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Publisher's Summary

Like most gentiles in Nazi-occupied Paris, architect Lucien Bernard has little empathy for the Jews. So when a wealthy industrialist offers him a large sum of money to devise secret hiding places for Jews, Lucien struggles with the choice of risking his life for a cause he doesn't really believe in. Ultimately he can't resist the challenge and begins designing expertly concealed hiding spaces - behind a painting, within a column, or inside a drainpipe - detecting possibilities invisible to the average eye. But when one of his clever hiding spaces fails horribly and the immense suffering of Jews becomes incredibly personal, he can no longer deny reality.

Written by an expert whose knowledge imbues every word, this story becomes more gripping with every life the architect tries to save.

©2013 Charles Belfoure (P)2013 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Words like "riveting" and "compelling" aren't strong enough to describe this remarkable novel narrated by Mark Bramhall and set in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1942." ( AudioFile)
"A beautiful and elegant account of an ordinary man's unexpected and reluctant descent into heroism during the second world war." (Malcolm Gladwell)
"Belfoure writes like an up-and-coming Ken Follett ... There's plenty of detail to interest architecture buffs, too." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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No Reviews are Available
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  • C. B. Schindel
  • 23-08-2015

Riveting

I couldn't put this book down. Characters were believable and interesting. Plot was great, with some twists and turns. Captured the feeling of France during the German occupation of Paris during World War, and the question of how people behave in terrible circumstances.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Wandering Hoosier
  • 09-05-2015

Absolutely Wonderful!!

I couldn't stop listening to the book. I've read and listened to many Nazi-era books and find this to be one of the best. In fact, anyone who likes Sarah's Key or Those Who Saved Us will also love this one.

The premise of the book--saving Jews in architecturally designed structures--is intriguing. The author somehow balanced the horrors of the era with happiness. His characters conveyed the best and worst parts of people. Paris and all its glory played a strong part in the book.

I found the author fabulous! He added to the quality of the book do I'm glad I listened to it rather than read it. He did a great job with different genders, ages, and nationalities.

I loved this book so much that I'm sad it has ended!

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Albert
  • 10-05-2015

Captivating

Most captivating and extremely informative about the horrors during the WW2 occupation of France. A most unique perspective of the conflict from the eyes of an architect who unwittingly was coerced into helping the Germans was extremely suspenseful and delved into his humanity watching him grow from a selfish survivor to a compassionate hero
.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ellenaeddy
  • 16-04-2014

Grows on you

I didn't like where this book started. I loved where it ended. It was about Paris and people's moral limits in war time. The characters all did some interesting life change turns, when confronted with evil past stupidity. Don't know if it was realistic, but it was heart warming.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Taryn
  • 07-02-2018

Worth your time

I wasn't excited about listening to this, however my bookclub picked it. Aside from the awful descriptions of Nazi torture I found myself mesmerized and anticipating the next thing that might occur. The main character is unlikable and of course in the end he is redeemed, which may be a bit far fetched. However, it didn't take away from the story. I was surprised by the ending, which again was a bit of a stretch, but it left me with such good feelings about humanity in a time of horror and inhumanity.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • 07-05-2017

Dreadful Writing

The premise has so much potential for complex characters, moral struggles, plot twists and more. The author fell ever so short of the mark, writing a pedestrian and silly novel about a serious subject peopled with trite, flat and predictable characters.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Claycnst
  • 05-08-2015

A five star for sure

This book is definitely in my top10 out of 115 Audible books I've listened to. It's been a while since I've taken Time to recommend a book. Nice to finally find one good enough.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Mel's Diner
  • 20-02-2018

Good story and performance, but writing just not there.

I really love this idea and the general concept of everyday heroes during WWII, but I wish the author had spent a little more time honing his craft before he put pen to paper. The story deserved more—architectural details, character development, and natural dialogue. The author has talent, but it doesn’t rise to meet the great potential of this tale.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Al
  • 25-07-2015

Great story

Couldn't put it down. Its very engaging from start to unexpected finish. I highly recommend

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Noah
  • 19-01-2014

Fantastic Book -- Worth the listen

What did you love best about The Paris Architect?

Great all around story and character development. Also enjoyed the historical fiction aspect to it.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It took a little time to get into it but once I was into it, I was hooked.

Any additional comments?

I strongly disagree with previous comments knocking the narrator.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Rebecca
  • 27-06-2014

Brilliant and heart breaking

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes - it's harrowing and moving but very clever and beautiful too

Who was your favorite character and why?

All characters were beautifully written and read - there wasn't a weak link

Any additional comments?

Thank goodness I didn't try to read the book - I would have been torn between covering my eyes and being desperate to read on! Lovely, gentle paced book, beautifully written and read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sheila OSullivan
  • 28-02-2017

Highly recommended


Well developed characters, great story - well written and narrated. This one will stay in my mind for a while.


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  • tonywhipp
  • 04-09-2016

A good well told story - but...

My life's experiences and studies have left me well informed and hugely interested in both the German occupation of Paris and the awful fate of so many Jews at he hands of inhuman Nazis. But -- I can't help feeling the character so in the story aren't really caricatures and that the twists and turns of the plot are Frankly unbelievable! Separate It from the truth of the Holocaust and it is a good yarn. Offered as a part of its story, I'm sorry it lacked something vital.

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  • Fiona French
  • 22-03-2016

Best book in ages!!!

I could not put it down loved every page!!! Thrilling, well written so good!!!
I was so sad as I got closer to the end...

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  • Suzy
  • 11-10-2015

Fascinating Listen -wow

What would you do if your country was occupied by Nazis? Lucien is an architect in Paris and doesn't particularly care for Jews, but he is asked to help build them hiding places. This pacy novel follows Lucien and his interactions with friends, colleagues and the occupying forces. Slowly his viewpoint changes and as a reader, we find he has become an unlikely hero. The narration was excellent although at times the German accents were a little dodgy. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.