Publication Info: Expected publication date: August 4, 2020.
I’m delighted to take part in my first blog tour for a book, thanks to St. Martin’s Press! My review will post on the publication date, August, 4, 2020. In the meantime, here is some promotional material provided by the publisher. Click HERE for an excerpt from the first chapter.
Praise for Paris Never Leaves You
“A memorable, thought-provoking moral conflict, and dialogue [that] crackles like a duel… Paris Never Leaves You succeeds as a meaty moral tale.” —Historical Novel Society
“Fans of Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale may want to pick this up.” —Booklist
“Nothing is quite what it seems… Wartime Paris is described in vivid, sometimes harrowing, detail… [An] engrossing page-turner.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The best works of historical fiction have a way of illuminating the present, allowing readers to better understand themselves through well-defined characters reflected in the prism of time…. Feldman does this beautifully in a multi-layered, tender story that explores the emotionally charged, often parallel terrains of truth, deception, love and heartbreak.” —Shelf Awareness
“A nuanced WWII story of love and survival in Occupied Paris… With its appealing heroine and historically detailed settings… a dangerous secret gives Feldman’s story a gasp-worthy spin.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“Things are seldom as they seem in this engrossing tale of identity, survival, loyalty, and love…Recommend with enthusiasm.” —Library Journal
“Ellen Feldman’s writing is riveting in this beautiful novel that tells the bittersweet story of a young mother’s strength and survival during WWII. From a tiny bookstore in Nazi-occupied Paris to a post-war New York publishing house, Feldman effortlessly captures the terror, immediacy, and inextinguishable human spirit.” —Noelle Salazar, author of The Flight Girls
“Completely compelling. I tore through it. This novel pivots on how we manage to survive surviving… Charlotte’s visceral story will stay with me.” —Naomi Wood, New York Times best-selling author of Mrs. Hemingway and The Hiding Game
“Feldman’s powerful exploration of some of the most profound questions about love and loyalty resonates strongly today: What would you do to save your child? What is morality in wartime? How do we make peace with the past?” —Christina Lynch, author of The Italian Party
“This is an exquisite novel – one that gives us what we’re hungry for: an intelligent, complex female character who challenges our ideas of right and wrong, morality and immorality. We’re reminded, too, of the dangers of drawing easy, swift conclusions. Feldman achieves all of this with wholly admirable precision and wit; she takes aim and does not miss.” —Elizabeth J. Church, author of The Atomic Weight of Love and All the Beautiful Girls
“A fluid, rich, and nuanced novel, expertly crafted, guaranteed to follow you around long after you’ve turned the last page. I gulped it down.” —Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra, Vera, The Witches, and A Great Improvisation
“Feldman’s characters—in the Paris bookstore that harbors many secrets or the Manhattan publishing house with its marvelous cast of misfits—are both terrifying and utterly engaging. With more twists and turns than the back streets of Paris, the story is as propulsively readable as a spy novel, and as rich and psychologically rewarding as only the finest literature can be.” —Liza Gyllenhaal, author of Local Knowledge and Bleeding Heart
“…a vivid and precise portrait of that city under German occupation during the Second World War, but it is also an exploration of the courage and cowardice of those bitter years, as well as offering a slyly persuasive love story. The swift, engrossing narrative conceals, in the best way, the fact that Feldman is also giving us a wise and troubling lesson about the great moral crisis of the last century.” —Richard Snow, author of Iron Dawn
“A thrilling achievement…I was thoroughly drawn into a deep, rich, vivid world of engrossing characters and emotional and moral crises…a great piece of writing in every way.” —Fred Allen, Leadership Editor, Forbes
Excerpt from Paris Never Leaves You
New York, 1954
Charlotte spotted the letter as soon as she stepped into
her office. There was no reason it should have caught her
eye. The desk was littered with papers and envelopes.
Stacks of manuscripts and books filled the shelves of
the small cubicle and spilled over onto the two chairs.
Certainly the airmail envelope didn’t make it stand out.
Most of the books she published were American editions
of European works, and a good deal of her mail arrived
in those tissue-thin blue envelopes. The only explanation
for its attracting her attention was that she’d already gone
through her morning mail and the afternoon delivery
hadn’t yet arrived. Perhaps the letter had gone to another
editor by mistake, and he or she had left it on Charlotte’s
desk while she was upstairs in the art department. Or
perhaps the mailroom had overlooked it in the morning
Gibbon & Field was a prestigious publishing house,
but a certain loucheness lurked behind the scenes. That
was the fault of Horace Field, the publisher. He was too
forgiving, or perhaps only cannily manipulative. She’d had
her earliest inkling of the trait the first Christmas after she’d
come to work at the house. Leaving the office one evening
at the same time, she and Horace had entered the elevator
together to find a young man from the production depart-
ment struggling to balance two or three oversize art books
and several of a more conventional trim size. When he saw
Horace, he colored an unhappy Christmas red.
“I see you’ve taken our ads to heart, Seth,” Horace said.
“‘There’s a book for everyone on your Christmas list.’”
The young man turned a deeper red and shot out of
the elevator as soon as the doors opened. That was un-
usual. The staff usually deferred to Horace getting on and
off elevators, and everywhere else.
“Are you going to take the books out of his salary?”
she’d asked as they’d followed him across the lobby.
“Not on your life.”
“It would teach him a lesson.”
“The only lesson I want to teach him, Charlie, is to
work his tail off for the greater glory of G&F.”
“And you think encouraging him to walk out the door
with an armful of purloined books will do that?”
“I think the next time he asks for a raise and doesn’t
get it, he’ll remember all the books he’s filched and feel
guilty, or at least compensated. Same with the expense
accounts the editors and travelers turn in. They think
they’re stealing me blind, but a guilty conscience breeds
contrition. Maybe even loyalty. They feel they owe the
house something in return. That’s why I worry about you.
Those expense accounts you file are a travesty. If the other
editors get wind of them, they’ll never forgive you for
spoiling the game.”
Horace’s philosophy permeated the entire publishing
house from the grand larceny of the production depart-
ment, run by a man rumored to have ties to the Mafia,
to the petty pilfering and general slacking off of the mail-
room. That must be why the letter had been delivered
late. And the timing was the only reason she noticed it. It
had nothing to do with a sixth sense, in which she defi-
nitely did not believe.
She sat behind the desk and picked up the envelope.
Her name and the G&F address were written, not typed.
The handwriting wasn’t familiar. There was no return ad-
dress on the upper left-hand corner. She turned it over.
As soon as she saw the name, she realized why she hadn’t
recognized the handwriting. When had they put anything
in writing? No, that wasn’t true. He’d written her once,
a year or so after the end of the war. The letter had taken
months to wind its way through the Drancy records and
the various agencies to reach her in New York. She’d
taken solace in that. He didn’t know where she was, and
he was still in Germany. She’d never answered that letter.
The return address on this one was Bogotá, Colombia. So
he’d got out after all. She was glad. She was also relieved.
South America was still a long distance away.
What troubled her was not where he was but that
now he knew where she was. She’d thought she’d been
so careful. Neither her address nor her telephone num-
ber was listed in the book. The people who had tried to
help her settle into her new life—social workers and do-
gooders from various refugee organizations; her colleagues
here and at other publishing houses; Horace Field’s wife,
Hannah—had found the omission foolish and antisocial.
“How do you expect to make a life for yourself in a new
country,” Hannah had asked, “if no one can find you?”
Charlotte hadn’t argued with her. She’d merely gone on
paying the small fee to be unlisted. Gradually Hannah
and everyone else had stopped asking and chalked it up
to what she’d been through. No one, including Hannah,
knew what that was, but that didn’t stop them from spec-
She wasn’t much easier to find in the office, though
apparently he’d managed. Her name didn’t appear in
the list of editors that ran down the left-hand side of the
company stationery. Most publishing houses didn’t list
editors on the stationery but that was another of Horace
Field’s peculiar indulgences. A year after she’d come to
work at G&F, he’d asked if she wanted to be included.
“Think of it as a sop,” he’d said.
“A sop?” She spoke four languages, could read two
others, and had taken her degree at the Sorbonne in
English literature, but in those days she was still having
trouble with some American slang.
“Compensation for the slave wages we pay you.”
“At least you didn’t suggest I make up the difference by
stealing books,” she’d said, and added that she didn’t want
her name on the stationery but thanked him all the same.
Nonetheless, despite her absence in the phone book
and on the company stationery, her name did occasion-
ally turn up in acknowledgments in the books she worked
on. And my gratitude to Charlotte Foret for steering
my ves- sel safely through the turbulent waters of
American publish- ing. My thanks to Charlotte
Foret, who first saw that a book about the Dutch
Golden Age written by a Dutchman would appeal
to American audiences. The question was how he’d
managed to get his hands on a US edition in Europe, or
now South America. The various consulates had libraries to
spread the American gospel among the local populations,
but the books she published rarely spread the American
gospel. Nonetheless, he must have found one. Or else
he’d tracked her down through a refugee agency. Once
in America, she’d distanced herself from the émigré or
immigrant or refugee—choose your term—groups, but
she’d had to file the usual papers and obtain the
necessary documents to get here. She was traceable.
From Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen
Feldman. Copyright © 2020 by the author and
reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.