Almost three months into the year and I have finally completed a book for the What’s in a Name Challenge!
April in Paris by Michael Wallner is set in World War II in occupied Paris and is about a young German soldier, Corporal Roth, who by day acts as a translator during interrogations of suspected French Resistance members and by night takes to the street in civilian clothes as Antoine, trying to enjoy the ambience of Paris (yes, even in wartime Paris appears to have it) as just another Frenchman as opposed to a soldier of the occupying army.
During his evening promenades, he encounters a Frenchwoman, Chantal, with whom he becomes infatuated and makes every effort to be with her or even just to see her. He does not want her to know his true identity – for obvious reasons – but Chantal has secrets of her own that are best kept to herself; yet even so it seems like they know more about each other than they reveal.
I found the character of Corporal Roth interesting, if not entirely likeable. At critical moments he seemed to have a conscience ; and I’ve not usually felt that with other German soldiers I’ve read about in novels.
The story in this novel was just ok – I never felt fully drawn into it – but I loved the descriptions of wartime Paris.
And a lighthearted warning — if you do choose to read this book, be aware that you will be humming the song April in Paris even though it has nothing to do with the story!