“Not everything God created is useful, but it’s all good. He didn’t have to create beauty, but he did. He didn’t have to create color, but he did. He didn’t have to create music, but he did. None of it useful. Then he created us in his creative image with the ability to make beauty and color and music. It might not be useful, but it’s good.” ― Sarah Sundin, Until Leaves Fall in Paris.
When the Nazis march toward Paris, American ballerina Lucie Girard buys her favorite English-language bookstore to allow the Jewish owners to escape. The Germans make it difficult for her to keep Green Leaf Books afloat. And she must keep the store open if she is to continue aiding the resistance by passing secret messages between the pages of her books.
Automotive engineer and widower Paul Aubrey, who is also an expat, wants nothing more than to return to the States with his little girl, but the US Army convinces him to keep his factory running gather military intelligence from his German customers. As the war rages on, Paul offers his own resistance by sabotaging his product and hiding British airmen in his factory. But to carry out his mission, he must appear to support the occupation—which does not win him any sympathy when he meets Lucie in the bookstore.
When Lucie and Paul meet, they are smitten. Lucie falls in love not only with him but also with his adorable daughter. But she backs off when she hears Paul is collaborating with the Germans. But is he?
I took part in a weekend writer’s seminar years ago and had the pleasure of being classmates with Sarah Sundin. It certainly took me long enough to read one of her books… she has sixteen of them! Until Leaves Fall in Paris has a unique premise: a ballerina turned bookseller who aids the resistance during WWII. It has an interesting story arc, characters with whom I could identify, and a great writing. Plus… much of the story takes place in a bookstore, one of my happy places! I’m not a big fan of romance novels, but I was sucked into this book from the get-go, and Sarah never relented. One thing I appreciate about this book is that Sundin focuses references her Christian faith sparingly, which gives it crossover appeal to all fans of historical fiction.
I have read dozens of books set in Europe during WWII and several in France more specifically, yet I found this one to be unique. Well done, Sarah, well done! 4.5 stars.
Published Date: February 2022
Genres: Christian historical fiction, historical fiction, Christian romance
Read-alikes: The Socialite by J’nell Cieaiwlaki, Lana’s War by Anita Abriel, The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron