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The Paris Architect

Written by: Charles Belfoure
Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
Length: 11 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

Written by an expert whose knowledge imbues every word, this story becomes more gripping with every life the architect tries to save.

©2013 Charles Belfoure (P)2013 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"Words like 'riveting' and 'compelling' aren't strong enough to describe this remarkable novel narrated by Mark Bramhall and set in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1942." (AudioFile Magazine)

"A beautiful and elegant account of an ordinary man's unexpected and reluctant descent into heroism during the second world war." (Malcolm Gladwell)

"Belfoure writes like an up-and-coming Ken Follett... There's plenty of detail to interest architecture buffs, too." (Booklist)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping story, beautifully narrated.

This story was exquisitely narrarated transporting the listener in time and place. Don't miss it.

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Such a compelling book!

I loved this book, all while it broke my heart, and fed my soul. As soon as the book starts, wham, you are taken immediately to the horrors of World War II in Paris, as Jews are torn from their homes. This experienced through the words and eyes of a little girl, and how she tries to save the life of her little brother in a hiding place they used for hide and seek. Fast forward 3 or 4 years, and the theme f hiding continues, as we learn the story of the architect who risked his life creating places to hide jews in Paris. Fast forward to almost modern times, and the stories that unfold as a woman and her husband get ready to move into the home that was once that of the little girl who hid her brother. Many twists and turns, compelling characters, and insights into the stories from Paris in wartime. Brilliant.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C. B. Schindel
  • 2015-08-23

Riveting

I couldn't put this book down. Characters were believable and interesting. Plot was great, with some twists and turns. Captured the feeling of France during the German occupation of Paris during World War, and the question of how people behave in terrible circumstances.

44 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ellenaeddy
  • 2014-04-16

Grows on you

I didn't like where this book started. I loved where it ended. It was about Paris and people's moral limits in war time. The characters all did some interesting life change turns, when confronted with evil past stupidity. Don't know if it was realistic, but it was heart warming.

31 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Taryn
  • 2018-02-07

Worth your time

I wasn't excited about listening to this, however my bookclub picked it. Aside from the awful descriptions of Nazi torture I found myself mesmerized and anticipating the next thing that might occur. The main character is unlikable and of course in the end he is redeemed, which may be a bit far fetched. However, it didn't take away from the story. I was surprised by the ending, which again was a bit of a stretch, but it left me with such good feelings about humanity in a time of horror and inhumanity. #inspirational #dark #suspenseful #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

29 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Mel's Diner
  • 2018-02-20

Good story and performance, but writing just not there.

I really love this idea and the general concept of everyday heroes during WWII, but I wish the author had spent a little more time honing his craft before he put pen to paper. The story deserved more—architectural details, character development, and natural dialogue. The author has talent, but it doesn’t rise to meet the great potential of this tale.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Albert
  • 2015-05-10

Captivating

Most captivating and extremely informative about the horrors during the WW2 occupation of France. A most unique perspective of the conflict from the eyes of an architect who unwittingly was coerced into helping the Germans was extremely suspenseful and delved into his humanity watching him grow from a selfish survivor to a compassionate hero
.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mary B. Wheeler
  • 2018-01-02

Paris with a twist

I really enjoyed this book. I have listened to several audio books and read many more about Paris during the Occupation, but this is the best in a long time. Being a lover of architecture, I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of beautiful apartments and decorative details.

This book is loaded with details about the French spirit and also their fear of being thought of as collaborators. And it also showed how far the Nazis would go to find Jews hidden within collaborators homes.

It is well worth the read. And the narration is excellent.
Enjoy!


16 people found this helpful

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  • Wandering Hoosier
  • 2015-05-09

Absolutely Wonderful!!

I couldn't stop listening to the book. I've read and listened to many Nazi-era books and find this to be one of the best. In fact, anyone who likes Sarah's Key or Those Who Saved Us will also love this one.

The premise of the book--saving Jews in architecturally designed structures--is intriguing. The author somehow balanced the horrors of the era with happiness. His characters conveyed the best and worst parts of people. Paris and all its glory played a strong part in the book.

I found the author fabulous! He added to the quality of the book do I'm glad I listened to it rather than read it. He did a great job with different genders, ages, and nationalities.

I loved this book so much that I'm sad it has ended!

40 people found this helpful

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  • Noah
  • 2014-01-19

Fantastic Book -- Worth the listen

What did you love best about The Paris Architect?

Great all around story and character development. Also enjoyed the historical fiction aspect to it.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It took a little time to get into it but once I was into it, I was hooked.

Any additional comments?

I strongly disagree with previous comments knocking the narrator.

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Al
  • 2015-07-25

Great story

Couldn't put it down. Its very engaging from start to unexpected finish. I highly recommend

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Claycnst
  • 2015-08-05

A five star for sure

This book is definitely in my top10 out of 115 Audible books I've listened to. It's been a while since I've taken Time to recommend a book. Nice to finally find one good enough.

16 people found this helpful