“How extraordinary to find love in the midst of war.”
Ruby is an American who found herself in France married to a man she once loved, but hardly sees anymore. As war approaches, she finds herself alone, but not wanting to leave France. Her only “friend” is the girl who lives next door – a Jewish girl. When the girl finds herself alone, too, they decide to stick together, but have to decide what risks they are willing to take – hide or fight.
I was able to request Room on Rue Amelie through NetGalley and was given a free copy in exchange for a fair review. I have not read any of Harmel’s other books, but Room on Rue Amelie was compared to The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, which was a great historical fiction book. Historical fiction is my favorite genre as I get to delve into a story, but also learn something along the way.
Ruby’s husband dies and the girl’s parents are arrested. Ruby takes Charlotte into her care and then discovers her husband was working with The Resistance to help downed Allied pilots get back into friendly territory. There is even a secret compartment in their building where he hid them, which she only discovers when a pilot shows up at her door. Thomas is the first pilot Ruby helps and he stays longer than most due to a reworking of the network after her husband’s death. The bond created between the three of them will cement them together for life, and possibly beyond.
Lovers of historical fiction will really enjoy this book. The characters were different than most WWII historical fiction I’ve read and were more complex. Books like Room on Rue Amelie are a good reminder of what has happened in the past and how a single person can be brave and make a huge difference.