13 rue Therese: a novel by Elena Mauli Shapiro

Title: 13 rue Thérèse: a novel

Author: Elena Mauli Shapiro

Genre: Fiction

About: (pub. synopsis) American academic Trevor Stratton discovers a box full of artifacts from World War I as he settles into his new office in Paris. The pictures, letters, and objects in the box relate to the life of Louise Brunet, a feisty, charming Frenchwoman who lived through both World Wars.
As Trevor examines and documents the relics the box offers up, he begins to imagine the story of Louise Brunet’s life: her love for a cousin who died in the war, her marriage to a man who works for her father, and her attraction to a neighbor in her building at 13 rue Thérèse. The more time he spends with the objects though, the truer his imaginings of Louise’s life become, and the more he notices another alluring Frenchwoman: Josianne, his clerk, who planted the box in his office in the first place, and with whom he finds he is falling in love.

My thoughts: Imagine starting a new job in a new country and you discover a box of someone’s mementos in your new office.  That’s what happens to Trevor Stratton. Something interesting occurs as he looks at each item: he seems to become part of the story of that item. I wish I’d read the book with a group because I’d like to get other interpretations.

Elena Mauli Shapiro’s novel is different from any I’ve ever read. Through her characters we experience the horror of war and the life of one interesting young woman. Scattered throughout the book are photos that depict the contents of the box. The story grows as Trevor examines each object. It is inventive, sensual, emotional and provocative.

This is a tough book for me to review as it is so unique but I will say I read it a few weeks ago and still think about it.

Recommend: Yes, especially if you’re looking for a different kind of novel. Check out the website at the link below.

Source: Reagan Arthur Books

You can read more about 13 rue Thérèse here

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30 thoughts on “13 rue Therese: a novel by Elena Mauli Shapiro

  1. I love a book that lingers in your mind like that. This sounds like the perfect book for me right now since we’ve been enjoying looking through old family photos. I’ll add your review to the Reagan Arthur Books Challenge Blog.

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  2. This sounds like something I would really enjoy … your review hooked me so much that I’m going to buy this book tomorrow. Thanks, Mary!

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  3. Sounds like a good read. I always think it is a sign of a good book when you think about it weeks later. How exciting would it be to find a box like this, I’m now imagining what I’d put in it.

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  4. I’ve requested this book from my library, I’m # 178 of 179. If you are still thinking about a book a couple of weeks later, to me that means 5stars out of 5. I know when we were clearing out my mom’s house we found many boxes, and we got a glimpse of her through them, even though we were very much a part of those items, it was still exciting, so I can’t imagine this special box.

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  5. Just the fact that you think about this book weeks later means it is a good one! I am feeling the same way about King’s Speech, the movie! Have a great day Mary!

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  6. I love books that are different and set themselves apart. This has been added to the TBR! I also like books that are set in places I have been to and I lived in Paris when I was in college, and have been back a few times since. What a great city!

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  7. I’ve wanted to read this book since I read the description. I’m so glad that you found it evoked so many different emotions. I can’t wait to read this one…so many good books! Great review Mary!

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  8. I liked this book a lot. And you’re right, it was quite unique. It took me a few days and some revisions to write a review that didn’t give spoilers and yet still describe the book.

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  9. I just read another review of this one today and it certainly sounds like a fascinating book. I would love to “stumble” upon a box of items from the past!!

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  10. I read this book a week back and agree with you – it was really uniquely written. Plus the descriptions are so vivid I feel like I’m actually reliving the world war!

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