Sarah Sundin is one of my favorite authors, and her latest novel, Until Leaves Fall in Paris, does not disappoint. Until Leaves Fall in Paris is a stand-alone novel that loosely connects to Sundin’s previous novel, When Twilight Breaks.
Until Leaves Fall in Paris is a romance that takes place during World War II. It is unique among Sundin’s novels that I have read in that the story takes place within German occupied France. The introduction is intriguing; the novel begins with two short chapters introducing both characters and then jumps forward a year.
In Paris, widower Paul Aubrey runs an automobile factory in addition to raising his four-year-old daughter, Josie. Lucie Girard, once a ballerina, buys her favorite bookstore after its Jewish owners were forced to flee Paris. Everyone in the story, including Lucie, sees Paul as a Nazi “collaborator” because the Germans buy his vehicles, yet he uses his high standing with the Germans to pass along valuable information to the resistance. Lucie too aids the resistance by passing notes through the pages of the books in her shop. Thus, both characters are working for the resistance but cannot tell each other. The romance between Paul and Lucie is well-written, and I enjoyed Sundin’s vivid descriptions as well as the way that the title’s theme of leaves is worked throughout the novel.
Overall, Until Leaves Fall in Paris is a fairly quick and easy read, yet several points are thought-provoking.
Both Paul and Lucie are Christians, who, when faced with difficult decisions, look to God for guidance. Paul, however, struggles more with his faith than Lucie does, as Paul and Josie are shunned at church because of Paul’s “collaboration” with the Nazis. This stood out to me because, no matter what he has done, Paul should be welcome at his church; as the pastor points out, church is the best place for sinners.
Further, as Lucie considers her relationship with Paul and his Nazi “collaboration,” several statements made me pause. For example, Lucie attempts to understand Paul’s position and asks herself:
What if [Paul] didn’t have a choice either? (72)
In addition, Until Leaves Fall in Paris emphasizes sacrificing for others and recognizing individual, God-given talents and how they work together. Paul, a businessman, and Lucie, an art lover, seem opposites, yet their talents complement each other.
Until Leaves Fall in Paris has a steady plot pace and is suspenseful, as Paul and Lucie are concerned about when America will get involved in the war, and the reader already knows what will happen. The characters are realistic and complex, especially Josie. She is my favorite character because of her importance in the story. She draws Paul and Lucie together, and I enjoyed seeing both Paul’s relationship with Lucie and his relationship with Josie develop.
The ending is happy and very satisfying; Until Leaves Fall in Paris is a heartwarming yet thought-provoking story. I highly recommend this novel for girls ages sixteen and up!
For Further Reading…
Check out my previous review of Sundin’s novel The Land Beneath Us, and I recommend When Twilight Breaks as well, especially if you enjoy Until Leaves Fall in Paris.
Young Adult Blogger
Kathryn Dover lives in South Carolina with her family including six cats (and counting!), a dog, two fish, and many house plants. She attends Presbyterian College and is currently planning to double major in Math and Creative Writing. Kathryn loves writing, especially plays, and she completed and performed her first play, The Sexton, at 14. She’s not sure what she wants to do as a career, only that she wants to write, but is trusting that God has a plan for her life to use her in a powerful way. College takes up most of her time, but in her free time, she likes to read, play with her pets, and grow plants.