As a family historian, I endeavor to breathe life into my ancestors by telling their tales. Taking aged documents, diaries, letters, and photographs, I try to recreate my predecessors’ realities, using our words and my imagination. Everyone has a story to share.
Which is why I wanted to read the novel, All the Flowers in Paris, authored by Sarah Jio.
Set in the City of Light, this split-story book opens with modern-day Caroline, who has been in an accident and wakes with amnesia.
Now, Caroline’s life is a blank sheet. Without a back story, she must fill in the pages of her life going forward. Although remnants of her past are slowly revealed to her, Caroline does not like what she discovers about her former self: She was a sad, withdrawn woman who shut herself off from the world in her oversized, empty apartment. But no more: Now, Caroline will rewrite her life as she would wish.
While rooting through her apartment for clues to herself, Caroline unearths unsent love letters penned by a young widow named Celine, living in Nazi-occupied Paris with her father and daughter. Celine’s father, a florist, is beloved by all, that is until his well-concealed secret is revealed: his mother was Jewish. Suddenly, everything is turned topsy-turvy for Celine’s family, and the wolf is waiting at the door.
Thoughtful and thought-provoking, heart-rending and hopeful, All the Flowers in Paris beautifully blends the lives of Caroline and Celine. Although they are very different people from vastly different times, both women live life with purpose and passion, giving all they are for those they love.
A timeless story set in a timeless city, All the Flowers in Paris is a must-read for romantics and history lovers alike.