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The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
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The Paris Architect

by Charles Belfoure

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6624614,511 (3.85)37
  1. 10
    The Dream of Scipio by Iain Pears (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Each explores individual morality, justice, and Jewish identity in France during different eras. The Paris Architect offers a linear narrative of French and Jewish resistance in World War II; the denser, more complex Dream of Scipio treats 4th-20th century events.… (more)
  2. 00
    Vagabond by Bernard Cornwell (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These gritty and richly detailed historical thrillers are about redemption and a higher purpose -- in Paris an architect works to hide Jews from the Nazis and in Vagabond a soldier hunts for the Holy Grail.
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Lucien is an architect in Paris during the German occupation. He is just trying to survive. Then a remarkable opportunity arises. He can earn a lot of money and maybe even advance his career, but there is a catch. The project involves building secret hiding places for Jews. Lucien is indifferent to the plight of the Jews, so it is not for any benevolent reason that he considers the job offer. His desire to provide some little luxuries for himself to and finally be working at a project that challenges him proves to be the motivation that causes him to say yes. So he starts working with Auguste Manet, his wealthy benefactor, hoping that he can just do this one job for him and then be done with it. But as he gets more involved with Manet and with a host of other characters - including Manet's clients and a new love interest-Lucien finds himself becoming personally involved with the project. After all, there is a certain thrill to using his skill to hide people and fool the Germans. But will he pay the ultimate price for playing this cat and mouse game with them?
I enjoyed this story on several levels. I enjoyed the historical details about what life was like in Vichy France. I enjoyed the novelty of an architect using his skill to design such clever hiding places--something for which there is a great historical precedent. And I also found that Lucien and Manet and the other characters, particularly Lucien's love interest, were real enough to me that I genuinely cared what happened to them. The ending may have been a bit contrived, but it was emotionally satisfying for those wanting the "good guys" to win. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy well crafted historical fiction, especially if they enjoy those about World War II ( )
  debs4jc | Nov 8, 2017 |
**I received this as an ARC for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**

I find it hard to believe that this was a debut novel. Mr. Belfoure has produced a fast paced thriller that not only brought the characters to life, but made me feel their emotions and produced a visceral reaction to what the atmosphere of Paris must have been like in Nazi occupied France during WWII. Life during WWII and the occupation was difficult at best, food was scarce and rationed, neighbor was against neighbor. You did well to stay to yourself and cast suspicion on everyone around you. Life was endured, not enjoyed. The dialog was at times uncomfortable, so hard to believe that people thought and felt that way about a group of people.

This is the story of Lucien, a struggling architect, trying to make a name for himself. This is also the story of inner conflict. When you first meet Lucien, he is really apathetic to the plight of the Jews, and scared to death of the Nazis. He is more concerned with the internal struggle of his wants and needs versus being turned in or caught and tortured and put to death, than what would become of the Jews he is helping to hide. Then, in a twist of fate, he becomes a double agent of sorts, designing factories for the Germans, all the while still helping Jews to hide. What happens is all to real. What happens will make you think. What happens will keep you reading this one through the night.

I give this one *5* stars. I am definitely a fan of Mr. Belfoure, and eagerly anticipate his next novel.
~Michele
Book Geeks Unite!
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  RowleyWrites | Sep 28, 2017 |
During World War II an architect in occupied Paris is hired to design secret hiding places for Jews. I wasn't expecting this one to be such a nail-biter, but I couldn't put it down. I loved that the book portrayed people on both sides of the conflict with questionable morals. Just because someone is on one side or the other doesn't make them completely good or bad. They are still just people, terrified by the events happening around them.
Neighbors lived in fear that a jew would be found hiding in their building and they would all be killed. Parisians were scared that refusing to cooperate with the Nazi officials would end in their imprisonment. It was a culture of fear and that makes some people brave and others weak. ( )
  bookworm12 | Sep 26, 2017 |
I enjoyed reading this book well enough, but it was predictable and not believable in the details. A god vacation read, but entirely unforgettable. ( )
  technodiabla | Aug 13, 2017 |
Paris Architect. Charles Belfoure. 2013. Yet another great book! (Boy, have I read some super books this summer!!!!). It is 1942. The Nazis are in full control of Paris and are hell bent on finding every French Jew there especially those who have money and/or art and art collections. Lucien Bernard an architect who has remained in Paris is juggling a wife and a demanding mistress and trying to live under the radar of the Nazis and also earn enough money to take care of himself and his wife and provide the occasional treat his mistress. He is contacted by a well-to-do business man who asked if he’d like to get a commission to build a Nazi munitions plant. When Lucien agrees he is told he must design hiding places for Jews in an apartment. Lucien doesn’t want to, but wants the German commission. This begins a pattern of designing places to hid Jews and drawing up plans for the Germans. Suspense builds as we watch Lucien began to care about the people he is saving and become more determined to beat the Germans, and watch the Gestapo moving closer to Lucien. I love Lucien’s description of the Bibliotech Nationale! There is some violence and some sex scenes but it fits into the plot. ( )
  judithrs | Jul 20, 2017 |
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Just as Lucien Bernard rounded the corner at the Rue La Boetie, a man running from the opposite direction almost collided with him.
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Book description
In 1942 Paris, gifted architect Lucien Bernard accepts a commission that will bring him a great deal of money – and maybe get him killed. But if he's clever enough, he'll avoid any trouble. All he has to do is design a secret hiding place for a wealthy Jewish man, a space so invisible that even the most determined German officer won't find it. He sorely needs the money, and outwitting the Nazis who have occupied his beloved city is a challenge he can't resist.

But when one of his hiding spaces fails horribly, and the problem of where to hide a Jew becomes terribly personal, Lucien can no longer ignore what's at stake. The Paris Architect asks us to consider what we owe each other, and just how far we'll go to make things right.

Written by an architect whose knowledge imbues every page, this story becomes more gripping with every soul hidden and every life saved.
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In 1942 Paris, architect Lucien Bernard accepts a commission that will bring him a great deal of money-- and maybe get him killed. All he has to do is design a secret hiding place for a wealthy Jewish man, a space so invisible that even the most determined German officer won't find it. He sorely needs the money, and outwitting the Nazis who have occupied his beloved city is a challenge he can't resist. When one of his hiding spaces fails horribly, and the problem of where to hide a Jew becomes terribly personal, Lucien can no longer ignore what's at stake.… (more)

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