Read The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure Online


A thrilling debut novel of World War II Paris, from an author who's been called "an up and coming Ken Follett." (Booklist) In 1942 Paris, gifted architect Lucien Bernard accepts a commission that will bring him a great deal of money and maybe get him killed. But if he's clever enough, he'll avoid any trouble. All he has to do is design a secret hiding place for a wealthyA thrilling debut novel of World War II Paris, from an author who's been called "an up and coming Ken Follett." (Booklist) In 1942 Paris, gifted architect Lucien Bernard accepts a commission that will bring him a great deal of money and maybe get him killed. But if he's clever enough, he'll avoid any trouble. All he has to do is design a secret hiding place for a wealthy Jewish man, a space so invisible that even the most determined German officer won't find it. He sorely needs the money, and outwitting the Nazis who have occupied his beloved city is a challenge he can't resist.But when one of his hiding spaces fails horribly, and the problem of where to hide a Jew becomes terribly personal, Lucien can no longer ignore what's at stake. The Paris Architect asks us to consider what we owe each other, and just how far we'll go to make things right.Written by an architect whose knowledge imbues every page, this story becomes more gripping with every soul hidden and every life saved....

Title : The Paris Architect
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781402294150
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Paris Architect Reviews

  • RoseMary Achey
    2019-06-17 03:51

    The concept of this book was excellent….an architect who retrofits spaces within homes to hide Jewish individuals during WWII. The writing left much to be desired. Filled with anachronisms, the narrative was so simplistic; it just did not fit the time period. FromThe Paris Architectpage 198:“He felt as if he was in one of those dumb-ass American movies he’d seen. A character would be in a quandary over what to do. A miniature angel wearing wings and halo appeared on one shoulder telling him to do what’s right, and a devil with a pitchfork was on the other shoulder advising him not to.”Really….in 1942?

  • Kelly
    2019-06-08 00:55

    The only thing this book has going for it is a good premise. Seriously, I love historical fiction, character development in trying times, and moral quandaries. (Also, architecture! And plots set abroad!) I wasn't expecting anything high-brow, just a good, plot-driven escape. But. Let me count the ways that this book failed:1. The writing is atrocious. No, really, it's clunky and the dialogue is about as stilted as you can get. 2. Most of the characters lack the motivation for the actions they carry out. People are treacherous or noble or somewhere in between without any prior reason given for their actions. I know people sometimes do things out of the blue, but check this (spoiler): (view spoiler)[ a kid, who we previously only see as good-hearted, studious, and shy, kills another character without any warning. Sure, the character who gets killed totally deserved it, but the kid never appears to wrestle with any feelings about this incident one way or the other, before or after.(hide spoiler)] The main character shows development, but not in any sort of realistic way. All of the characters just feel like 2D cardboard cutouts, and I never developed an attachment to any of them. Towards the end, it looks like the main character might get killed for his actions, and I just couldn't bring myself to care one way or the other about it.Less important, but still annoying:3. Clunky gender stereotypes (seriously, one of the female characters takes in a couple Jewish orphans, and it's described as natural, because she's got that female compassion going on. Only the male characters who do similar acts get credit.)4. The torture scenes are grotesque. I may be in the minority here, and I realize this is the Gestapo we're talking about, but still. Those bits were rough, even to skim through.How does this book have such high ratings? I almost stopped reading it a quarter of the way in because of points #1 and #2, but the reviews kept me going, hoping it'd get better. Trust me, it doesn't. If you're struggling through this like I was, give it up and find something better to read.

  • Maria Espadinha
    2019-05-19 21:47

    O Vírus BenignoLucien é um arquiteto ambicioso que não sente particular empatia pelo sofrimento alheio.Assim, quando convidado a participar num empreendimento que poderá salvar vidas humanas, apenas se sente motivado pelo lado material do projecto.Porém, com o passar do tempo, a prática a que se entregou, será parteira de sentimentos mais nobres.Lucien modifica-se e vai-nos conquistando!Dir-se-ia que a causa nobre a que se dedicou foi como um Vírus Benigno que lhe infectou a Alma!Espraiando horizontes, creio que inadvertidamente, o autor desta estória terá encontrado uma boa terapia de reabilitação social.Pelo Trabalho, o Homem não só transforma o Mundo, como a si mesmo!"O Arquitecto de Paris" é uma estória super original, que nos cativa logo de início.É um 4+++, com toda a convicção!!! ;)

  • B the BookAddict
    2019-05-26 21:00

    While the method of illuding the Nazis mentioned in this book is one which doubtless would have been used, this particular story itself is fictional. These events are not drawn from one particular case; rather, the author says he got the idea from the story of Nicholas Owen, a Jesuit lay brother who devoted the greater part of his life to constructing hiding places to protect the lives of persecuted priests during the reign of Elizabeth 1.In 1942 Paris, all Jewish people are being rounded up by the Nazis; sadly for the Jews, most of the French are unsympathetic to their plight. Lucien Bernard is one of those French people; he doesn't hate Jewish people but he wont go out of his way for them either. He's an out of work architect too busy scrambling for a living. A prospective client, a very wealthy Auguste Manet, offers him a new commission but only if he will agree to a secret commission. Manet has been helping Jewish people evade and escape persecution and imminent death. Desperate for money, Lucien agrees but he's under no illusions about himself; he's doing it purely for the money. Life under the Boche regime is tough and he has a wife and a mistress to support. As the first job is successful, Manet talks Lucien into a second then a third and the work becomes almost like private game Lucien is having with the Nazis; he loves the thrill of tricking them. But it all gets personal for Lucien when Manet convinces him to care for a Jewish boy for a couple of weeks; Lucien suddenly has the son he's always wanted...The story has not many likeable characters excepting perhaps Manet and Bette. The Nazis are, of course, deplorable and the attitude of the French people toward the Jews leaves so much to be desired. Charles Belfoure is the author of a couple of books about architectural history -which I have not read. But I'm not convinced of his talent as a novelist. Basically the story is very plausible and quite readable but his narration is somewhat stilted. I did actually check to see whether the book had been translated from another language because for me, that is how it flows. It feels quite stilted and there is something amiss with the patterns/flow of sentences. Perhaps he just needs another editor; who knows... A story which maybe would have been a 4 star rating in the hands of a more practised novelist but with Charles Belfoure, it has to be only a 3★.

  • Chrissie
    2019-06-02 22:57

    How do I put this one into words for my review?! It was gooooooood. A goooood novel. Not high literature, but damn it all I enjoyed it a lot. Exciting. It starts with great historical details of life in Paris during WW2, then the excitement builds and builds and builds. Parts are gruesome, but the ending left a big smile on my face. Yeah, tons of fun.But I have to tell you this: the narration of the audiobok was t-e-r-r-i-b-l-e… Mark Bramhall. I mean his French and German dialects were laughable. And you are not supposed to be laughing. He cannot do women’s voices either. I mean bad. OK, when he is just relating straight events, not dialogs, you can relax. The thing is, the terrible narration did NOT affect my appreciation of the book. I make a huge effort to distinguish between the writing and the narration of a book. Good book, but lousy narration. As usual, I am rating the book, not the narration when I give those stars. There is humor. There are historical details. The book captures the French and how they looked upon the Nazi occupation of Paris. Some French were no angels. Collaborators and those of the Résistance, they are both here. Very realistic. Some women were great and others despicable. Some French were great and some Germans too! :0) Yes, you get architecture too. Classical and Bauhaus and ….oh you have to read this fun, exciting, scary and amusing book. I loved, absolutely loved the ending. It is a novel! I do not want to tell you more than that. Otherwise I might spoil your reading experience.

  • Aditi
    2019-06-03 22:46

    “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”----Winston ChurchillCharles Belfoure, a national bestselling author, has penned a heart-touching as well as enlightening and nostalgic novel, The Paris Architect, that accounts the story of an architect based in Paris during the world war II when German have occupied the city and was ordering the Jews out of the city, when this normal regular, law-abiding architect chances upon a golden opportunity to prove his worth by taking life-threatening risks to be a hero. Synopsis: 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. Lucien, a law-abiding Parisian architect gets a job for the richest man in Paris, Monsieur Monet, who asks him to build a secret room for some of his Jewish friends. Now Lucien, being very careful during the Occupation and has forever agreed to what the Germans asked him to do, can help the Germans' enemy to prov himself more than just a regular man in these difficult times? First of all, this book made me fall in love with it's descriptions and vivid imagery. The author brings the 1942 Paris alive with his eloquent writing style. From the intricate details of every other building to every other streets from the odd ones to the busiest ones, from the food to the linguistic aspect to the culture, everything has been laid out strikingly. While reading it felt like, I'm swiftly being carried into that Parisian essence. Not only the backdrop is vividly portrayed with all it's beauty and grace, but the author has captured the era of World War II so vividly. The effect of Nazis and the Gestapo arresting the Jews everywhere is brought alive wonderfully. In fact, the author has managed to instill that Nazi-fear through his story, like the sudden knock on the door, or a sudden car pulling up etc.The writing style is quite elegant and polished and properly layered with enough distinct emotions to make the readers feel evocatively. The narrative style is free flowing and articulate as well as engaging. The prose is eloquent with a fast pace and the book has so much tension that it is bound to keep the readers hooked onto the story till the very last page.The characters are drawn with enough realism and has a way to make the readers feel connected with their despair and hopes. The main character, Lucien, is like every other middle class man, his dreams to his infidel ways to his way of living his life style, everything is bound to strike a chord with the common man in today's world. The gradual change in his demeanor is very well projected by the author. The supporting characters are also very strongly developed. The Nazi-German soldiers and the chiefs are strikingly arrested in this book, that gives the readers a real feeling of what it feels like to be around a German soldier during those times.The theme of the book is centered around about how one stands up or stands against the Germans to be a human being. Other than that, the architectural descriptions and how an architect's mind works while they are visualizing a building are carefully and saliently. In short, this is a very compelling as well as poignant novel which has lots of unspoken history as well as truth hidden behind the times when German was either sending the Jews into concentration camps or torturing them to death.Verdict:This book will appeal to the historical fiction lovers and if you want to taste the city of Paris during the World War II era, then do grab a copy of this book for sure. Courtesy:Thanks to the author, Charles Belfoure, for providing me with a copy of his book, in return for an honest review.

  • Erika Robuck
    2019-06-07 02:01

    From the moment I saw the haunting cover of this novel, I knew I had to read it. The small Jewish girl hiding in plain sight says so much about the work of gifted architect, Lucien Bernard, the flawed protagonist of Charles Belfoure’s THE PARIS ARCHITECT.Lucian is fairly despicable at the start of the novel. He no longer loves his wife, he has a mistress, and he does not care about the Jews being plagued by the Nazis in occupied France. He only cares about surviving by making as much money as possible, and growing his reputation as an architect.His base need for a salary involves him as an architect working for enemies in the war. On one hand, he creates ingenius hiding spaces in apartments for Jews; on the other, he designs modern factories for Germans. It is all the same to him, as long as he gets paid, until he makes a personal connection with a Jew that ends disastrously.I asked myself many times in the reading of this novel how I could care about such a heartless protagonist, but the riveting story, my curiosity about his innovation, and my wish to see his growth compelled me forward. I’m so glad it did.This is not an easy book to read. Belfoure is unflinching in his portrayal of the animal nature of man, and of traitors, spies, and Nazis. The darkness is balanced, however, with a growing sense of hope and redemption throughout the narrative.Booklist compares Belfoure’s writing to Ken Follett, and that is an excellent comparison in tension, intrigue, detail, and character. If you enjoy fast paced, graphic, and fascinating historical fiction, I recommend you read THE PARIS ARCHITECT.

  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
    2019-05-18 00:46

    Can you trust the people you used to trust? Can your life be normal? That question was asked every single day of Lucien's life and every single day of any French citizen living in Paris during the Nazi occupation.Life definitely was not the same as before. You had to watch everything you said and did. Lucien had to make a decision about doing something he knew was very dangerous. Lucien was an architect and was asked to design hiding places for Jewish friends of Auguste Manet, a well-known businessman in Paris. Lucien feared for his life but couldn't pass up this offer. Lucien agreed only because he had no money, and because he would be paid a large sum.You will feel Lucien's fear as he is doing something he loves, but also considering whether it is worth the cost of his life if he gets caught. You will grow to love Lucien as his truly caring side comes out in the uncaring society of this era.You will become immersed in Paris's new way of life that had to be endured, and you will share the fear of the citizens as they waited for the dreaded knock on the door looking for Jewish residents or for a French citizen who was hiding a Jewish citizen. The horrors of occupation will be with you as you read as well as become involved with the authentic characters and marvelous writing style. The characters were perfectly portrayed from the deviousness and cruelty of the Gestapo to the cowering citizens. The author has an easy style and draws you right into the story.THE PARIS ARCHITECT is another WWII tale but with a different twist and one where the tension builds and your fear for Lucien increases as you rapidly turn the pages.This is an excellent historical fiction book with some graphic scenes that depict the atrocities of WWII, but will hold your interest until the last word because of the characters and their stories. 5/5This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

  • Amber
    2019-06-12 01:04

    I really struggled with how to rate this book.On the one hand, I've read a ton of WW2 fiction and I loved how this presented a different perspective. The story was engaging and suspenseful, and in some passages so realistic that I felt sick to my stomach.On the other hand, I really struggled with the narrative voice. Something about it just kept popping me out of the story. I also felt like Lucien's changes of heart and growth were not well explained - not so much growth as just a sudden unexplained change of mind. And I will not spoil the ending, but I do not feel like it was well set up - I didn't see it coming not because it was so cleverly built up or disguised, but because there was nothing there to lead me in that direction, which made the whole thing feel unrealistic. The whole thing just suffered from a lack of emotion to me.So read it, it is good. It is just not great.

  • Skip
    2019-05-20 23:42

    Undeservedly low ratings on Goodreads. In 1942 Paris, gifted architect Lucien Bernard is leading double lives: a dull, loveless marriage while having an affair with a famous designer and accepting commissions from a Christian to design hiding places for Jews and to design factories for the Nazis. Living in terror, Lucien is afraid of the Gestapo (for helping Jews) as well as the resistance (for helping the German war effort), even though Lucien rationalizes his work as benefiting a post-war France. Lucien eventually adopts a 12-year old orphan boy, finding an outlet for his love. Heart warming story, including his spiritual bond with the German architect in charge of building the factories.

  • Paige
    2019-06-16 20:41

    Dreadful.I felt almost immediately that this book wasn't for me. I kept with it because it's so highly rated on Goodreads, and because I was listening to the audiobook at work, so I had time to kill. I was sure that the book would get better as it went on. I found the reverse to be true.I'm so disappointed and upset about this book that I doubt my ability to form a coherent review. I have decided to do this in the form of bullet points, and hope I make sense. I also apologize if I butcher the spelling of some names. I listened to the audiobook, and did not see them in print.•Lucien is immediately made out to be an anti-Semitic, heartless bastard. The author sold this point to me a little too well in the first half of the book, which caused me to find his dramatic change of heart roughly half way through the book to be forced and unbelievable.•I didn't care for any of the characters. Belfoure created a cast of deeply unlikable characters, with the exception of Manet and Juliette, who I merely found inoffensive.•Belfoure makes it seem that Nazi occupied France was entirely made up of self serving, materialistic, anti-Semitic, cowardly assholes. Even the resistance fighters were painted as selfish and cowardly, and occasionally bumbling.•Adele was obnoxious, and I got incredibly sick of hearing about her fantastic body, the many things that aroused her, and her sexual preferences.•The Nazis spoke MUCH too freely for me to find believable. Hertzog in particular. They all shared plans and opinions (often gently contradictory to Hitler's) with French civilians much too openly. I don't believe for a second that the SS would've allowed that to continue from Nazi officers.•Schlagel was a caricature. Just ridiculous. He was more of a bad cartoon villain than a believable Nazi SS captain.•Sexism abounds. Bette has a whole section devoted to pondering how wonderful it is that she's beautiful, and pitying her sister who is ugly. Lucien values his wife because of her beauty. Women were always spoken of in terms of their looks. In contrast, I had no idea what any of the men were supposed to look like. Plus, Lucien forces his way into Bette's apartment against her wishes, and I pulled a few quotes:"What the hell is your problem, woman?""...he resisted the strong urge to punch her in the face."He then proceeds to order her around in her own home.•Terribly written. Of particular annoyance, I noticed that everyone "roared with laughter" or "burst with laughter". No one chuckles or giggles. There is never minor amusement. Everyone "erupts with laughter" at the slightest joke (which I never found funny).What rot.

  • Amy | shoutame
    2019-06-10 21:49

    An interesting perspective on WW2 and an enjoyable read.We follow Lucien, an architect living in Nazi-occupied Paris. A wealthy acquaintance of Lucien's commissions him for a secret job that could be fatal to the both of them. Lucien shows little interest in hiding Jews but with so much money on offer how can he resist? As time moves on Lucien begins to take satisfaction from outwitting the Nazi's and plans on making more elaborate hiding places for the helpless Jews. But how far will he go? Is he willing to risk his life?I didn't much like the character of Lucien but I loved the way he evolved as the novel went on, he was pretty detestable! I had yet to read a WW2 novel that conveys the terror of having to run and hide from the Nazi's as well as this one, you could cut the tension with a knife! Definitely one I would recommend, especially if you're a fan of historical fiction based in WW2.

  • Suzanne Leopold
    2019-05-23 03:04

    The Paris Architect $4.99 ebook sale has expanded to include NOOK, iBooks, Kobo and Amazon Kindle platforms

  • Carol Brill
    2019-05-20 00:53

    A beautiful story balancing inhumanity and humanity set in Nazi-occupied France. Lucien Bernard is an ordinary man, driven to work for the Reich by his need to make a living and pride in his ability as an architect. His assignments present unexpected and dangerous opportunities to challenge his design imagination.There are so many strengths in this novel, Lucien's character development as he takes risks he never suspected he is capable of, his surprising friendships with a German officer, Manet, and Bette. His affections for an orphan, Pierre.Like so many books about the atrocities against Jews during the war, there were parts that were brutally hard to read. Charles Belfoure does a wonderful job balancing that horror with brave and caring characters who show humanity at its best.

  • Gemma
    2019-06-16 20:01

    It felt like the author wrote this at breakneck speed in about three weeks – the prose was crude, clunky and lacking in imagination and sophistication. The research stuck out like muddy footprints on a carpet. I couldn’t get beyond page 100.

  • Carol
    2019-06-10 22:02

    I wish I could give it 5 stars but, while the story line is great, the author's technical skills don't live up to the promise.Lucien is a thirty-something modernist architect (think Gropius or Le Corbusier) in 1942 Paris, France. Like others of his skill-set, Lucien is struggling financially. His marriage is childless and crumbling as well. Into his life walks uber-wealthy industrialist Auguste Manet with an offer. Build Manet a "priest hole" (an undiscoverable hiding place)in an apartment for a wealthy Jewish friend and Lucien will receive a commission for a new munitions factory from Manet (and for the Nazis). One "priest hole" leads to many and additional factories. The money is very good and much needed. How Lucien interacts with all the various characters is entertaining but not well executed.Where this novel has some weakness is around the protagonist's change of motivation and the sudden appearance of a moral compass. He becomes far more than an accomplice in the Jewish rescue effort after a point of crisis in the story. I think that this conversion would have been easier to accept if his character had been a bit stronger from the beginning. It's a little hard to accept the reversal of feeling from someone who has previously been presented as the ultimate opportunist and self-justifier. Some readers might also find the book's conclusion hard to swallow as it veers strongly off in the direction of pulp historic fiction (in my opinion, at least).The vernacular of the period seems a bit off – I'm just not sure people used today's idioms 80 years ago. There were times that the dialogue was quite jarring considering the subject matter – as though the author was reaching for humor at the wrong moment.In any event, "The Paris Architect" has its strengths (the historic storyline) and provides some interesting moments, particularly in its evoking of the time and place. If you are a WWII buff you might well find this aspect of the war intriguing. I cautiously (with reservations) recommend this book.

  • Laura
    2019-05-29 00:56

    3.5 stars. I'm tempted to give this a four just because it became such a page-turner. The plot is the thing here. And if you're interested in architecture, the author is also an architect, so bonus. WWII stories always grab me in the gut because how can they not? I'm still amazed at what happened. I'm amazed at the evil and just plain insanity exhibited by the Nazis, and that so many innocent people were killed simply because one certifiable man was able to convince a bunch of sheep to join him. The writing isn't the star player here, but still, this book is a very fast read, and the story will certainly keep the pages turning. Once the halfway point hit and some children became involved in the story, I just had to know what happened. This takes place in occupied Paris, and enough historical detail was added in that I learned a few odd facts that added further interest to the story. The audio performance was good, not great. Recommended to historical fiction lovers who don't mind a few sprinkles of torture and another male author in midlife having a few too many romps I had to tolerate and press through. A worthwhile read, having said all that. PS: My intention when I picked up this book on Friday night was to give it a skim and see if it was worth reading. I was immediately drawn into the story and had a hard time putting it down. To me, that says a lot for the book.

  • thewanderingjew
    2019-06-11 22:42

    From the first word heard on this audio, I was a prisoner. I think the story held me more rapt than the reader; it moved along quickly, and totally consumed me. I never turned it off, until the end. It is about unlikely heroes, who rose above their own expectations, and it is about traitors, by design, as well as those who became quasi-traitors, those tortured into confessions to avoid more pain. It is about the German effort to seek out and find the hidden Jews in order to steal their wealth.It is about the Holocaust, in that it takes place during the year 1942, in Paris, France. Without dwelling on the concentration camps, it painted an accurate picture of the brutality that was commonplace during the German occupation, and it was sometimes really hard to take it all in. Belfoure truly creates the fear and tension of the moment, and the reader will feel it, as well, experiencing and understanding the reactions of each of the characters, the “good, the bad and the evil”, when faced with terrifying prospects. The extraordinary strength and courage of some and the mind-boggling weakness and sadism of others, join together on the page to expose the heroism and self-sacrifice of one group, as it lays bare the incomparable cruelty of the other. It is a book about people placed in an untenable situation by circumstances beyond their control, and the madness that infects those who are mainly concerned with their own self-preservation. It is about the difficult choices of the citizens; how could they resist and survive, did they have to acquiesce in order not to be tortured and killed, were they brave or cowards, could they have behaved otherwise? It is about the decisions made by those in the resistance to save some, while sacrificing others for the greater good of their cause, juxtaposed against the choices of those in the Gestapo who didn’t care about saving anyone but themselves, who murdered indiscriminately, for Hitler. It is about how these warring factions coexisted under the most extreme conditions in Paris, during the German Occupation. A question arises throughout the book that is insoluble even today. How do educated, sophisticated, family men, and even otherwise moral men, commit such sins against humanity. How is such behavior justified in the mind of a person with any common sense? Was the depravity of the German behavior simply the madness of some, or were the far reaching effects more a symbol of a world gone mad, an entire world with a diseased mind? I asked myself again and again, could this happen once more? Could someone’s unhappiness and greed, envy and hate, become so strong again that the reasonable answer to their pain becomes the extinction of an entire group of people, becomes the panacea for all their troubles?Fear is a motivating factor that changes us all. How would we have behaved? We all probably hope that we would have been strong and would have behaved better than the collaborators, better than those who turned their backs on, and a blind eye to, the suffering of others, even as their neighbors and friends disappeared. Schadenfreude was the word of those times; many relished in the pain of the “others”.Lucien, an architect, was raised to be anti-Semitic by a hateful parent. His life was steadily going downhill under the German occupation, but then he met the very wealthy Monsieur Manet, who offered him a job. He is hired to build hiding places, in various places, in order to save the Jews. At the same time, he is also hired to build factories that produce weapons for the German war effort. Manet believes this is the only way to maintain ownership of his factories and help the Jews to escape. Lucien does not see himself as a collaborator. Is he a collaborator, is Manet?Pierre is a twelve year old child who is the lone survivor of the round up of his parents, siblings and the people who sheltered him; he grows up quickly and becomes a man in a surprising way. Is he a murderer or a hero?Adele is a wily, hateful kind of person who easily fraternizes with the enemy for her own benefit. Does she have any redeeming qualities? Her associate, Bette, surprises herself with her maternal instinct, and she changes, as events force her to make uncomfortable decisions. Herzog, befriends Lucien. He had wanted to become an architect like Lucien, but his father prevented it. He discovers another side of himself, as he witnesses barbarism for the sake of barbarism alone, barbarism simply because these acts of atrocity could be committed by those who actually enjoyed inflicting the pain, and there was no one to stop them, barbarism that destroyed simply for the sake of the destruction itself. Yet, even this lone “quasi-good German” soldier justifies his own cruel behavior by declaring himself a loyal German to the Fatherland. All of the characters are so real that as they experience life, the reader will experience it along with them. The author has done a wonderful job of capturing the essence of the time period, the naïveté of some of the people, Jews and gentiles alike, the senselessness of the savage behavior, as people used each other and betrayed each other, the fear that everyone had for their own personal safety, the constant state of panic that reigned under Hitler’s rule as he and his minions preyed on the weaknesses of the people, and he also illuminated the courage that people found within themselves against all odds. The book is about compassionate, self-sacrificing, righteous people, and their converse, the vulgar, immoral, self-serving, sinful people who supported The Third Reich.

  • Vonia
    2019-05-26 19:56

    This is one of my favorite in the World War II / German Nazis Ridiculousness genre. That is saying a lot. Because I don't know if you have looked under the hanging "Literature" placard lately in the bookstore, but I swear one quarter of them has to do with World War II. Certainly a quarter under "Memoirs" fall under that category. Anyhow, on to why. Thank God for a book that takes a unique approach to this. It is not a weeping, depressing, fishing for empathy concentration camp narration, nor is it entirely focused on the plight of the Jewish or the innate evil in Hitler. Rather, the tragedies and the horror take the back burner to an architect's love. Love for his work, love for buildings, love for the modernist style. An ingrained distrust, unease, and near hatred for the Jewish (taught to him by his father). How did such an ambitious, talented architect becomes a generous, altruistic man whom uses his talents to create, invent, and lead the construction of ingenious hiding places for the Jewish? So ingenious, indeed, that German Soldiers literally walk right over them; centimeters from their faces. Of course, the soldiers are furious . Upper members of the government are soon involved, including those second in command to Hitler. Members of the Gestapo spend hours upon hours looking, to no avail. It was touching and encouraging to watch the way Lucifer became more and more empathetic to the Jewish plight. By the end, he willingly adopts a young Jewish boy trying to hide, who, in due course, he loves like the son he never had. In turn, he indirectly saves the architect's life. And never feels the need to tell him so. After some time, it becomes plain to Lucifer how good it feels to be able to outsmart the Germans. He demands, understandably, that he never meet the ones he is saving. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on how you look at it), he accidentally does one time. He can no longer be in denial regarding the realness, seriousness, and high amount of risk he is taking. He rationalizes that it is in exchange for his career. With these commissions given to him by the German government, his success is practically guaranteed. But what good would a guaranteed, made career be if he is shot by the Gestapo, or even worse, tortured to death? I am confident that, put in Lucifer's position, I would not hesitate to risk my life in the name of what is right and fair. The German treatment of the Jewish was undeniably cruel and wrong in every sense of the word. But we never know, for sure, how we will act in any given situation. Until it really happens. Take Stanley Milgram's experiments in 1961. Or precisely ten years later, in 1971, during Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment. That is where books come in. To give anyone the chance to live, for a few hours, in another person's world, with someone else's eyes.

  • Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
    2019-05-21 23:42

    My Review: This was an impressive debut novel that hit all the major points that I love in a historical fiction read: vivid settings, wonderfully diverse, well-developed characters and a story line that was suspenseful and moved at a good pace. This book has officially gotten me out of my slight reading slump!I'm an avid reader of WWII/Holocaust reads but this book surprised me by bringing a compelling premise to the table surrounding Lucien, the architect at the centre of the story who hid Jews and their supporters 'in plain sight'. I found these architectural details that Belfoure, as an architect himself, added to the story fascinating. But it was Lucien's personal transformation that truly stood out for me. The reader witnesses Lucien's struggle with his desire to be a successful architect in Paris and the fact that in order to do this he has to work with the Nazis who have brought such devastation and pain to his city. The changes in his attitude and motives were convincing and believable.It was eye-opening reading the descriptions of what life was like living in Nazi occupied Paris, for Jews as well as Gentiles. The majority of the people struggled while the rich were able to scrape by and the Nazis took whatever they wanted. Life was so volatile as Parisians lived in complete terror that the Nazis would learn that you were a Jew or the suspicion that you may be helping to protect Jews. Their tactics were ruthless, obsessive and shocking making it not surprising to see neighbours turn upon neighbours in order to protect themselves.If I had to list a negative I'd have to say that there were a couple of situations that seemed too coincidental but always ended up helping the main characters in the end. Could these things realistically happen? Perhaps. In war-torn Nazi infested Paris during the war? Um, I'm not so sure. But I'll suspend reality just a bit because the architectural aspect and the characters were so interesting.This was a very impressive debut novel that had a lot of the items that I think make a good read - memorable characters, interesting premise, full of some seriously nail-biting suspenseful situations as well as some heart-wrenching scenes. But it is Lucien's transformation that is at the heart of this wonderful book.Recommended. *** This book review can also be found on my blog, The Baking Bookworm ( where I also share hundreds of my favourite recipes. ***

  • Claire
    2019-06-13 20:47

    This was on someone-or-other's list of “best books of the year.” I think it was a writer that I very much like, so I trusted their recommendation. It is a novel with fairly well-developed characters. Our protagonist is an architect in Paris (hence the not-too-creative-title) in 1942. He designs buildings for the Nazis and also designs hiding places in Paris apartments for Jewish people who can pay for them. The story begins when he is helping to hide the Jews only for payment, but as things happen to make him become more aware of those he is hiding as people he realises that he is doing it because it is the right thing to do. Belfoure does a good job of explaining why a person may do what they do during wartime. Many of the characters are quite believable, like our architect, and have complex reasons for acting as they do. Many French people turned a blind eye to what was happening to the Jews during WWII, some gentile husbands and wives left their Jewish partners to survive, and many informed on each other. Others formed the Resistance movement, and some did their bit to help Jews in secret. Many of the Nazis were evil men who enjoyed their torturous work, but some of them were just keeping their heads down and surviving in a system they did not agree with. Belfoure takes each of these types of people and introduces them as characters in a credible way.WWII and all the complexities of human nature that it brought out is unlikely to produce any original storylines so long after the event. These themes have already been explored many times. Belfoure says that this idea of an architect who designs places for Jews to hide was inspired by a “priest hole” designer of Elizabethan times – Elizabeth was having Catholic priests sought out and executed but someone made places for them to hide, and they can be found in some Tudor houses in England that still stand today. This just adds further proof to my argument that this idea of a person risking his life to save another during wartime is not a particularly original one. This is a well-written novel but I cannot truly say that I found it as thought-provoking and emotional as some of the reviews suggest. click here to read the rest of my reviews

  • Jamise // Spines & Vines
    2019-06-02 02:47

    Amazing! This is not a literary masterpiece but I really enjoyed the story, characters and the pace. I loved how folks paths intersected to reveal unexpected outcomes. There was just enough build up and suspense to keep me anxiously waiting to see what happened next. The shear hatred and brutality inflicted on the Jews during this time is sickening and it's never pleasant to read a story about Nazi occupied France. What I loved about Lucien is that his humanity eventually kicked in. A simple matter of having a conscience and doing what is right! We need more of that in the world!

  • Abby
    2019-06-06 03:49

    It's 1942 in occupied Paris, the Gestapo is ruthlessly rounding up and killing Jews, a self-involved French architect who is indifferent to their fate is reluctantly recruited to design hiding places and eventually and predictably locates his conscience. Cardboard characters, laughable prose, nonstop action, anachronisms galore... A classic example of the novel as plot-driven cliché. (Second star is for Paris.)

  • Barb
    2019-05-23 21:05

    4.5 but since this is the first novel in quite a while that I could not put down, I have rounded it up. A fast paced story with an ever increasing tension, made it an entirely satisfactory read. The transformation of Lucien Bernard was well developed and humanly realistic. Having never lived under such circumstances, I can only hope that I would be that brave and heroic. Looking forward to talking about this book at book club next week.

  • Pam Jenoff
    2019-05-23 20:52

    I loved this original, fresh take on World War II. It tells of an architect who, despite his best attempts to remain univolved, finds himself using his unique talents to build structures that can hide Jews from the Germans. Highly recommend!

  • Marti
    2019-05-21 00:54

    The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure is a fast moving book, that captures your attention. The setting of Occupied Paris is richly drawn as is the lure of survival. The main character, Lucien is a character who changes as the novel moves, but not without struggles and betrayals. What he is doing is very, very dangerous and there is one German who is determined to capture this man who tricks and deceives the GermansLucien Bernard is an architect who is struggling, but then so many people are in Paris during the Nazi occupation. Although he does not care about the Jews, he too is aware that the Gestapo is ruling Paris with a heavy hand. He is married and has a mistress, neither of which are particularly caring of him. He luckily begins to find work with a rich industrialist designing factories for the "French" people to "help" with the war. He is convinced to help devise a hiding space for a large sum of money for the industrialist - who has a friend. Lucien is able to design very clever hiding spaces within the confines of buildings, while he continues to build factories and other buildings for the industrialist and his German handler (member of the army who is in charge of increasing production). Lucien begins to do this for the money, then he begins to do this for the challenge of being clever, and then because he knows they are people.The Paris Architect is very powerful in its portrayal of a city and population under occupation. To me, the book shows the dichotomy of the situation sharply. I found this book to be particularly insightful in describing how many of the French population struggled to save themselves, while others struggled to save themselves and hide the hunted. I had not known a great deal about Paris when occupied, but within this book I saw the best and worst of the situations. The author also showed some of the ambivalence of the Germans toward the focus on the "Jewish situation" while capturing the viciousness of other GermansThis is a book to read! Not to savor, even though it is written beautifully. Not to mourn, even though so many people were annihilated without reason. But to remember, even in the midst of horror there is grace. ** I received this book for free from Main Street Book Ends, my local independent book store in Warner NH. The only caveat was to write an honest review.

  • Alyse Liebovich
    2019-06-13 23:59

    I heard about this title at a Book Buzz event a few days before attending ALA and was so excited when I saw one of the publisher's booths at ALA giving away free ARC copies of it. It was recommended to people who like Ken Follett but enjoy reading about the WWII era. When I excitedly asked if I could take one of the copies, the woman said, "Don't start it at 10pm like I did!" She was right. Although I enjoyed "Pillars of the Earth" by Follett, it was for way different reasons. I didn't have a hard time putting it down. In fact, I was often bored with the lengthy architectural descriptions of churches. This book is nothing like that. The short chapters and the non-stop, bite-your-nails drama, made it hard to stop reading this, as I read it with constant battling feelings of hope, fear, love, hate, dread and awe. "The Paris Architect" is about Lucien, a renowned architect in Paris, who is asked to build hiding places for Jews on the run from the Nazis. As he becomes more and more involved, his reasoning for agreeing to continue creating these hideaways changes when the situation becomes deeply personal. The descriptions of the Gestapo torturing people for information made me squirm, and as with everything I've read and listened to about this time in history, I found myself once again flabbergasted that any of this really happened.Historical fiction at its finest. I'd love to know if there was a real-life team like this back then who risked their lives to save their neighbors and outwit the Gestapo.The back of the book sums this book up well: "The Paris Architect asks us to consider what we owe each other, and just how far we'll go to make things right."I will add that I feel like I should send my copy back to the editor so they can see all the spelling, grammatical, and missing words I underlined throughout.Hardcover will be available this October, but if anyone is interested in borrowing my ARC, let me know!

  • Kelley
    2019-06-11 19:44

    Book read in conjunction with my book discussion groupCharles Belfoure's attention to detail, both architectural and historic, is fabulous. The story takes place in German occupied Paris during World War II. The architect, Lucien Bernard, ends up designing factories to make German armaments and hiding spaces inside homes and apartments for Jewish people on the run from the Gestapo. Bernard designs factories because he needs work and wants to use his creativity. He designs hiding spaces, at first, so that he can get the factory work. As time goes on, he realizes that hiding the Jews is the most important thing he can do with his life. The growth of Lucien throughout the book shows that people can change and that good things can happen during war.

  • Ana Carvalheira
    2019-06-07 01:50

    "O Arquiteto de Paris" é o romance de estreia do americano Charles Belfoure e é um livro absolutamente apaixonante, cuja leitura nos mantém em suspenso da primeira à última página. Entre o romance histórico e o thriller policial, Belfoure ficciona, através de uma prosa formidavelmente empolgante, a história do do arquiteto francês Lucien Bernard que vivera em Paris durante a ocupação nazi projetanto estruturas industriais que albergariam toda a produção de uma máquina de guerra, servindo os alemães no esforço bélico que utilizariam em toda a Europa durante a 2.ª Grande Guerra.Mas, por outro lado, Bernard será contratado por Monsier Manet, um aristocrata parisiense, rico e poderoso, que solicita ao arquiteto a construção de um espaço camuflado, no interior de uma habitação, onde possa esconder um amigo judeu, procurado pela Gestapo. Lucien Bernard é um arquiteto extremamente talentoso e vaidoso mas que nunca tivera a oportunidade de trabalhar num grande projeto, a colaboração com os nazis configuraria um reconhecimento que sempre almejara. Acusado de colaboracionista pela resistência francesa, sentindo-se compungido pela enorme humilhação e pelas bárbaras atrocidades acometidas pelos alemães sobre os judeus, Bernard vive intensamente essa dicotomia que o faz mergulhar em sentimentos tão contraditórios que ultrapassarão os limites da sua arte.Charles Belfoure sendo arquiteto de formação consegue ainda enriquecer esta fantástica história, utilizando apontamentos e referências sobre a arquitetura moderna identificando, dessa corrente, nomes sonantes como Le Corbusier, Gropius ou Mies van der Rohe. É um livro pejado de emoção - sofremos com o herói e os seus fundados receios - e que, ao longo dos seus sessenta e seis pequenos capítulos, vai deixando a nossa respiração em suspenso no final de cada um. Aguardo ansiosamente a publicação do segundo romace de Charles Belfoure "House of Thieves" que ainda não disponível na tradução portuguesa.

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-06-05 20:47

    2.5 When this story begins Lucien is on his way to what he thinks will be an architecture job, one that will be prominent enough to enhance his reputation for the future. The Nazi& have taken control of Paris, Jews are being rounded up and sent to the camps, there are food shortages, ordinary Parisians are in fear of their lives and co-operate with the Germans superficially, while secretly hating them and what they stand for. The beginning was strong, the discussion and details of architecture are impeccable and any conversations having to do with these subjects are natural. The author is an architect so this is as to be expected.The characters though are for the most part not likable or I just could not relate to them in a way that made me really care what happened to them. Lucien's mistress and anything to do with her I dislike immensely and wished it had not been part of the story. The prose itself, except for the aforementioned parts is just okay, uneven at times, almost awkward at others. Wanted to like this more than I did but felt it was worth reading if just for the detailed descriptions of architecture, that part was most interesting.ARC from NetGalley.