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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The Librarian of Saint Malo by Mario Escobar

France 1939 turbulent, not a very good place to be. Not for those Frenchmen who were loyal to France. Nazis ruled the land and their word was law. Saint Malo was for a time left alone but gradually the infiltration came in. Joceylyn and Antoine were lovers - first blighted by her illness, then Antoine was sent to fight, sent to a camp, came back a broken man. They were very much in love but their happiness was fleeting. Joceylyn was in charge of the library and this was an unusual library - it had many volumes of rare manuscripts and this was what was going to be the catalyst of Joceylyn's life as it attracted the greedy and mercenary eyes of a Nazi Captain who whilst pretending it was for the benefit of Germany, really wanted to grab them for himself as his passport out of Europe. After Antoine's death Joceylyn worked for the Resistance in whatever ways possible, but her main focus was with her books. Joceylyn felt that her entire life's mission was to protect the library to the end, and despite evacuation, hardships and severe testing of the spirit, she did not abandon Saint Malo. Detailing the days of occupation in a series of letter to someone in Paris with the hope that it will eventually get published Jocelyn stayed on till Saint Malo was freed from the Germans, but sadly perished on the final day. One is left pondering whether sacrificing your life for the sake of books is something to be admired, or worried/pitied over. Jocelyn literally sacrificed her life for the sake of the library. An open ended question here. Outlining in detail the history of Saint Malo during German occupation was the historical part of the story. Joceylyn's story was the rest. The book was sent by Thomas Nelson for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

1 comment:

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

It does leave you thinking whether this was a good decision or not.