Cover Image: The Paris Showroom

The Paris Showroom

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

“First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out, for I was not a Communist…” Thus begins one of the most well-known laments after World War II, a poem that ends “… and then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out.” 

Juliet Blackwell’s latest novel, The Paris Showroom, is about a lesser-known chapter of World War II—that Nazis ran prison camps right in the heart of Paris, hiding them from the citizens who lived there.  The book takes us into a France that’s divided among French loyalists, German collaborators, innocent victims, and those who tried to look away from it all.

CLick on the link below for the complete review.
Was this review helpful?
During WWII while the Nazis occupy Paris - Capucine and her father make haute couture fans - both are arrested - Cspucine has an estranged daughter and the story of a disfunctional family and struggle and beliefs makes for a riveting read
Was this review helpful?
I had the honor of interviewing author Juliet Blackwell about her book "The Paris Showroom" for my podcast Storytime in Paris. Here is what I said:

"My guest this week is New York Times Bestselling author Juliet Blackwell. Juliet is a prolific writer. She’s written three mystery series, including the Agatha Award nominated Art Lover’s Mystery series, as well as six novels set in France. Her latest novel, The Paris Showroom, is the story of an estranged mother and daughter, set to the backdrop of 1944 Paris. We follow mom Capucine as she’s taken to a little-known prison camp in the heart of Paris, and daugher Mathilde as she slowly opens her eyes to who she is and what’s happening in the world around her. ⁠
⁠
In our conversation, Juliet discusses how she learned about the prison camps inside Paris under Nazi occupation, how her characters’ arcs mirror the world we currently live in, and how subtlety can be more effective than a bullhorn. Then, she treats us to a reading from “The Paris Showroom.”⁠'

Find the full interview here: parisundergroundradio.com/storytimeinparis
Was this review helpful?
As an avid reader of WWII novels, I am often surprised when I can find a book that teaches me about a new facet about the war. "The Paris Showroom" was an educational read, written in a beautiful way. I think this book would make a great read for a younger audience as it was written with a lighter style. Most WWII books are very heavy reads so this was a pleasant change.
Was this review helpful?
I’m a big historical fiction fan and a fan of this author but I found this book to be just kind of meh. For the most part, o really enjoyed the storyline of the daughter more so than that of the mother.  I would have enjoyed a solo story involving the daughter and have had it go more in depth with her activities during the war. All in all not a horrible book but not my favorite one about this time period.
Was this review helpful?
TITLE: THE PARIS SHOWROOM
AUTHOR: Juliet Blackwell
PUB DATE: 04.19.2022 

Ahhhh to have another Juliet Blackwell
book on my hands is the feeling of pure joy for this historical fiction loving nurse!

The Paris Showroom tells the story of estranged mother and daughter, Capucine and Mathilda during the Nazi occupation of Paris. I loved the rich details in the story most especially the description of the ateliers, and the Paris Pre- occupation. Through alternating point of views and time frames, we see this story through their eyes and experiences. I always learn something new when I read about these WWII historical fiction stories. This story was heartbreaking but also a very hopeful story.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Berkley for this copy of The Paris Showroom by Juliet Blackwell! 

I'm pretty picky about my World War II Historical Fiction. I read a lot of it since Historical Fiction is my favorite genre and it feels like every other Historical Fiction is WWII related. Unfortunately this one was a bit of a flop for me.

I learned more about the 3 Parisian work camps especially the one within the Lévitan department store. This to me was the most interesting part of the book and I read a little bit more about this.

Both main characters seemed too naive about everything happening and overall this book was just flat. I was never super invested in the characters either.
Was this review helpful?
Blackwell’s is a different take on Paris during WWII and well worth the read. I was fascinated by the cultural touchstones as well as the look at the social mores of the day. A must read for Paris and WWII fans.
4.5 Stars
Was this review helpful?
Anyone who has read my reviews knows that I love WWII books.   Juliet Blackwell wrote a story that intrigued me.  I was entirely enthralled by this unique look at Paris during WWII.   There is so much to learn from a historical fiction book, in this book I learned so much about what had been happening to those detained by the Germans.  I learned that those detained were not all sent to camps, in this book they were sent to a department store.  Not all the guards were horrible people, and some did what they could to help the prisoners. 

 

Capucine Benoit had an interesting life before the war.   She was a fan maker, she lost her husband, had a daughter, had in-laws that did not appreciate the life she was living, and had a boyfriend that was from the US.  I enjoyed seeing how all the before war life choices would play into her war life choices.  Capucine’s strength was immense as she was held prisoner.  She was a leader within her pod of inmates, she was willing to make choices that pushed her into dangerous territory but never beyond what she could handle, she stayed true to her friends both inmates and non-inmates, and her family was the most important to her.   I love Capucine.  She was a soft spoken, behind the scenes hero of WWII Paris.  

 

The Paris Showroom gave me a unique look at WWII as told by Capucine and her daughter, Mathilde.  I was entirely absorbed into the store and excited to continue reading their story. Capucine is a hero prisoner.   She was a leader within her pod of inmates, she was willing to make choices that pushed her into dangerous territory but never beyond what she could handle, she stayed true to her friends both inmates and non-inmates, and her family was the most important to her.   Mathilde is someone who grew up with a privileged life with her strong opinionated grandparents.  As she goes out in the world and sees what is happening, she realizes that her grandparents opinions are not always the same as hers. 

 

There is so much to learn in The Paris Showroom.  Your heart will break at the horrors of WWII but it will soar at the strength of the characters.
Was this review helpful?
Two stories of a mother and a daughter. Both are beautiful, and both journeys to grow and find where they fit within the new world. I have read many historical fiction books that take place during World War II, so much so that the premise really has to offer something different for me to have an interest. The Paris Showroom pulled me in from the beginning and held my attention until the end.
Was this review helpful?
A wonderfully written story of a mother and daughter both in the same city in France during WWII and the Nazi occupation, but not together.  Each chapter is told one by the mother, who is a prisoner of the Nazi’s and one told by the daughter who has been living with her paternal grandparents.

The story is told in such a way that you continue turning the pages hoping for the best outcome but wondering if it will ever come.  Mother and daughter are estranged, but can what’s happening in France, somehow bring the back together again?

Juliet Blackwell has given us a story that holds your attention and keeps you holding on for the end.

Thank you to #netgalley and #berkleypublishinggroup for allowing me to read the eARC of this book.  All opinions expressed above are my own.
Was this review helpful?
A mother daughter duo are in two different places in the same city during World War II.  A daughter who has been raised by her grand parents and has blindly followed their lead is starting to question their response to the war and the Nazi way and this book is almost a coming out story as she forges her own path.  A mother who has had great love and great sacrifice and has found herself in a department store in custody of the Nazis, but has found a way to make it bearable for herself and those around her.  

When I choose a World War II book at this point, I want something that will feel and read differently than the many I have read that take place in this time.  This book did that.  Staying in Paris and showing two different sides of the same war made this book so interesting and I really enjoyed Mathilde's story as she goes from naive to informed and maybe even active in fighting the Nazi party.    

If reading a book set inside a concentration camp during World War II is too much for you, this is a read for you.  While Capucine is in a jail, it isn't as hard to read as some of those other books, but gives you a glimpse of this horrible moment in time and that there were experiences in between the extremes that were still hard for humans.
Was this review helpful?
In 1944, Capucine is arrested by the Nazis as a communist, then put to work sorting stolen goods in a requisitioned department store. Her estranged daughter, Mathilde, searches for her, and both become embroiled with the Résistance as the occupation of Paris comes to a dangerous conclusion.

There are so many WWII historical fiction novels available, so I thought I had read about all of the specifics of what went on in Paris during that time. This novel, however, brought to light another kind of “camp” utilized by the Germans throughout the war. Specific types of prisoners (including wives of POWs, antisocials, Jewish spouses of Aryans) were housed in large buildings, where their task was to sort through and clean looted items brought in by the truckload. These items were then displayed in a mockery of a retail store, made available to German officers and their wives or mistresses. 

This story is told from Capucine’s first-person POV and Mathilda’s second-person POV. Both women experience so much growth in the short time spanned by this narrative, something Juliet Blackwell excels at, in my opinion! All the characters are relatable in some way, and I especially loved Ezra and Antoinette. Even the “bad” characters are just flawed people that you hope will grow and learn from their mistakes. 

I very much enjoyed the inclusion of the beautiful fans and the bits of information about their language, something I had no idea existed! This story is beautiful, heartbreaking, and uplifting all at once. I thought I knew what I was getting with a WWII Paris novel, but I learned many new things and found it an extremely enjoyable bit of literature. The Paris Showroom has a publishing date of April 19, and I highly recommend it!

Many thanks to Berkley, Juliet Blackwell, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Two stories of a mother and a daughter.  Both beautiful and both journeys to grow and find where they fit within the new world. Capucine Benoit has worked alongside her father for years creating beautiful fans.  Yet when his beliefs cause him to be taken under the Nazi agenda, Capucine is taken as well.  Some quick thinking allows her to stay in Paris and work within a department store as a poisoner of war.  Mathilde has next to zero ties to her mother.  All she knows is that her mother was a wild artist and that at a young age she left her with her grandparents to be raised.  Luckily for her her grandparents have maintained their status during the German occupation so unlike others in Paris she wants for very little.   
Together mother and daughter work towards finding out who they are and what do they truly believe in a world where everything is at stake and a tomorrow is not always promised.  Can they both keep themselves safe and reunite?  And what type of paths might they take in order to survive?

This is just a lovely book.  I really enjoyed being able to go back and forth between both mother and daughter.  I also loved that this was a new look at the German occupation.  I have not come across many books that deal with people who were not placed in concentration camps and instead were forced to help the German agenda.   I have already started talking up this book with patrons who love historical fiction.  

Thank you so very much to Berkley Publishing Group and Netgalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of this title.
Was this review helpful?
A fresh WWII historical fiction read! A pet peeve of mine is how so many historical fiction books rely on an alternating timeline. The Paris Showroom avoids that in a unique way by instead focusing on alternating timelines between a mother and daughter. I loved the dynamic of this book. I also appreciated the fresh backdrop of a department store and warehouse responsible for sorting stolen goods. I learned a lot from this book.
Was this review helpful?
The book is set against the backdrop of Nazi-occupied France where a mother and daughter reunite after years of separation. While Capucine, a prisoner in work camp, struggles against her Nazi captors, her daughter, Mathilde, battles against the prison her well-meaning grandparents had put around her. When they eventually break free of these, they are able to reunite and repair the mother-daughter ties that they had thought were long gone.

This is my first Juliet Blackwell novel and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with how well-written it was and how easy it was to follow the events taking place between the two main characters. In other historical novels I've read, it can get confusing when authors switch back and forth between characters that I find I have to go back two chapters just to catch up on where the character left off. I also liked the focus on the work camps within France itself. It made me look up Levitan online and see another aspect of the war. If you're like me, I like that I am also learning something new as I read.

I highly recommend this to anyone who is into historical fiction., mother-daughter relationships, and human struggles and triumphs.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars

I read a lot of WWII-era books, but this was a bit different in its premise. I've never heard or read about Nazi work camps in Parisian department stores. Blackwell's descriptions pull the reader in, and well-crafted characters and themes of survival and second chances keep them engaged. I enjoyed the multiple POVs, and each one was well written. Fans of historical novels will likely want to add this to their to-be-read pile.
Was this review helpful?
In 1944 Paris, Capucine is a POW in the work camp situated in the attic of the Levitan Department Store. She is a single mother who had been living and working at her father’s haute couture fan shop. She had given her daughter Mathilde into the care of her well-to-do paternal grandparents believing they would give her a better life. They disdain Capucine. Told in two points of view, the reader learns of Capucine’s past and Mathilde’s present. Mathilde has been sheltered by her grandparents who ally themselves with Germany. She has two very different girlfriends- one with a German officer as a beau, the other whose family is struggling under the German occupation. As Capucine survives in the Levitan, Mathilde is coming of age, asking questions, and making choices that will affect her future. 

This is a welcome addition to the WWII historical fiction canon as it relates a little known story of the work camps located in the heart of Paris. I will definitely be recommending this title. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this arc in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The Paris Showroom 
by Juliet Blackwell
Berkley Publishing Group
Pub Date: April 19. 

This was such a fascinating twist on WWII novels, told from the alternating POVs of Capucine and her daughter Mathilde. 

Capucine once made gorgeous haute couture fans with her father until both were arrested by the Nazis. She was sent to Lévitan, a Nazi camp in a Paris department store, where workers were forced to sort through, repair and sell items stolen from Jews to German customers. For all I've read on the war, Lévitan was unknown to me. 

Mathilde, living with her grandparents who did well under the Nazi occupation, decides instead to join the Paris Résistance. 

I gained new insight into the War and its impact through their alternating chapters, written so compelling that I found myself completely absorbed. A must-read for historical fiction fans wishing for something new on WWII, especially set in Paris. 

Thanks to the author, Berkley Publishing Group, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine. 

#TheParisShowroom #JulietBlackwell
#berkleypublishinggroup #netgalley
Was this review helpful?
Told in alternating chapters, this is the story of Capucine, a prisoner of war in Paris during World WR II and her daughter Mathilde who has been raised by her grandparents, collaborators with the Nazi. Not always easy to read but always a fascinating story of survival and growth.
Was this review helpful?