The Paris Architect was a rich story with complex characters and an intricate plot. Set in France during the German occupation in WWII, architect Lucien was asked by a wealthy business man to build a secret hiding place for a Jewish couple. Motivated only by money and the promise of designing a large factory, Lucien accepted the job begrudgingly. For a large part of the book, Lucien was unsympathetic to the horrors impacting the French Jews, yet somehow his honesty made him a genuine and likeable character.
There were some great plot twists that changed Lucien’s feelings about his role in the war. Suddenly focused on living a righteous and meaningful life, his focus shifted. The book was told through the perspectives of several people surrounding Lucien: his architectural apprentice, his wife, his mistress, and the Germans overseeing the factory he designed. The narration of those people provided a depth to the story that made this novel an excellent book. When the author included the narration of the Jews who used Lucien’s hiding places, his actions were made especially meaningful. The author examined how an ordinary man reacted when placed in extraordinary circumstances in a way that was fresh and moving. I appreciated that each character had depth beyond what was initially portrayed, and it was that humanity that made this a captivating read.
I really enjoyed this book and already suggested it to friends. I’m looking forward to more from this author.