Trevor Stratton is an American professor and translator, newly arrived at a Paris university. There, in his office, he discovers a box filled with letters, photographs, and antique objects—a beautiful pair of gloves, a rosary, a silk scarf. Whose life is preserved here? And who has left this mystery for him to find?
The artifacts tell the story of the box’s owner, Louise Brunet, who lived in Paris through both world wars. Trevor is captivated by her tale; her unruly love for a cousin who died in WWI, her comfortable marriage to a man who works for her father, and her passionate attraction to a neighbor in her building at 13, rue Thérèse. But the artifacts tell just a part of the story. Trevor almost deliriously envisions the rest, consumed by thoughts of Louise. Or is it Josianne, his alluring assistant, who rules his imagination?
Memory, passion, and the mysteries of time are entwined in this enthralling novel, a book that transports us not just to Paris but into the mysteries of the past. Elena Mauli Shapiro’s first novel is a masterly exploration, intimate and dramatic, of the stories we imagine about others’ lives and the truths those stories reveal about ourselves.
I really enjoyed this book. In a strange way it reminded me of that movie Amelie. But instead of knowing who this box belonged to and trying to return it, Trevor decides to try to find out about the life of the owner by looking at each item and deciphering what they represent.
One interesting thing that I really liked was that the author has set up a website where you can go see all of the pictures a little better. In the book they are rather small. But on the website, you can examine the objects in the box much easier. You should head on over there to take a look. http://www.13ruetherese.com
On the website, you can also see pictures of 13, rue Therese (where Louise Brunet lived). To me, it makes the story come more alive.
I felt like I was along for the ride as Trevor examined each item in the box. The thoughts and feelings about each item were simply exquisite.
This is not one of those books that you want to rush through. This one is meant to savor slowly.
In conjunction with the Wakela’s World Disclosure Statement, I received a product in order to enable my review. No other compensation has been received. My statements are an honest account of my experience with the brand. The opinions stated here are mine alone.