When it comes to Holocaust stories, I always prefer memoirs or non-fiction, but if you’re looking for a historical fiction spin on the subject, this one isn’t bad. For some reason it just didn’t feel quite as realistic as other historical fiction works on this topic (like this one here). Maybe the language seemed slightly less than authentic? But as far as an interesting story? This is good. I also also like seeing the war depicted from the Christian/civilian perspective. This book in particular shows that it can be complicated. Even those who did important work to save Jewish people did not always do so because they were so magnanimous. People are flawed.
Lucien is an architect living in Paris. While he detests the Germans and being under their occupation, he – like most French – is just trying to keep his head down. If it doesn’t effect him, he tries not to concern himself with it. And yes, that includes being kinda anti-Semitic (again, like most French). When a wealthy businessman approaches him with the promise of a major commission if he first lends his keen eye to building out a hiding place, Lucien obliges for no reason other than times are tough. Soon, one hiding place turns to several and Lucien has found himself a unique and dangerous specialty.
While I found the story interesting, it felt just a bit too convenient and wrapped up with a pretty bow. When it comes to the Holocaust, I feel like even fiction should feel ultra realistic.
3 out of 5 stars.