sure he isn’t following me. As far as I can tell, he’s not, and I pedal faster around the next corner, where a man in a leather jacket catches my eye and smiles as though we’ve met before. We haven’t. Saying that Frenchmen are notoriously forward is an understatement. The truth is, they believe the world, and every woman in it, should be so lucky to be graced by their special good looks, charm, and intelligence.

I’ve barely dipped my toe into the pool of French dating, and the experience hasn’t been great. There was dinner with the hairstylist, who couldn’t stop checking himself out in the mirror behind me; lunch with the artist, who suggested we go back to his apartment and discuss his latest painting, which, by chance, hung over his bed; and then the professor who asked me out last week . . . and yet I couldn’t bring myself to return his calls.

I sigh and pedal on. I am neither American nor Parisian. In fact, these days, I don’t feel as if I’m anything. I belong to no country or person. Unattached, I am merely a ghost, floating through life.

I wend past the rue de Seine, zigzagging down a lamppost-­lined hill, the grandeur of the city at my back, my pale-­blue sundress fluttering in the breeze as more tears well up in my eyes, fogging my view of the narrow street below. I blink hard, wiping away a tear, and the expanse of cobblestones comes into focus again. My eyes fix on an elderly couple walking on the sidewalk ahead. They are like any older French couple, I suppose, characteristically adorable in a way that they will never know. He in a sport coat (despite the humid eighty-­five-­degree day), and she in a gingham dress, perhaps in her closet since the afternoon she saw it in the window of a sensible boutique along the Champs-­Élysées in 1953. She carries a basket filled with farmers’-­market finds (I notice the zucchini). He carries a baguette, and nothing else, like a World War II–­era rifle held against his shoulder, dutifully, but also with a barely detectable and oddly charming tinge of annoyance.

My mind returns to the exchange at the café, and I am once again furious. I hear his voice in my head, soft, sweet, pleading. Was I too hard on him? No. No. Maybe? No! In another life, we might have spent this evening nestled in a corner table at some café, drinking good Bordeaux, listening to Chet Baker, discussing hypothetical trips to the Greek islands or the construction of a backyard greenhouse where we would consider the merits of growing a lemon (or avocado?) tree in a pot and sit under a bougainvillea vine like the one my mom planted the year I turned eleven, before my dad left. Jazz. Santorini. Lemon trees. Beautiful, loving details, none of which matter anymore. Not in this life, anyhow. That chapter has ended. No, the book has.

How could I forgive him? How could I ever forgive him . . .

“Forgiveness is a gift,” a therapist I saw for a few sessions had said, “both to the receiver and to yourself. But no one can give a gift when she’s not ready to.”

I close my eyes for a moment, then open them, resolute. I am not ready now, and I doubt that I will ever be. I pedal on, faster, determined. The pain of the past suddenly comes into sharp and bitter focus. It stings, like a slice of lemon pressed to a wound.

I wipe away another tear as a truck barrels toward me out of nowhere. Adrenaline surges in the way it does when you’re zoning out while driving and then narrowly miss swerving into an oncoming car, or a light post, or a man walking his dog. I veer my bicycle to the right, careful to avoid a mother and her young daughter walking toward me on my left. The little girl looks no older than two. My heart swells. The sun is bright, blindingly so, and it filters through her sandy blond hair.

I squint, attempting to navigate the narrow road ahead, my heart beating faster by the second. The driver of the truck doesn’t seem to see me. “Stop!” I cry. “Arrêtez!”

I clench the handlebars, engaging the brakes, but somehow they give out. The street is steep and narrow, too narrow, and I am now barreling down a hillside with increasing speed. The driver of the truck is fiddling with a cigarette, turning it this way and that, simultaneously swerving the truck across the cobblestone streets. I scream again, but he doesn’t seem to hear. Panic washes over me, thick and overpowering. I have two choices: turn left and crash my bike straight into the mother and her little girl, or turn right and collide directly into the truck.

I turn right.

CHAPTER 2



CÉLINE

SEPTEMBER 4, 1943

Paris, France

“Autumn’s coming,” Papa says, casting his gaze out the window of our little flower shop on the rue Cler. Despite the blue sky overhead, there are storm clouds in his eyes.

“Oh, Papa,” I say through the open door, straightening my apron before sweeping a few stray rose petals off the cobblestones in front of the shop. I always feel bad for fallen petals, as silly as that sounds. They’re like little lost ducklings separated from their mama. “It’s only the beginning of September, my oh-­so-­very-­pessimistic papa.” I smile facetiously. “It’s been the most beautiful summer; can’t we just enjoy it while it lasts?”

“Beautiful?” Papa throws his arms in the air in the dramatic fashion that all Frenchmen over the age of sixty do so well. I’ve often thought that there’s probably an old French law stating that if you’re an older male, you have the irrevocable right to be grumpy, cantankerous, and otherwise disagreeable at the time and place of your choosing. Papa certainly exercises this right, and yet I love him all the more for it. Grumpy or not, he still has the biggest heart of any Frenchman I’ve ever known. “Our city is occupied by Nazi soldiers and you call this summer . . . beautiful?” He shakes his head, returning to an elaborate arrangement he’s been fussing over all day for Madame Jeanty, one of our more exacting clients. A local tastemaker, and owner of one of the most fashionable restaurants in town, Bistro Jeanty, she funnels many clients to us, namely, new admissions into the high-­society circle who want their dining room tables to look as grand as hers. As such, Papa and I know we can’t risk losing her business, and her demands must always be heeded, no matter how ridiculous, or how late (or early) the hour. Never too much greenery, but then never too little, either. Only roses that have been snipped that morning. Never peonies, only ranunculus. And for the love of all that is holy, no ferns. Not even a hint of them. I made that mistake in an arrangement three years ago, and let’s just say it will never happen again.

It’s funny how different a child can be from a parent. Her son, Luc, for instance, is nothing like her. We’ve known each other since secondary school, and I’ve always thought the world of him. We have dinner together each week at Bistro Jeanty, and I’ve valued our friendship, especially during this godforsaken occupation. Luc and I might have been sweethearts under different circumstances. If the world weren’t at war, if our lives had taken different paths. I’ve thought about it many times, of course, and I know he has too. The Book of Us remains a complicated story, and neither of us, it seems, knows the ending.

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All the Flowers in Paris 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
paigereadsthepage 11 days ago
Set in 2009 Paris, France, Caroline suffers memory loss after a bike incident. While searching for her past, she discovers letters in her apartment written by Celine from 1943 during German-occupied France. The reader is then taken on a journey to unearth the past of Caroline, and now Celine. Along the way, Caroline becomes romantically involved with a nearby chef, and meanwhile we see Celine’s romantic interests slipping away during the Nazi occupation. Notably, the motif of flowers is kept throughout the story to create an extended metaphor. For the most part, the first half of this book was average. There were a few moments when it felt like the action was about to begin, yet no major occurrences or activities appear until over halfway. The story takes a considerable twist at around 80% and the story starts to take off, but at that point the book is almost over. I found the very last chapter, a two year follow up of the characters lives, very cliché. There is little history incorporated into this story. It is not until nearly halfway that any historical aspect, other than simply being set in the past, starts to trickle into the plot. Even still, it is used as a prop rather than an emphasis. Likewise, some ideas and instances that transpire are also romanticized and not completely believable. While much history is lacking and the overall story is too easy to follow for my taste, I found the mystery behind Caroline’s identity alluring which is what made me keep reading. Pieces of this story reminded me too much of Sarah’s Key. I recommend this novel to those who enjoy reading romances set in the past. Many thanks to Random House Publishing- Ballantine, Sarah Jio, and NetGalley for this advanced read copy in exchange for my honest review.
AlinaU 10 hours ago
Two women, two timelines, one apartment... 2019, sunny and warm Paris. A terrible accident leaves Caroline without a memory. After returning from a hospital, she finds herself in a glamorous apartment in Paris... all alone. Between the flashbacks of her memory, Caroline rediscovers herself in today's world. She uncovers the love for painting, delicious french cuisine... and french man. During one of the sleepless nights, Caroline explores her large flat only to stumble on old wartime letters hidden in one of the bedrooms. 1943, Nazi-occupied Paris. Cecile's world turns upside down when she sees a yellow star painted on the window of the flower shop owned by her father. To top that, she catches the eye of a tyrant German officer. There is only one way to avert the destiny that hovers over all jews in Paris - run. But her plans are discovered, and Cecile becomes a prisoner in the Nazi's home. All The Flowers In Paris is a bittersweet novel of two women that at some point in their lives share the same apartment on rue Cler. Their stories are heartbreaking and full of grief, but, in the end, it teaches a valuable lesson - the ability to forgive, love and be thankful for good times and bad. Thank you NetGalley and Orion publisher for an advanced free copy of the novel, and Sarah Jio for a wonderful story.
Isabelle Wagner 2 days ago
When I started reading this book, I thought it really wasn’t what I needed right at that moment but I’m so glad I pushed through. All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio is an emotional, heart-breaking, and hopeful novel that I recommend to anyone that enjoys historical fiction and novels set during the WW2 times. The two storylines really sucked me in and I could not put this book down. I also really enjoyed the writing style. It has just enough details to make it beautiful without being frilly and taking away from the story. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
ejean 3 days ago
All The Flowers In Paris by Sara Jio is the story of two extraordinary women, Celine from the forty’s and Caroline the nineties. Their lives were so different but they were so much alike in their love for their families. Celine tried to protect her family, her father and daughter, Cosi during World War 2. Caroline couldn’t forgive her husband for what happened to their daughter. Two women so far apart in time, but their connection helps to heal old wounds. I loved this book. May be my favorite for the year. Thank you NetGalley and Ballantine Books for the ARC
Anonymous 4 days ago
All the Flowers in Paris is a story of past and present. The story is told of two women - one who lived in Paris in during WW2 and another, living in Paris in 2009. For me, each woman's story would make a good story but I was terribly distracted by the constant flipping between the two stories. I began to see where the book was going about a third into the book and was afraid that I would lose interest. However, the book is well written and kept my interest even when I was fairly sure I knew the outcome. I enjoyed the book and would've given it a higher rating but I didn't like having to recall each of the different women's stories.
CynB 5 days ago
All the Flowers in Paris, by Sarah Jio, is an entrancing novel of two very strong women who suffer horrific loss. The novel is structured around two timelines, the first set in Paris during the WWII occupation. The second story is set in modern-day Paris where the connection between the two is finally uncovered. Jio writes beautifully. The City of Lights can be heard, seen, and felt through her words. Her characters are multi-dimensional and authentic. I will certainly be on the prowl to read her other novels. I am a bit conflicted about the dual timeline device as I have now read three recent releases about WWII that have used it and fear that it is becoming a bit over-employed. On the other hand, I enjoyed each book thoroughly, and was glad I had the opportunity to read it. I feel the same way about this book, and highly recommend it. Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing – Ballantine for the opportunity to read an electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 6 days ago
I read most of this book in one sitting because it pulled me in. It is divided into 2 parallel stories that converge between WW2 Paris and present day Paris. The main women are compelling characters. I would read more by this author and I think you could even write a sequel to this book.
EastsideFan 7 days ago
CW: Nazi occupation, the Holocaust, rape, death of a child All the Flowers in Paris is a dual time frame historical, told in first person POV, with the World War II story of Céline and the modern day story of Caroline. The narrative begins with Caroline, who is upset at an unknown/unseen male, which leads to her having a serious accident. We then move to Céline, and are introduced to her, her daughter, Cosi, and her father, who owns a flower shop. Like many in Paris, the horrible treatment of Jews by the occupying Nazis, has lasting and devastating impacts on Céline and her family. For Caroline, she suffers memory loss in her accident and must rediscover her memories and figure out how to move forward. The connection between the two? An apartment in Paris on Rue Cler. This is an emotional story, for both Caroline and Céline. As with all WWII stories, there is so much sadness and just dread because you know the worst will happen, but you hope it doesn't and you want the good characters to survive and the bad characters to be held accountable. In the modern day story, Caroline and Victor's growing relationship is charming but I also pushed back against some failed communication and I could see where the story was going. In spite of what I felt were obvious plot developments, I still felt swept up in the stories. And the final piece of conflict in Céline's story, left me both heartbroken and hopeful. Similarly for Caroline, I wanted to see her be happy and was so hopeful that we'd get there. So even when I felt like I knew where things were going, I could not help but keep reading. There are some factual issues with the story, relating to the city of Paris, and I'm hopeful those can be corrected easily by the publisher, For those very familar with Paris, they may be distracting, as they were for me. For readers who don't know the city, they may not notice. They are at least consistent. Lost in this narrative, is the pure devastation that existed for residents in Paris under Nazi occupation. Early on I found this to be a poor choice; for example, there are scenes with Céline going out to a meal with a friend during a time when residents were reportedly starving or attempting to escape. It felt historically off and discordant and took me out of the story a bit.. Later, the story is solely focused on Céline and her own survival and the details of what is happening outside of her situation, are completely absent. We don't know where we are in the war, until the war is almost over. It mostly works overall, to have Céline's story be in such an isolated bubble. It added to the starkness of her situation for sure. For Caroline, I questioned whether anyone in her condition would just be left to their own devices, in the way she was. I chose to suspend belief and just go along with Caroline's own joy of discovering the here and now. Caroline's recovery covers the spectrum, both recovering her memories and dealing with the past and the future. It is a full journey. This is a solid 4.5 stars, full of emotion and two characters that you care about. I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
sandralb 8 days ago
I was frustrated with myself because I couldn't read this book in one setting. I did not want to put it down. This story had me by the heartstrings from the very first chapter. I instantly wondered what it would be like to live in Caroline's shoes. What would I do? How would I feel if the life I knew was suddenly erased? With her memory gone she doesn't know who to trust and she feels as if she might be in danger. Our second heroine Celine, is introduced in the second chapter. Both are very strong women, both living in Paris. Caroline is there in 2009 but Celine is in the war of 1944 during the Nazi occupation. Sarah does a wonderful melding of two time-lines into an unforgettable story. A parcel of letters and a diary found in a Paris apartment, 50 years later, have a wonderful way of bringing these stories together. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction with a touch of mystery and suspense, will enjoy this book. Parts of Celine's story could be very dark. But Sarah Jio has a way of bringing light out of the darkness. Staying alive for her 8 year old daughter Cosi was a big insinuative for Celine. You will love her characters, you will be pulling for them and you will find yourself shedding tears. I closed this book wanting more. I was given a complimentary copy of the book from Random House Publishing through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
TheBookBag 8 days ago
I have been a huge fan of Sarah Jio's stories since the day I read her very first novel. Her words weave together such beautiful, heartwarming tales and this book did not disappoint. Her stories always seem to have a magical feel to them and leave me with such good feelings. I loved the dual story-line in All the Flowers in Paris and I loved it when the two women's connection was revealed—because come on, you knew that was going to happen, right? Caroline and Celine both had troubled pasts and have hardships to get through in their present lives. Traveling back and forth between the two time periods gave me a rich understanding of the two women and demonstrated the strength of these two amazing women. I love opening a book by this amazing author and getting lost in one of her worlds. I get so excited when I learn that she has a new book out and I can't wait! If you have not read any of her books yet, I highly recommend that you pick one up. All the Flowers in Paris would be the perfect one to start with.
Kacey14 9 days ago
Rating: 3.5 stars rounded down to 3.0 stars “All the Flowers in Paris” by Sarah Jio is an interesting book set in Paris featuring two timelines. Its part Historical Fiction, and part Romance. While the writing was good, I felt like I had read versions of at least the 1943 Paris story quite a bit recently. Maybe it’s the hot new book trend, or perhaps I’m just pulled to books set in Paris. Whatever the reason, I initially gave this book 3.5 stars. I have had to round it down to 3 stars for the whole-point rating system that is being used. The two alternating stories are set in for the main part in Paris. Celine narrates the story set in 1943, and Caroline narrates the 2009 storyline. In 1943 Celine, her father, and her 8-year-old daughter Cosi the invading Germans them from running their successful flower shop. When a yellow Star of David is found on their storefront, their prominent clientele quickly dropped away. They then have to try to make do as resources dwindle in Paris and it becomes increasingly dangerous to venture outside. In a dramatic scene, Celine is dragged into the apartment of a malevolent German officer. During her time there, she faced with physical and mental abuse. The subplot with Cosi reminded me of somewhat of “Sarah’s Key” by Tatiana de Rosnay. In the 2009 narrative, Caroline has had a bicycle accident and wakes up with amnesia. Upon return to the apartment that she has rented in Paris, she goes through her items to try to reclaim her memory. She finds herself in a familiar restaurant for breakfast and is not sure why the waiter and the hostess are so wary of her. The bistro owner, Victor tries to befriend her. He eventually gains her trust and they start to do more things together in Paris. She also starts taking up painting again. If the paintings she found in her apartment were her own works, then she is an accomplished artist. Slowly, slowly flashes of her memory return. I liked both stories about equally. Usually it seems that in a dual timeline book, I am drawn to one story more than the other. Both stories could function well as standalone books. At times, I thought Celine and especially her father, underestimated the danger they were in. However, perhaps that is because I know how the German occupation of France really turned out. The 1943 timeline was obviously heavier in the Historical Fiction vein, and the 2009 story was more Romance or Women’s Fiction. I liked both timelines. I just didn’t love them. Hence the solid 3.5 star rating. ‘Thank-You’ to NetGalley; the publisher, Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine; and the author, Sarah Jio; for providing a free e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
TJReads 10 days ago
This was my first Sarah Jio book, the writing was excellent, the storyline was good, and the character development was done well. I liked the past and present chapters, I found Celine, Cosi, Luc, Caroline and Victor all likeable characters. I would not say this was a fully believable story, you need to have a little sense of magic and de jevu in order to get the full feel. I liked the way she depicted the scenes of war time life for Celine, her father and Cosi. I think she hit the mark on that. As for Caroline, we had a few far stretches, but I loved the way she tidied it all up in the end. The ending was heartwarming and well done. I would recommend. My only negative take away would be the love scenes, not that I am adverse, but lately it seems the WWII novels seem to dwell more on the sex than the actual story. I believe the storyline could have held its own without adding in that little tidbit. I did not find them offensive, just unnecessary. This one comes in with 4****’s. I thank Random House Publishing and Net Galley for allowing me the privilege of reading this book for my honest review
MatteaLC 10 days ago
I love historical fiction and this one didn’t disappoint. Sarah Jio is a new author for me, and I will be adding her other works to my TBR list. It is written with duel timelines, in Paris during the 40’s German occupation and in present day Paris. The writing is beautiful, with all of the lure of this iconic city pulling you there. The characters are interesting and well developed and the chapters relating to occupied Paris are descriptive and frightening, while modern Paris is beautiful and inviting. Each timeline weaves a story of love, loss, intrigue, with the characters attempting to maintain and put their lives back together, after the tragedies of their lives take them to dark places. You will love Celine’ and Caroline who’s lives are intertwined, but we don’t know how or why. It’s a page turner, from the beginning to the end. I received an ARC from #NetGalley #PenguinRandomHouseBooks for my honest review and honestly, I loved it!
bookluvr35SL 10 days ago
This story alternates between current day in Paris and Paris during the German invasion of WWII. The past story is about Celine, her daughter Cosi and Celine's father. Celine and her father run a successful flower shop until they are marked as Jews. When word comes that Cosi and her grandfather are to be taken, Celine knows that fleeing is the only thing they can do. The present day story is about a woman named Caroline who has a bike accident and wakes up with no memory. As she tries to piece together who she is, she discovers letters Celine had written to her fiance' hidden in a secret room in her Paris apartment. This book was so captivating, I got lost in the pages. I don't know that I looked up once. Beautifully written, this is not only fiction, but also a love story with a bit of mystery thrown in for good measure. You can't go wrong with this one!
Anonymous 10 days ago
Set in Paris and told in alternating timelines of present day and the German occupation, this wonderful book tells the story of two women trying to navigate daily life and the challenges both timeframes present. It is a story of female resilience, friendship & family bonds, love, and survival. More than just another WW2 historial fiction book, it is a love letter to Paris itself. 4.5 stars!
wjane 10 days ago
All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio Split Time Historical Fiction set in Paris, France during World War II and in the present day. Old secrets hidden in an apartment found by a woman with memory loss. Written in Jio‘s delightful style that immediately captivates from the first page to the last. I really enjoyed the characters and the historical details. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this book.
Kwpat 11 days ago
My favorite novel until now of Sarah Jio’s was The Violets of March. Today, All the Flowers in Paris has captured my heart. This is a story of loss, finding one’s way to be able to go on and find joy in life. The story is set in Paris during WWII and 2009. I was totally engrossed in both story lines. The common tie is that the characters from both periods live in the same apartment. Céline and her little girl are forced to live in the apartment of a German officer. Céline hides her little girl in a secret room beneath the floor. Caroline comes to Paris to get over the death of her daughter and rents the apartment, She is suffering from amnesia after an accident. Jio skillfully threads their two stories together. Cannot say how much I loved this story! Thank you NetGalley and Ballantine books for entrusting me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 11 days ago
Caroline is an American who lives in Paris in 2009. "He" has followed her there and she is furious. As she bicycles away from him, down a narrow street, a truck comes barreling at her. She also sees a mother and young child at the edge of the road. She has a choice. Turn left and hit the mother. Turn right and hit the truck. Caroline turns right. Five days later she awakens in a hospital with amnesia. Celine is a young widow who lives in Paris with her Papa and daughter Cosi in 1943. They have a flower shop on the rue Cler. Luc is her fiancé. Her father's mother was Jewish but with a French surname, they think they will be safe. Then a German soldiers beats her Papa and paints a yellow star on the shop window. Celine knows they must escape Paris. Before they can make plans, a German officer, Reinhardt, tells Celine to report to his apartment if she wants to save her father and daughter. For a year she hides Cos in a small space under her bed in Reinhardt's apartment, sneaking her food as she is able. The intertwining of the lives of these women, separated by over sixty years, is a fascinating story Sarah Jio unfolds in All The Flowers in Paris. The sweetness and optimism of Cosi is contrasted with the hatred and brutality of the Germans. A quote in Cosi's journal is worth repeating, but I am not allowed to do that in this review since I was allowed to read an uncorrected copy. You'll have to read the book to find out what she wrote.
ADonovan 11 days ago
This book is beautifully written but heart-wrenching. Chapters alternate between Caroline (2009) and Celine (1943-44). Caroline has lost her memory after a bike accident, and Celine is trying to keep her family safe in Nazi-occupied Paris. Caroline tries to remember her life, but everything feels different, and the people she encounters who knew her before all seem surprised at her changed demeanor. She finds Celine's letters in her apartment, and her memories start to come back at the same time that she begins to piece together what happened to Celine all those years ago. The story is well-told, and the way the characters are interwoven is very interesting. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Rachel_Denise01 11 days ago
All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio is a heart-stopping, nerve-gripping, tear-jerking masterpiece. Historical fiction, however could be the untold story of thousands of victims of the Holocaust, is at its finest. Weaving the mystery and stories between Caroline in 2009 and Celine and Cosi in 1943 Paris is just stunning. I cannot divulge more about the supporting characters without releasing spoilers, but I have to say every character and story line was divine. I love this book. I truly love it. 5/5 stars!
Reader4102 11 days ago
This novel is told across two timelines – the first is Paris just after the Nazi occupation and features Celine who lives with her young daughter and her father, a florist. The second timeline is set in the recent past and tells the story of Caroline who is involved in an accident that leaves her with no memory. When she is able, she returns to her Parisian apartment on the rue Cler hoping something there will job her memory, but nothing does. She’s fascinated with a bundle of letters she finds that were written by Celine. This is a wonderfully written book by a very talented author. Jio is able to evoke occupied Paris for the reader, including the fears, love, and sadness that were those years. Jio’s characters are well drawn and readers will find themselves rooting for both of them and holding their breath as Celine is forced to make terrible choices in order to ensure the safety of her family. If you love well-written books that evoke both emotion as well as the time period., then this is the book for you. You’ll want to put this one at or near the top of your to-be-read list. You’ll also want to set aside a weekend to read it so you can savor the story, the writing, the setting, and the characters. Thanks to Orion and NetGalley for an e-ARC.
ReadsOnWednesday 11 days ago
All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio came at the perfect time for me. Having just gotten back from Paris, I couldn't wait to let this book take me back to the beautiful City of Lights. I was hooked from the beginning, but probably not for your typical reason. The story starts in 2009 in Paris with one of the main characters, Caroline, getting into a horrible bicycling accident that causes her to have memory loss. I too had a bicycling accident while in France, and although not as bad as Caroline's, I felt an instant connection to Caroline regardless. Set in both 2009 and during the German occupation of WWII, the book alternates between the stories of Caroline, her memory loss and subsequent struggle to figure out who she is, and Celine, running a flower shop with her father and daughter, Cosi, in German-occupied Paris. Slowly it is revealed their stories are somehow connected through an apartment on the posh rue Cler. Their stories are filled with heartache, tragedy, and loss, as to be expected with historical fiction. At times I found their stories to be somewhat predictable, but not so much so that I was compelled to stop reading. Quiet the opposite. There were small twists to the story that kept me hooked and invested in these characters. A fast-paced read, however, I wished at times for more details and descriptions. I really wanted to give it a five-star review, but for these reasons, I'm sticking to four and a half stars. If you love stories set in Paris, historical fiction, and stories filled with equal parts heartache, love, and forgiveness, you will definitely enjoy this book! Thank you, Net Galley and Ballantine Books for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy!
SAEnglish 11 days ago
In the beautiful story, All the Flowers in Paris, by Sarah Jio, you find sadness, beauty, love and impressive determination. Admittedly, I am quite the fan of Sarah Jio, and in my still "unbiased" opinion of the story is wonderful; the writing is beautiful, the two time periods (during the war with Celine and more currently with Caroline) are told with such emotion, angst, grace and bravery. Celine is thrust into the war and an angry German officer while protecting her father and daughter, Cosi. Caroline has lost her memory after an accident and is desperate to remember her past. They come together eventually, This is a lovely addition to past books by this author.
Shelly9677 11 days ago
Captivating and moving. Lovers of historical fiction and intriguing mystery alike will appreciate the well-written and thoughtful prose.
Anonymous 11 days ago
I love reading all things Paris, but this book has to be one of my favorite! Sarah Jio paints such a charming and realistic image of Paris both present day, and during Nazi occupation. I fell in love with the characters, and their intricately woven stories. Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for this ARC!