I was so sorry when this book was over. Beautifully written, with very real and likeable characters, and set during World War II, it's historic fiction at it's best.
The author brings the reader fully into several story lines, which intertwine and overlap, while writing about the war through the character's eyes. Main character Maure-Laure lives with her father, a skilled locksmith for the Paris History Museum. Creator and holder of all the keys that secure every door and exhibit, he brings his daughter to work with him to learn from the curators. Maure-Laure is blind, and her loving father creates intricate, scale replicas of all the buildings in the vicinity, so that she can memorize them and become more independent.
Another story line focuses on Werner and his sister Jutta, orphans living in a German children's home. Werner, from a young age, is fascinated by the radio broadcasts he hears from abroad. His skill with building and fixing radios (a new invention) brings him to the attention of the Nazi party, which recruits him for their elite training school. He is encouraged to develop his skills with the radio, then ordered to locate clandestine radio transmissions detected after all radios have been confiscated.
Still another layer of the story involves a priceless gem (said to carry a curse) which had been housed at the Paris museum under many locks and keys until it, and three copies of it, vanished during the Nazi occupation of Paris.
I highly recommend this book to the intelligent reader, and book clubs that are not intimidated by the book's 530 page length.
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