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The Siren of Paris by David LeRoy
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The Siren of Paris (edition 2012)

by David LeRoy

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308367,255 (3.65)None
Member:RebeccaGraf
Title:The Siren of Paris
Authors:David LeRoy
Info:David Tribble Publishing (2012), Paperback, 342 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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The Siren of Paris by David Le Roy

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Bought prior to offer to review..

“regardless, we become our choices we make over time”

Ultimately, this book is a wonderfully crafted dramatic saga told from the perspective of Marc Tolbert, Parisian born American who responds to the Siren call of Paris to study art in 1939. We are introduced to the litany of stories that will follow in the book by the count of souls that attend his funeral: souls that he has adopted as his cross to bear from the war.

From that viewpoint, we start to see who Marc is and how he came to have so many people; living and dead, to say goodbye. Told in small pieces, we see Marc making dangerous choices: returning to Paris, refusing to leave when war is imminent, joining a small cell of the Resistance, being desperate for a love connection and ignoring the signs of capture. Told as flashbacks and dream sequences, interspersed with of the moment commentary, this story is laden with information and tension making it a must read page turner.

Historically detailed and exquisitely described the settings come into clear focus. They are cleanly and seamlessly integrated into the story, reading much like a postcard snippet from a long awaited vacation. That technique, the overlay of the beautiful with the horrific, the mundane details in the midst of great activity give a further strength and impact to the story being detailed.

I will admit – I am addicted to Paris, and I understand her Siren’s call. But when I read of this book, I purchased it for a far different reason. I have an uncle in Paris, who went to work with the Resistance when he was just 17 and a son of a prominent family there. His name provided entrée into circles and places that many who led the double lives were unable to attain. And yet, I was nearly 20 when he started to share some of those stories with us, my cousins and I. He was a man who was haunted by those he knew who were gone, by the atrocities he saw in his beloved city, and the anger he felt to those who collaborated and were left untainted after the war. I bought the story specifically to read to help me to understand better what he may have felt. And I can only hope that he too, has attained the peace Marc was able to discover in the last pages.

This book had me in tears, with a knot in my stomach: a poignant treatise on the horrors of war be you soldier or shopkeeper, old or young. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to learn of the journey of forgiveness and faith, choices and fate, and above all the ability of the human spirit to endure.

( )
  IamIndeed | Mar 29, 2013 |
This book is such a meticulously crafted travel back in time, and certainly will not be a book that is forgotten. This is one you will want an actual copy of, so you can come back to it, and read again and again, it is detailed and researched so well, I got lost so many times in this story, and honestly, didn't want to come back some of the time.
I am kind of at a loss of words for this review, I am more then impressed with David LeRoy's debut novel, and I am more then anxious to read any news of another book coming soon.
If you enjoy history books, this will definitely exceed all of your expectations! Reading it is more like a very vivid dream, then just a book, and I found myself checking how many pages were left several times, not because I wanted it to be over, but because of the exact opposite. I was horribly sad when it ended. That being said, I would not recommend starting this book when you have a to do list, errands or anything else that will interrupt this painfully amazing journey back in time. Otherwise, you will keep people and your list waiting.
Marc Tolbert, is the main character in this novel, you get to know him beginning with his funeral.
In 1939, Marc was 20 years old, and was on his way to medical school until he decided to go back to Paris, to attend art school. 1939 of course, was a most terrifying time, and Marc chooses to ignore all of the signs that the world, including Paris, (France) are on the brink of a devastating world war. The author goes into explicit detail, bringing all of the actual historical events and figures into play, as we relive his past with him.
As disgusting as a time as this is, David LeRoy, manages to carefully articulate a story of spirituality with this book. He doesn't leave anything out of this story, and there will be times you will cringe at the events taking place on the pages, and yet, at the same time, you will be re living a time in history, as though you were really there or at the least, watching a movie.
You will be with Marc, as he tries to escape France, spends time in concentration camps, and witnesses the people and children trying to leave the country. Of course he also falls in love in this story, and with that, comes betrayal.
When Marc dies, he doesn't get to pass into eternal peace, until he answers one question successfully. This is of course a very emotional book, and again, I can't stress enough how brilliant of a job this author did with captivating the reader, pulling the reader in from page 1.
You will find it a tad bit hard to just let go of this book, and I feel I must stress that this book may not be for everyone. (Although, David LeRoy is able to use his creativity and imagination to turn something so grotesque, into a story that will draw in many different types of readers.)

** I received a copy of this book in return for my honest review ** ( )
  busymommylist | Dec 27, 2012 |
What makes a great book? How does an author know he did it right? I'll explain with David LeRoy's The Siren of Paris.

A French born American finds himself losing his girl and just not satisfied being a premed student. The allure of Paris calls to his artistic side. What better place to be than in Paris to study art? The only problem is the pesky rumors of Germany advancing. There is no way Hitler would go that far. To prove it, Marc dives into French life finding new friends, new love, and new styles in gas masks and bombed out apartments. Hitler would go that far and changed Marc's life forever.

David LeRoy set this book before and during Germany's occupation of France. The extensive research is obvious as one sits in an art class, watches the masses running from the bombers, and the dead floating in the sea. One would think they were there trying to save lives by pretending not to be part of the Resistance and dealing the ghosts that haunt your every waking moment.

The characters are well-developed with layers upon layers for the reader to dive through. Just when you have one pegged, another layer is revealed toward the soul. This is not a romance story. This is not a story of occupied France. This is the story of one man drawn to his country of birth and the people who have become his family while holding his own past against himself. It is the story of a soul's struggle to let go and move forward.

I applaud Mr. LeRoy's writing which is captivating. The book is wonderfully written and will keep you glued to the pages as you connect with the characters and become part of the dangerous world of secrets, love, and death.

Note: This book was provided as part of a promotional tour with no expectation of a positive review. ( )
  RebeccaGraf | Nov 21, 2012 |
Marc Tolbert, a French Born American, journeys to Paris in 1939, escaping heartbreak and looking for his place in the world. Marc starts art school, falls in love with a fellow student and enjoys the company of the Parisians around him. Like other ex-pats, Marc believed that war with Germany will never occur, until he becomes involved with the US Embassy as a diplomat. Marc watches as Paris is abandoned, and waits to flee aboard the doomed Lancastria. Marc returns to Paris, hoping to help downed US Airmen escape. But the work is risky, with German Soldiers on every street corner. Marc is betrayed, and struggles to come to terms with the war, crimes, betrayal, and life.

This novel tells the story of WWII in a different manner that I am accustomed to. I have previously read WWII books told in a German or American perspective, but never occupied Paris. The brutality of the invasion was very realistic and detailed. The tension, hunger and apprehension is all palpable and real. The secondary characters are lively. It was interesting to see how all the characters reacted to the same invasion in varied and different ways. Some became victims of fear, some joined the resistance and some joined the Germans. I also appreciated how Leroy showed the guilt, sickness and numbness of Marc's captivity. ( )
  allisonmacias | Oct 26, 2012 |
In The Siren of Paris by David LeRoy, Marc is tempted by the siren call of Paris to return to the place of his birth, a place he does not remember but has the enticements of all he desires: love and art. Set in the time before Paris is invaded by Germans during WWII, LeRoy does well in depicting by turns the fear and the indifference Parisians and expats felt when Germany began to advance across Europe. Once France begins to realize that negotiations with Germany will amount to nothing and Germany begins to take more territory, the fears become overwhelming for many, and there is an anxiousness that pervades the novel’s pages, especially as Marc’s friends panic about returning to the United States and England.

With that said, there are quite a few missed opportunities in the beginning of this novel when Marc is on a diplomatic mission with Mr. Wells (at the behest of William Bullitt, US ambassador to France) and they meet with not only Mussolini, but also Ribbentrop, who goes on a diatribe for 2 hours, and you don’t get any of the conversations! Instead, LeRoy spends several pages on news reel footage in the local theater afterward when Marc returns and is on a date with Marie. Missed opportunities like these set off alarm bells that more research could have been done to learn what might have been said by these high-ranking officials conquering Europe. It also begs the question of whether this story was as well thought out as it could have been, especially given that the transitions between moments in time and locations are often left out and the reader feels adrift until they get their bearings again as to where they are, what day, and whom they encounter.

Read the full review: http://savvyverseandwit.com/2012/09/the-siren-of-paris-by-david-leroy.html ( )
1 vote sagustocox | Sep 12, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0983966710, Paperback)

Upon Marc’s death, he finds himself in the company of ghosts trapped in limbo, reliving his experiences in World War II. He must revisit his past and answer one question successfully before passing into eternal peace. The reader is transported to World War II-era France. In 1939, 20-year-old Marc Tolbert has reached a turning point in his life. He abandons his plans of going to medical school to study art in Paris, which is the place of his birth. As he boards a ship and heads to France, he chooses to ignore signs that Europe -- along with the rest of the world -- is on the brink of an especially devastating war. When he arrives at l'École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, more ominous signs surface. There are windows covered with tape, sandbags shielding the fronts of important buildings, whispers of Parisian children leaving the city, and gas masks being distributed. Marc has a long journey ahead of him. He witnesses, first-hand, the fall of Paris and the departure of the French government. Employed by an ambassador Bullitt, a friend of his family, he visits heads of state, including the horribly obese gray-haired Mussolini and the charismatic Hitler. He witnesses the effects of the tightening vise of occupation, first-hand, as he tries to escape the country. He also participates in the French resistance, betrayed, spends time in prison camps, and sees the liberation of the concentration camps. This is a blend of carefully researched historical fiction and a spiritual journey inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead. It includes many actual historical figures and events, including Ambassador Bullitt, Sumner Wells, Sylvia Beach, Jacques Lusseyran, and Joan Rodes, known as the Angel of Saint-Nazaire. It is both a realistic novel of a civilian caught in a brutal war, and working with the French resistance, and a story of a man seeking release from a past that never goes away.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:26 -0400)

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