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While Paris Slept

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,644 ratings  ·  313 reviews
One woman must make the hardest decision of her life in this unforgettably moving story of resistance and faith during one of the darkest times in history.

Santa Cruz, 1953. Jean-Luc is a man on the run from his past. The scar on his face is a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi occupation in France. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never
Kindle Edition, 465 pages
Published February 23rd 2021
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Will Byrnes
One had a duty to survive, for all the others who couldn’t.
Years of hunger, fear, deprivation--these things can change a good person into a bad person.
Occupied Paris, March 1944. Jean-Luc, 21, is a railway worker, who had dropped out of school six years ago. He is posted at the Bobigny rail station in suburban Paris. It is adjacent to Drancy, a German transit camp. Jews are being transported to concentration camps, but that is something that locals
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a well written historical novel partly set in America in the early 1950’s and the Second World War years in Paris. The central premise is that of love and sacrifice and so it is very moving at times. Jean Luc Beauchamp, his wife Charlotte and son Sam now live in Santa Cruz, California but during the war Jean Luc worked on railway maintenance at Bobigny, where from Drancy Station French Jews were transported to Auschwitz. In 1953 he is taken in for questioning about his wartime role. The ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Told in two different timelines, the 1940s and 50s, While Paris Slept is a unique story of courage and love during the most horrific of times. There are some deep secrets to this story that I can’t bear to reveal, even if they are alluded to in the synopsis, so I’ll keep this review on the brief side.

While Paris Slept is a book I highly recommend for fans of historical fiction who enjoy more in depth stories that take their time to unfold in a way you can truly bite into and savor. The character
It was 1944 in Paris and Jean-Luc Beauchamp had been working with the French Railway Department since he left school at fifteen. Now the Germans had taken it over, and working at Bobigny right next to the camp, Drancy, was becoming too much for Jean-Luc and his fellow workers to bear. They knew the trains would be filled with the Jews who were being moved to special camps, but that’s all Jean-Luc would let his mind dwell on. Until the morning that a young woman prisoner broke away and thrust som ...more
Jun 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a debut!
Jean Luc gets a baby put into his hands by a Jewish woman on her way to the camps. After the war the woman goes looking for them.
There were some decisions in the book that I didn't think very feasible and there was too much information crammed in, it could have done with a bit less. But it was written with warmth and respect.
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While Paris slept is a beautifully written, moving story set in Paris in 1944 and 1950’s America.
Jean-Luc Beauchamp’s is a railway worker and is sent to work in Bobigny, doing maintenance work near the transit camp Drancy. When he meets Sarah, who has been taken by the Nazi and she is on her way to the camp. She fears for her life not only for herself, but for her baby Samuel. She meets Jean-Luc and decides he is a caring man and persuades him to take her baby. Jean-Luc is apprehensive at first
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
A young couple flee Paris in 1944 during the occupation to save a babies life.
Nine years later they are found in America and their new life is in jeopardy.
A story of hope, sacrifice, love and survival that tugs at your heartstrings.
Thank you to NetGalley and Headline for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Natasha Lester
While Paris Slept made me think and cry and rage and smile at mankind’s capacity for both beautiful, selfless love and terrible, heartbreaking cruelty. It is at once a story of wartime courage and desperation, and of the many ways in which war reverberates through people’s lives for years after the fact. Prepare to question yourself and the characters in the novel, to wonder what you might have done in their place; in short, prepare to be thoroughly engrossed in this compelling book in which fou ...more
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For my full review, visit me at

This was an emotive, historical read. Not only does it focus on the war and endurance, but surviving afterwards. The love that a parent can hold for their child is truly explored in Druart’s narrative and I found myself quickly absorbed in this story.

For my full review, visit me at
Deanne Patterson
May 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Deanne by:
Such a beautiful story that will captivate you.
This one has two time lines splitting between 1944 Paris and 1953 California.
A heartbreaking decision made in German occupied France will come to haunt a couple years later .
Yes, this was a very dark time in history but we are presented with a glimmer of hope,power of love, resilience, and courage.
Explores the length a family will go to while showing love unconditionally.

Pub Date 23 Feb 2021
I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you.
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
This emotional book starts in 1953, Santa Cruz, California. Jean-Luc Beauchamp and his wife Charlotte live a nice life with their nine year old son Sam. The family escaped Paris toward the end of World War II and managed to put that life behind them. But Jean-Luc is confronted by two men who arrive at their home asking him about circumstances that occurred back in France which threatens their happy life.

The story, told through multiple perspectives, shifts back to 1944 when Jean-Luc is a railroa
Beth Chats Books
I think for fans of World War Two historical fiction, this book will be just the ticket for you! This book has two main parallel timelines, 1944 Paris and 1953 California. The novel follows Charlotte and Jean-Luc living in Nazi Occupied France in the 1940s, who fall in love and make a life changing decision before fleeing to the United States. The implications of their decision back in 1944 comes back to haunt them in their new lives in America.

This book briefly touches on the Jewish experience
Natalie "Curling up with a Coffee and a Kindle" Rampling
A fascinating take on WW2, and the Nazi occupation, and how families move on from the trauma they experienced.
As I was listening to the (excellent) audiobook, it took me a little time to follow the different narrations and understand who was who in relation to each other.
The characters were excellent and I was constantly moved by the predicament each of them were in. The narrators were absolutely wonderful, the French and American accents were superb and helped me distinguish who was talking e
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general, literary
While Paris Slept – A Powerful Story

Ruth Druart has written a powerful story, of love, family, survival and hope. Set in with the backdrop of Paris during the occupation and the round-up of the Jewish residents, when many looked the other way. A book that takes a look at the round-ups and how some people had no choice to work for the Nazi regime, and that hope did not die, even when tested.

Jean-Luc has been forced to work at Drancy the station and railway yard that the Nazi’s had chosen as the d
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book to review via Netgalley. Thank you for the opportunity.
This book was beautiful. The writing is quick paced and has a unique flow. It took some time to get used to the pace but once I did, I was absorbed. The imagery in particular, I adored with characters and scenery becoming vivid for me.
The author crafts the book, building layer on layer of the story, in which nothing is as it seemed. My ideas and feelings on the main characters were changed as I delved deeper in the boo
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my goodness, this book!!! It’s fairly chunky at 489 pages & I read it in two days because I literally could not tear myself away from it! It’s full of courage & bravery & love & heartache but the ending... oh lordy, it broke me! Proper sobbed. But don’t let that put you off because honestly, it is WONDERFUL!!
Mar 07, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The ARC of this book was kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. #WhileParisSlept #NetGalley.

If I'm being honest, I'm still at a loss of words. This book was one of the most emotional books I've read this year, I tore through it in one sitting and I'm still processing the raw complexity of what I just read. The pacing of this book is fast, we're thrown head first into the story of the main family that we come to know as Jean-Luc, Charlotte and Sam. Their
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
This is the very emotional story of Jean-Luc, Charlotte and Sam. It is told in two timelines. First of all is the story of occupied Paris in 1944. Jean-Luc is a railway worker and is forced to work at Drancy, near to a camp where Jewish people are being held. The trains leave early in the morning and are never seen, but they leave behind debris on the station including clothes and children's toys. He comes to believe that many people are passing through and that perhaps something terrible is hap ...more
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wartime, Train station platform, Sarah doesn't know where the Germans are taking her and her husband, in an act of desperation she hands her newborn, Samuel, into the hands of a stranger, who seems like a kind man. Anything must be better than bringing him with them to what they will be facing at the end of this train journey.
Fast forward several years, Sam is living in sunny California with his parents, Jean- Luc and Charlotte. Little he knows the journey they took to bring him to safety, to es
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In general I tend not to read Holocaust fiction often - I find it utterly unbearable, utterly heartbreaking and totally uncomfortable. However, there is a wealth of fantastic fiction written about this terrible period of our history and I’m so glad I chose to listen to this book. This is the story of two couples - David and Sara, and Jean-Luc and Charlotte, and a little boy called Sam. The novel switches between Paris under German occupation in the 1940s and America post- war 1950s and switches ...more
Rachel Hall
Less historical fiction and more a novel with an impossible situation at its heart, While Paris Slept is Ruth Druart’s debut and examines the perspectives of two couples caught in a tug of war over a child and the repercussions of a decision made in the midst of war. The story opens in 1953 when Jean-Luc Beauchamp opens his front door in California and is faced with police officers probing his activity during the war and accusing him of kidnapping nine-year-old Sam, the boy he considers his son. ...more
Beginning in 1953, Jean-Luc is living in America with his family, having made a new life far from his previous one in Paris. Life is good until one day, early one morning, there is a knock at the door. Life is thrown into turmoil.

This dual time story, set in 1944 Paris and 1950’s America is told through various perspectives. I’ve read so many stories that feature the German occupation and the Holocaust and it never fails to horrify. While Paris Slept binds together its characters in the most tra
Mariam Salahudeen
I was an emotional mess by the end of this book. A beautiful heartrending story set in the midst and aftermath of WW2. It was quite a long book but the story was captivating.
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am incredibly honored to be the first to review this book on Netgalley. Reading this beautiful story of love and survival has been both engaging and emotional.

As she is being transported to Auschwitz, Sarah gives her newborn son to a young man to keep him safe. Jean Luc and his wife Charlotte keep him more than safe, they bring him to America and raise their son Samuel, Sam, in America surrounded by love.

But after the war, Sarah and David have survived Auschwitz and search for their child. W
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was totally amazing. It moves from the story of World War II in France to the next generation starting their lives in America. Each step was amazing. The main vein running through the whole book is unconditional love. I have read a lot of books about World War II and how people escaped the Nazis but this one was very special as it didn’t just cover the painful journey and loss, it looked at how people began to live again after the war. I’ve never read a book which dealt with the separa ...more
Nicky Mottram
Audio version of this book 📚- WOW 😯 what an emotional rollercoaster of a read/listen! It really opened my eyes as to the hardships and terrible things that people had to live through. Showing how a mothers love was so strong that she did the hardest thing imaginable to save her baby . It showed how even many many years after the war had ended the ripples of the effect carried on and had a huge impact still on people’s lives. The narrators were fantastic and made it such a gripping listen and the ...more
Rhonda Ruff
Mar 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a great story behind the story of war! Such a heartbreaking story of what a mother and father would do to make sure their child was safe! I could not turn pages fast enough
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 512

Publisher - Headline

Source - Vine

Blurb from Amazon

Paris 1944
A young woman's future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.

Santa Cruz 1953
Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi Occupation. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. H
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Thank you for visiting my author's page. As you are here, you are probably an avid reader, as I am. I grew up on the Isle of Wight, where I spent many happy days on the beach swimming and reading - still my favourite pastimes. I love the power of story, and believe that sharing stories from different perspectives and different backgrounds can help us understand the world better. Having studied psy ...more

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