The Room on Rue Amelie

The Room on Rue Amelie

by Kristin Harmel

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Overview

The Room on Rue Amelie by Kristin Harmel

A moving and entrancing novel set in Paris during World War II about an American woman, a dashing pilot, and a young Jewish girl whose fates unexpectedly entwine—perfect for the fans of Kristen Hannah’s The Nightingale and Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls, this is “an emotional, heart-breaking, inspiring tribute to the strength of the human spirit and the enduring power of love” (Mariah Stewart, New York Times bestselling author).

When Ruby first marries the dashing Frenchman she meets in a coffee shop, she pictures a life strolling arm in arm along French boulevards, awash in the golden afternoon light. But it’s 1938, and war is looming on the horizon.

Unfortunately, her marriage soon grows cold and bitter, her husband Marcel, distant and secretive—all while the Germans flood into Paris, their sinister swastika flags waving in the breeze. When Marcel is killed, Ruby discovers the secret he’d been hiding—he was a member of the French resistance—and now she is determined to take his place.

She becomes involved in hiding Allied soldiers—including a charming RAF pilot—who have landed in enemy territory. But her skills are ultimately put to the test when she begins concealing her twelve-year-old Jewish neighbor, Charlotte, whose family was rounded up by the Gestapo. Ruby and Charlotte become a little family, but as the German net grows tighter around Paris, and the Americans debate entering the combat, the danger increases. No one is safe.

“Set against all the danger and drama of WWII Paris, this heartfelt novel will keep you turning the pages until the very last word” (Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501171406
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 03/27/2018
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 14,551
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Kristin Harmel is the international bestselling author of The Room on Rue Amélie and The Sweetness of Forgetting, along with several other novels. Her work has been featured in People, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Runner’s World, and Ladies’ Home Journal, among many other media outlets. She lives in Orlando, Florida.

Read an Excerpt

The Room on Rue Amélie

CHAPTER ONE


March 2002

She sleeps beside me, her narrow chest rising and falling, and already I miss her.

The sand in the hourglass is running out, flowing relentlessly toward the end. There’s never enough time, not when a person has become a part of you. We were lucky to survive the war, my wife and I, and not a day passes that I don’t think of those we lost. I know it’s greedy to want just one more week, one more month, one more year with her when we were already given so much time. The last half century has been a gift we never expected, perhaps a gift we never deserved.

Still, I can’t let go. I can’t imagine my world without her, for my life didn’t really begin until the day we met. But I’m as powerless to protect her in this moment as I was all those years ago in Paris, though both then and now I tried to fool myself into believing I had some control.

I rise quietly, careful not to disturb her. When she awakens, the pain will return, so while I yearn for her company, I’m grateful that for now, she’s at peace.

I shuffle into the kitchen, boil water in our electric kettle, steep some Earl Grey tea, and make my way to the front porch. It’s March, so the air is crisp, as crisp as it gets here in Antelope Valley, some sixty miles north of Los Angeles. I stare into the misty morning, and my breath catches in my throat when I see it: the first bloom of the season. In the coming weeks, the fields will turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red. My wife will almost certainly be gone by then, but at least she’ll have this, one last dawn to the poppy season.

“Thank you,” I say, looking upward to where I imagine God must be. “Thank you for this.”

I’ve been talking to God a lot lately, which is strange because during the war I might have argued that He didn’t exist. But in the years since, I’ve surprised myself by slowly wending my way back to faith. It began with our daughter, Nadia, for there’s no denying that she was a miracle. And when she had three healthy children of her own, I believed a little more. When our grandchildren gave us great-grandchildren, and my wife and I were still here, I had no choice but to acknowledge a higher power.

Then again, perhaps I’d known on some level that He was there all along, because what other explanation could there have been for my wife and me finding each other in the midst of such chaos all those years ago?

As I gaze out at the rolling fields, I can see our lives unfolding here, our daughter twirling in the sunlight, our grandchildren chasing each other through the blooms. I sip my tea and blink a few times to clear my vision. It’s embarrassing how emotional I’ve grown lately. Men aren’t supposed to cry, especially men of my generation. But when it comes to the love of my life, I’m powerless against the tide.

I finish my tea and head back into the house to check on her. She should still be sleeping, but I find her in bed with her eyes open, her head tilted toward the door. She’s still beautiful, even in old age, even as she succumbs to the cancer we caught too late. “Good morning, my love,” she says.

“Good morning, my darling girl.” I force a smile.

“Have the poppies bloomed yet?”

I nod, and her eyes fill with tears. I know they’re tears of happiness, and I share her joy. “Just one for now,” I reply. “But the others won’t be far behind.”

“What color, my love? What color is the first one?”

“Red. The first poppy of the season is red.”

“Of course.” She lies back and smiles. “Of course it is.”

When she focuses on me again, we gaze at each other for a long time. Looking into her eyes always washes the decades away and takes me back to the day I first saw her.

“I must ask something of you,” she says softly.

“Yes.” I know what it is before she says the words.

“I want to go to the top of the hill just once more. Please.”

“I will take you.” My strength has waned with time; I had a heart attack last year, and I haven’t felt like myself since. But I knew this would be my darling girl’s last wish, and I will make it come true, whatever it takes. “We can go when you’re ready. But let’s wait a few more days until the poppies are fully in bloom.” Of course, the request is partially a selfish one; I want to give her a reason to hang on a little longer, to stay with me.

She smiles. “Yes, you’re right.” She’s already fading, her eyelids heavy, her gaze growing unfocused. “She should be here, though, not me,” she whispers after a moment. “It always should have been her.” I know exactly who she’s talking about: her best friend, the one who was like a sister to her, the one we lost so senselessly all those years ago.

“God had a plan, my darling.” I can’t say what I really want to, which is that I’m grateful it was my wife who survived. That’s a selfish, terrible thing to think, isn’t it? No one should have died at all. But fate doesn’t always play fair.

“I’ll see her again soon.” Her voice is so faint I can hardly hear her as she adds, “On the other side. Don’t you think I will?”

“Don’t go yet,” I say. “Please.” And as she drifts back to sleep, I sink down into the chair beside her and begin to cry. I don’t know how I’ll live without her. The truth is, since the day I met her, it’s all been for her. My whole life. My whole existence. I don’t know how I’ll say good-bye.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Room on Rue Amélie includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

When Ruby Henderson accepts a proposal of marriage from the dashing Frenchman, Marcel Benoit, she envisions an idyllic life in Paris. But it’s 1939, and World War II is imminent. Marcel proves distant as a husband, and Ruby experiences acute loneliness early on in her marriage.

After Marcel’s death, Ruby is determined to continue his efforts in the French Resistance, and she begins sheltering Allied pilots, using her apartment as a safe house. Among the many men Ruby hides is the injured RAF pilot Thomas Clarke, whom she nurses back to health. As Ruby’s emotional attachment to Thomas grows, she worries about his return to battle. When her Jewish neighbors, the Dachers, are deported, Ruby vows to protect their daughter, Charlotte. Ruby and Charlotte become a family, risking everything for the Allied cause.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Describe Ruby Henderson’s first encounter with Marcel Benoit. Who or what is responsible for the distance that grows between them during their short marriage?

2. “Why do we have to be Jewish anyhow?” (page 14) How does eleven-year-old Charlotte Dacher experience religious discrimination in the days leading up to the Nazi occupation of France? To what extent do her feelings of alienation facilitate her special bond with the American expatriate Ruby Benoit? What shared qualities make Charlotte and Ruby compatible?

3. Compare and contrast Marcel Benoit’s and Charlotte Dacher’s reactions to the news that Ruby is pregnant. What do their reactions reveal about their characters and their feelings about Ruby?

4. “I don’t understand. You’re working for the Allies? Why didn’t you tell me?” (page 60) Discuss Marcel’s secrecy about his underground Resistance efforts. How reasonable is his decision to keep his work concealed from his wife? Does Ruby’s sense of personal betrayal in light of Marcel’s secret seem justified? Why, or why not?

5. How does Ruby’s baby’s stillbirth impact her relationship with the Dacher family and her sense of personal responsibility for Charlotte? How does the child’s death affect Ruby’s relationship with her husband, Marcel?

6. “I must help. I must take over Marcel’s work on the [escape] line.” (page 103) Why does Ruby volunteer to continue her late husband’s work in the immediate aftermath of his death? What does her determination suggest about her love for her adopted country?

7. How does the arrival of the injured RAF pilot Thomas Clarke help Ruby to regain her self-confidence and sense of purpose? What does his willingness to risk discovery in order to help Charlotte’s mother reveal about his nature?

8. “This is France, Madame Benoit. We are French citizens.” (page 204) Discuss the roundups taking place in Paris during the German occupation. Why does Monsieur Dacher persist in believing his French citizenship will protect him and his family from being arrested? To what extent does Ruby’s eventual arrest and imprisonment as an American citizen seem surprising?

9. How does Lucien, the young forger, become an important part of Ruby’s extended Resistance family? What explains the intensity of Lucien’s connection with Charlotte?

10. How does Thomas’s return to Paris two years after Ruby helped him to escape the first time confirm the depth of their feelings for each other? Given her unique predicament—serving as a surrogate parent to Charlotte, sheltering wayward Allied pilots, and eking out survival during wartime without any steady income—why does Ruby surrender to Thomas’s affections? How does her eventual pregnancy transform her?

11. “This war, it has changed everything about the world. But our most important lives are still on the inside, aren’t they? What matters is what’s in your heart.” (page 312) Discuss Charlotte’s distinction between inside lives and outside lives. Why might difficult historical and cultural periods such as wartime serve as catalysts for more dramatic interior lives?

12. How would you describe Ravensbrück, the German work camp where Ruby is imprisoned? Why does her pregnancy make Ruby especially vulnerable in the camp? What does the altruism of fellow detainees and German civilians reveal about the potential for goodness in the midst of tremendous evil?

13. To what extent were the deaths of Ruby and Thomas a narrative surprise to you? Why do you think the author chose to end their lives at the same point in the dramatic arc of the novel? How would you describe your reaction to the author’s description of their afterlife reunion in the poppy fields of California?

14. Discuss the depictions of Paris in wartime in the novel. How do the author’s details of the behavior of German soldiers toward the French, of the detention camps, and of the efforts of the Resistance enable you to visualize the novel’s milieu? Which details did you find most compelling? Why?

15. Why do you think the author chose to frame her novel with beginning and ending chapters involving Charlotte and Lucien? Based on ambiguities in the book’s opening chapter, what assumptions did you make about Ruby and Thomas as you read the novel? How did you feel when you discovered the final chapter was about Charlotte and Lucien?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. For Ruby, the fields of poppies that bloom on her parents’ property in Antelope Valley, north of Los Angeles, represent her home, the place she longs to return to in order to raise a family one day, the destination she describes to her beloved, Thomas, to fill his thoughts during their separation. Ask members of your group to reflect on their favorite places. What accounts for the significance of these physical locations, and when do they access them now? Whom have they shared time with at these destinations?

2. Throughout The Room on Rue Amélie, Ruby and Charlotte grapple with the question of God’s existence in the midst of suffering and wartime. For each of them, God’s presence is something felt and experienced through the kindness of others and through acts of self-sacrifice. Ask members of your group to consider personal crises they have faced. What sources of strength have they encountered during those periods in their lives? To what extent could they relate to the crippling doubt, anxiety, and questioning of faith that arose for Charlotte and Ruby in occupied Paris during World War II?

3. At the end of her life, Ruby writes three letters—one to her parents, one to Thomas in care of the Royal Air Force, and one to Charlotte. Ask members of your group to consider the people in their lives they would feel compelled to communicate with in their final moments. What might Ruby have included in each of her letters? How would members of your group feel about being the recipients of end-of-life letters? How has the age of social media changed the traditional methods of communicating with those we love most?

4. World War II was won primarily by the Allied armed forces, but personal stories of bravery similar to Ruby’s also represent many small triumphs that helped turn the tide—and helped save innocent lives. Ask members of your group to discuss what might have happened had individuals such as Ruby not stood up for goodness in the face of evil. Might the outcome of the war have been different? How important is it to stand up for what you believe in, even if it means putting yourself in peril? Discuss times in your own lives when you’ve taken risks to stand up for what’s right, and whether there are instances in your own lives now in which standing up for what you believe in might make a difference.

Customer Reviews

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The Room on Rue Amelie 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
rendezvous_with_reading 10 months ago
Thank you Gallery Books for a free copy to read and honestly review. All opinions are my own. American Ruby Benoit is newly married and living in Paris with her French husband, but instead of the romantic bliss she envisioned, she finds the tension of a pending Nazi invasion marring her new marriage. Her husband, Marcel, has changed from the adoring man she married into someone who broods and disappears for hours and sometimes days with no explanation. Ruby takes comfort in friendship with Charlotte, the young Jewish girl that lives next door. When the Nazis roll into Paris, life changes as the Jews are required to wear a yellow star. When a British man comes to Ruby's door looking for Marcel and she then understands why Marcel is gone so much; he's part of the resistance effort to help downed Allied pilots get out of enemy territory. Ruby is determined to join the resistance and do her part instead of moving back to the safety of America. When Charlotte's parents entrust Ruby with looking after Charlotte right before the Nazis arrest them for deportation, she finds another dangerous way to resist. Thomas Clarke is a fearless RAF pilot with no one to live for, that is, until he's shot down and finds his way to Ruby's door on Rue Amelie. This novel left me emotionally exhausted (in a good way) by it's conclusion. The risks that Ruby, Thomas, Charlotte and others take in order to resist and fight back from within Nazi held Paris holds you captive and had me turning the pages. You get a sense of how hard it must be to have hope where it seems there is none. The characters go through a range of emotions and turmoil; questioning why God would allow this to happen one day and then the realization that there was a purpose to life the next. (Though this is not Christian Fiction) When the likelihood of not surviving is ever close, it seems there is nothing to lose in the risks they take to resist. Novels like this always make me think; what chances would I take in a life under tyranny? This was such a great read!
Vhar318 11 months ago
Rachel Benoit is an American living in Paris, France with her new husband Marcel just before the start of WWII. When the war begins, she makes the decision to stay in Paris with her husband. The live in a beautiful apartment on Rue Amelie looking out towards the Eiffel Tower. Their neighbors the Dacher’s, have a daughter, Charlotte, who at the start of the war is eleven years old. Rachel becomes quite fond of Charlotte. As the war progresses into France life changes drastically changes for the Benoit’s and the Dacher’s. Marcel, Rachel’s husband, decides to join the French Resistance and aid in the escape channel through France for downed Allied pilots. Marcel wants to keep Rachel insulated from what he is doing. Little does he know that this will become her purpose as the war progresses. The Dacher’s are Jewish. In German controlled France it is no place a Jew wants to live. Charlotte doesn’t understand how people could hate her so much for being a Jew. The young girl suffers many humiliations and turns to Rachel as someone to talk to and to try and understand what is happening. Thomas Clarke is an RAF airman fighting the German’s in the air over France. His plane is downed over France and must make his way to the French Resistance to find his way back out of the country. Lucien is French and at the young age of fifteen, joins the resistance as a forger, a very good one. None of the, know what is about to happen but their lives will intertwine and change the courses of their lives forever. This is a story of love, heartbreak, danger and friendship. You are gripped from the start and as the story progresses you can’t help but care for the characters and hope for a happy outcome. This is one book you cannot put down once you start. Kristen Hammel has written an amazing story that holds onto you and doesn’t let go. I was completely transfixed by this story. If you read one book this year, this is the book. This is the first book I have read by this author but now I am going to go back and read more of her works. Beautiful story, which will break your heart but at the same time make you happy that you met the characters.
Vhar318 11 months ago
Rachel Benoit is an American living in Paris, France with her new husband Marcel just before the start of WWII. When the war begins, she makes the decision to stay in Paris with her husband. The live in a beautiful apartment on Rue Amelie looking out towards the Eiffel Tower. Their neighbors the Dacher’s, have a daughter, Charlotte, who at the start of the war is eleven years old. Rachel becomes quite fond of Charlotte. As the war progresses into France life changes drastically changes for the Benoit’s and the Dacher’s. Marcel, Rachel’s husband, decides to join the French Resistance and aid in the escape channel through France for downed Allied pilots. Marcel wants to keep Rachel insulated from what he is doing. Little does he know that this will become her purpose as the war progresses. The Dacher’s are Jewish. In German controlled France it is no place a Jew wants to live. Charlotte doesn’t understand how people could hate her so much for being a Jew. The young girl suffers many humiliations and turns to Rachel as someone to talk to and to try and understand what is happening. Thomas Clarke is an RAF airman fighting the German’s in the air over France. His plane is downed over France and must make his way to the French Resistance to find his way back out of the country. Lucien is French and at the young age of fifteen, joins the resistance as a forger, a very good one. None of the, know what is about to happen but their lives will intertwine and change the courses of their lives forever. This is a story of love, heartbreak, danger and friendship. You are gripped from the start and as the story progresses you can’t help but care for the characters and hope for a happy outcome. This is one book you cannot put down once you start. Kristen Hammel has written an amazing story that holds onto you and doesn’t let go. I was completely transfixed by this story. If you read one book this year, this is the book. This is the first book I have read by this author but now I am going to go back and read more of her works. Beautiful story, which will break your heart but at the same time make you happy that you met the characters.
nhr3bookcrazyNR 11 months ago
Absolutely loved this book. It was a great story. I loved the setting; each and every character; and the relationships that developed. It spanned the entire period of WWII in Paris, and yet moved at a quick pace and very smoothly. It was great.
C_Fowler 12 months ago
The Room on Rue Amélie is a touching book about the strength of relationships in times of hardship. Ruby Henderson Benoit is an American who was swept off of her feet by Marcel Benoit and whisked off to Paris for what she believed would be a happily ever after story. Unfortunately, World War II broke out and with the German Occupation of Paris, Ruby's dreams are shattered. She is thrust into a life of intrigue and hardship but is committed to remaining in Paris to help the Parisians, whom she has come to know and love. This book is about friendship, love, betrayal, and since it deals with wartime, some great sadness. This book taught me many things that I did not know about the French Resistance and its fierce commitment to undermining the German war efforts. The Room on Rue Amélie is about the strength of the human spirit and of blossoming love in the midst of a detestable war. I have already used the word "strength" twice, but it is such an apt descriptor of the people you meet on Rue Amélie, in Paris and unfortunately in the German "work" camps, along with their spirit and faith that good will ultimately prevail. I liked this book and definitely recommend it. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my solely my own.
SecondRunReviews More than 1 year ago
Harmel does her best to give readers a peek into the life of Parisians during the Nazi Occupation by examining how relationships begin, grow and change during difficult times. It’s unfortunate the predictable actions and reactions of the characters prevent, The Room on Rue Amélie from ever reaching the heart-tugging emotional level that might be expected for a story set during this tumultuous time.
KerryACroucier More than 1 year ago
Heart-Wrenching! Recently, I have started to read more novels with World War II as a back drop. Each has been stunning and heart-wrenching in its own way, and this was no exception. The story is told via flashback, centered in Paris as the main characters’ lives intersect with the War and each other: an American woman determined to remain in Paris, at her husband’s side; a Jewish teen girl, and a British Pilot. Each was determined to do whatever they could for the War effort, and never imagined how their lives would change. This novel highlights the amazing actions of everyday people in extraordinary circumstances. The ending was not what I expected, but added to the tears that were flowing freely from my eyes. This was a beautifully written novel that kept my emotions in a tangle as I turned the pages. #TheRoomonRueAmelie #NetGalley
KMorgan73 More than 1 year ago
Ever read a book that is just so good that when you put it down you miss the characters? This is one of those books. Complex and very realistic characters in a story that was so well-written that it was easy to imagine myself in the various settings made this book such a good read that I was sad when I finished it. It was one of those books that I wanted to hurry and finish to know the ending but instead read somewhat slowly to savor every moment with them. This book is one I won't soon forget. There is so much story told in the 400 pages of this book. Ruby, the book's main character, meets Marcel in a New York coffee shop. The two are instantly attracted and the coffee shop scene was one of my favorites of the book. Marcel is French and soon has Ruby leaving her life in the US behind and heading for France. WWII soon breaks out and Ruby's life changes forever. A family is no longer defined by blood or marriage but by the people you care about. A great example of this is the relationship between Ruby and her young Jewish neighbor, Charlotte. A bond is formed between the two when they both realize they feel like they don't fit in. This bond was so genuine that it never seemed impossible or unnatural. Ruby also wants to help her adopted country fight the war and takes part in the Resistance. Ruby was not only independent but very brave doing what she did. She was a character I couldn't help but like. This is one of the best historical fiction books I've read about WWII. The author made it easy to understand the fears of the characters but also their acts of bravery and the cost of those actions. I felt like this was the best glimpse of life during the war that I've ever had in a work of fiction. It is obvious that she did her research. At the end of the book, she mentions that Ruby's story is loosely based on that of a real woman and now I'm interested in that woman's story. All because the author did a such a wonderful job of telling Ruby's story! This was my first book by this author and I loved her way of telling a story. It was easy to visualize the poppy fields of California, the city of Paris and the apartments Ruby lived in. It was also easy to visualize the extremely horrible conditions in Germany and Poland. I also enjoyed the pace of the story. There was always something going on and the story kept moving forward. Even though this story is about WWII and we all know how the war ended there are still some twists and turns in Ruby's story. This kept the story fresh and the ending was just as touching as the beginning. In fact, I may have teared up just a bit at the end. And it takes A LOT to make me do that. I am so glad I stumbled upon this book and I can't wait to read more from this author. She is definitely on my must-read list. As I actively search for more of her books I encourage you to pick up a copy of The Room on Rue Amelie. You won't be disappointed! I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and was not obligated to write a review. All opinions are mine.
LettyB More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely amazing. It held me captive from the first chapter until the author's note at the very end. A story of love, courage and bravery that will stay with me for a long time. I came to love the main characters, Ruby, Thomas and Charlotte, and hoped there would be a happy ending for all despite the setting in WWII France. There were tender, happy moments, and some had me in tears. Beautifully written and researched, Kristin Harmel is an amazing storyteller and has become a favorite author for me. And this book is going on my Favorites 2018 shelf! The Room on Rue Amélie is not to be missed. I highly recommend it!!
Etain L More than 1 year ago
This novel truly surprised me, and I'm glad I didn't stop reading it in the second chapter! In my opinion, some writers of Historical Fiction lean heavier on the romantic fiction side of a story, with only sprinkles of history thrown in. That is definitely not the case with Kristin Harmel's writing! The Room on Rue Amélie is a story of the French Resistance, specifically the escape lines for RAF pilots. There is romance, but this book contains more about love than sappy candlelight dinners. The writing is good, the story is better, the research is great, and it was a fairly quick read.
TheGrumpyBookReviewer More than 1 year ago
I still cannot get The Room on Rue Amelie, by Kristin Harmel, out of my mind. This novel, based on the true story of Virginia d'Albert-Lake, brought the French resistance in World War II to life for me as no book of historical fiction ever has. I felt as if I were right there helping downed pilots escape the Gestapo. This is a love story set against the background of war, but it is so much more. The Room on Rue Amelie is a story of bravery and extreme risk of torture and execution by civilians fighting the evil of Nazi aggression. It is a story of families ripped apart, and of the mass starvation inflicted as an effort to force an entire country into submission. It is a story of the human spirit trusting God in the fight for good against evil. In 1939, main character, Ruby Henderson Benoit, moves to Paris with her new husband, Marcel, as war looms. There she meets her new neighbors, a Jewish family, the Dachers. Eleven-year-old Charlotte Dacher is immediately taken with Ruby, and they become close friends. While Ruby teaches English to Charlotte, the Germans and their swastika flags move into the city. Secretly, Marcel disappears for hours, even days at a time, as he spirits away RAF pilots who have been shot down over France. When Marcel is captured and shot, Ruby takes up his work, but not without gender-biased resistance from those who worked with him. She soon meets RAF pilot, Thomas Clarke. They fall in love and vow to find each other after the war. Quickly, Jewish restrictions and ration coupons for everyone are followed by mass deportation of Jews. When the Germans come for the Dachers, Charlotte’s parents beg Ruby to hide Charlotte. Soon both Ruby and Charlotte, who is older now, are part of the French resistance. I will not soon forget The Room on Rue Amelie. What Made this Book Reviewer Grumpy? Not much, just the usual split infinitives, beginning sentences with conjunctions, but most of all, using “bring” and “brought” when “take” and “took” should have been used.
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
Kristin Harmel brings us a wonderfully fact-filled story of an American bride who finds herself still living in Paris in the summer of 1940 after the Germans invaded France, and chooses to stay in France even after the death of her husband to do all that she can do to contribute to the war effort through the French Underground. This is a well crafted tale, giving us much information on the Underground in France and the costs paid by the population of Paris throughout the years of German occupation. It is a story I am pleased to have read, and find great satisfaction in recommending it to friends and family. I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel from Netgalley, Kristin Harmel, and Gallery - Threshold - Pocket Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me.
PegGlover More than 1 year ago
The Room on Rue Amelie is an amazing story that takes place during WWII in Paris, France. Ruby, an American woman, was ecstatic when her dream to go to Paris came true. A whirlwind romance with Marcel led to a quick marriage and an apartment in Paris. Although Europe was on the verge of war, Ruby didn’t want to return to America. She had made her new life with her French husband and wanted to stay by his side. Ruby’s blissful honeymoon, however, wouldn’t last long. The man she had loved and thought she knew, changed drastically, seemingly overnight. Instead of being loving and attentive, Marcel became secretive and intense. He was often out late at night and whenever Ruby questioned him as to where he had been or with whom, she was met with an abrupt, harsh attitude and an evasive answer. While in Paris, Ruby befriended a neighbor, Charlotte, a young Jewish girl, and her parents. They became Ruby’s lifeline especially when she went into labor early, and her husband was nowhere to be found. Ruby became very protective of her Jewish neighbors, and when she saw the Germans coming, Ruby ran to their apartment to warn them. Charlotte’s life changed forever after her parents were taken by the Germans. Ruby dedicated herself to caring for Charlotte, and to assisting British RAF pilots, to escape German-occupied France. Ruby never thought that she would fall in love again, but after meeting Thomas, a pilot whom she had nursed back to health and then helped to escape, she knew that just wasn’t true. The Room on Rue Amelie is a superbly written, riveting novel. If you enjoy reading WWII, historical fiction, you’ll love this book. Highly recommended. Thank you, Gallery Books and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. I loved it!
teachlz More than 1 year ago
Kudos to Kristin Harmel, Author of "The Room on Rue Amelie" for weaving a fictional story and colorful characters with Historical Fiction. The time period is during World War Two. and goes to the past and the future only as the situation pertains to the story. This is a heavier emotional read with espionage, hardships, devastation, love, despair and hope. The characters are complex and complicated, perhaps due to the circumstances. The characters were also  courageous and brave.  Ruby is an American woman who falls in love with a Frenchman, Marcel and marries and moves to Paris with him. Ruby's parents live in California and are disappointed, because it appears that  Europe  is headed to war. Ruby's neighbors are a Jewish couple with a young daughter Charlotte. When the Germans arrive in Paris and start rounding up the Jewish people, the couple begs Ruby to take care of Charlotte. Thomas  Clarke is a flyer for the British Royal Air Force. His mother was killed in the Blitz by the Germans, and Thomas feels he is doing his duty. When fate brings the three together, there is danger, as they try to fight the Nazis. Kristin Harmel has written an intense, captivating, suspenseful, and intriguing novel. Be sure to have plenty tissues on hand. I would highly recommend this Historical Fiction novel for those readers that appreciate the genre. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.
Glen7297 More than 1 year ago
As a fan of historical fiction, this latest novel by Kristin Harmel is another winner, for both the genre and this gifted author. The publisher’s review suggests that if you loved Nightingale and Lilac Girls, you will want to read this book. I agree. Since the story lines have been summarized by the publisher quite eloquently, I will not go into great detail but will share my opinion and what I loved most about this story. Set in Paris during the WWII occupation by the Nazis, the protagonist, Ruby, is an American who came to Paris with her husband. Her marriage, however, gradually disintegrates amid the stresses of impending war and when her husband is shot by the Nazis, she is left alone and broken. As the horror of war surrounds the city and becomes personal, she sees greater suffering than her own and is compelled to help the war effort by continuing the underground work her husband had been involved in. Ruby has gotten to know her young neighbor, Charlotte, and when Charlotte suffers a huge loss and is at great risk, Ruby takes her into her home with little regard for her own safety. Their relationship is one of my favorite aspects of the book. When Thomas, a British RAF pilot, is brought via the underground to Ruby’s secret room on the Rue Amelie, the two become close as he recovers from injuries and the bond that forms is healing and hopeful for both. The confluence of these two characters with their unique needs and broken dreams, is another favorite aspect of this story. As with all of Kristin Harmel’s novels, the characters come alive and the reader cares deeply about the story. There is much more to this intelligent, well-written novel than what I have sketched out here, of course, so I would highly recommend you read the book and learn the rest of the story.