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WHC’s EmptyNesters Present: Janet Skeslien Charles

The Paris Library

Friday April 23, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


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Join Rabbi Shankman and the WHC EmptyNesters for a virtual discussion with  author Janet Skeslein Charles to join us via Zoom to discuss her latest book, The Paris Library.

Based on the true World War II story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris, this is an unforgettable story of romance, friendship, family, and the power of literature to bring us together, perfect for fans of The Lilac Girls and The Paris Wife.

Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet has it all: her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into Paris, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear, including her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. But when the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.

Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love of language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.

This is a powerful novel that explores the consequences of our choices and the relationships that make us who we are—family, friends, and favorite authors—The Paris Library shows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest of places.


Click here to purchase this book through WHC’s Mitzvah Mall

From the Historical Novel Society

Charles worked as program manager for the ALP in 2010, where she learned of the remarkable selflessness and bravery of the librarians during the Occupation. She has woven a fascinating tale, based on true events and historical characters, most notably Directress Dorothy Reeder. The prose contains many memorable quotes about books and libraries. An extraordinary story of friendship, love, sacrifice, betrayal and forgiveness, the novel makes one realize things are often not what they seem. This could be just one more in the recent influx of novels about Paris, but it is so very much more! A true gem for all historical fiction readers.

From the Author:

My novel is a love letter to libraries and librarians, reminding us that in the digital age, our libraries – our third space, our sanctuary, our source of facts in a fake-news world – are more vital than ever. And more than ever, they are under attack. The Paris Library is a reminder that we must protect and appreciate what we have.

About the Author:

Janet Skeslien Charles is the award-winning author of Moonlight in Odessa, which was published in ten languages. Her shorter work has appeared in revues such as Slice and Montana Noir. She grew up on the plains of Montana then spent two years in Odessa, Ukraine, as a Soros Teaching Fellow. She taught English, French, and Creative writing for fifteen years, first in Ukraine, then in Montana, and finally in France. Janet first became interested in the incredible true story of the librarians who stood up to the Nazi “Book Protector” when she worked as the program’s manager at the American Library in Paris. Her novel The Paris Library will be published in seventeen countries. She divides her time between Montana and Paris.



Friday, April 23


11:00 am - 12:00 pm




Adult Ed, Lecture