It’s no secret that I am a big fan of wartime historic fiction. I am a bit of a history buff and every time I read great book in this genre I learn something new about the impact war had on everyday lives and humanity. An American in Paris, the new novel by Siobhan Curham is no exception.
This is a poignant World War Two story of survival, friendship, love and loss. At times it is beautiful, at other times it is heart breaking. Especially as this is an emotive narrative that leads to a mother abandoning her new born baby.
It is the story of a young American dancer who dreams of becoming a writer. The same day that Florence arrives in Paris in 1937 she accidently scatters her underwear on the steps by the Sacré-Coeur. She also meets Otto, a passionate artist. Otto is an Austrian Jew with a warm, loving heart who has always dreamed of living in Paris, inspired by the city’s artistic history. He also possesses a fierce hatred of Hitler and the Nazis.
Otto has to return to Austria and although Florence throws herself into Parisian life she never forgets him. Then one day he returns to Paris – but as an exile having fled from Nazi persecution.
Florence’s poignant wartime story which starts in small acts of defiance against Nazi occupation and leads her on dangerous secret missions is juxtaposed with the story of Sage. A social media influencer, Sage has fallen from ‘celebrity’ grace in an almighty way as she mourns the recent death of her mother. As kindness reaches out to Sage from a very unlikely source, she finds she is connected to Florence’s wartime past. In finding this connection she finds her true authentic self.
This is a love story, but at its core it is a powerful story of loyalty and survival. The haunting story of Bessie, Florence’s friend is a story I will never forget. It also portrays the destructive legacy of post traumatic stress disorder, the power of compassion and kindness, including self kindness.
An American in Paris captured my heart and consumed me. Full of depth and warmth with a gripping story and also an unpredictable plot, this novel in my view makes a brilliant lockdown read.
Thank you to Sarah Hardy from Bookouture for bringing this great novel to attention and inviting me to the blog tour to help publicise it. Although Siobhan Curham has been a published author for twenty years, An American in Paris is her first historical fiction novel. I hope it’s not her last because I want to read more.
An American in Paris was published on 4th January 2021.
To read the reviews from my fellow book bloggers also on the blog tour, please see below.