Author – David Leroy
Author's website link - http://www.thesirenofparis.com/
Genre or category – Historical Fiction/Action and Suspense
“I have decided to go back to Paris. I know other Americans there, and I think I might be able to help out with the American Hospital.” He sounded rehearsed to Joan. “Sounds like you have this all thought out. I didn’t know you wanted to go into medicine full time. I could use the help around here, Marc. Why not stay in Saint-Nazaire?”
“Joan, there is nothing here for me to do. The other nurses can help. There is no more work to be done with the yards. I need to go back. There, I might be able to make a difference.” The words fell away from his mouth over her covers and out the windows to the sea.
“What has changed? What is the hurry all of a sudden? I mean, you were going to go up to England and stay with your friend, Allen.” She held her stomach as it cramped. “Why do you all of a sudden now want to go to Paris? What are you running from, Marc?” she whispered a little too loudly, unaware that Marc had heard her.
“I’m not running away, Joan. I just need to be someplace where I am needed. I cannot go back to America and just resume my plush life in New York and forget about everyone I know in France. There are Americans in Paris, not many, but still, and I just think that’s the best place for me right now,” Marc’s voice stood firm.
She listened and then said, “You found him, didn’t you. You found your friend and now …”
“Yes.” “I understand now. I have appreciated you here these months. Without you, I would have had to deal with that German officer directly, and you made that a lot easier,” she went on.
“He’s not as bad as you make him out to be. He’s just trying to survive like you are.”
“When do you leave?”
“Maybe tomorrow. I’ll find out in the morning.”
“Do you know why you are going?”
“Yes. I think back in Paris, I can help at the hospital, and help others who are trying to make it through.”
“Not even close, Marc, not even close,” she said, looking out at the sea.
“Joan, I can’t go north. Even if Allen were alive and I had a place to stay in London, I can’t get across the Channel.” He sounded like a child complaining to his mother. “I can’t really go south. I have no proof of my American citizenship. I lost everything on that ship out there.” He then looked out and checked if the tide was low, where the superstructure haunted the coastline. “If I even got over the border, I don’t know anyone in Spain and would not know where to go. And, besides, after everything now, I cannot go home. At least in Paris, I can do something.”
“Marc, listen to me carefully. Do you know why I dragged you from the ocean that day? Do you know what drove me when I was nearly eight months pregnant to convince a French fisherman to go out there and get you swimmers? I got news for you, friend. It wasn’t because God called me and said, ‘Hey, you got to save these chaps.’ “I saved you, not because I was trying to save you, but because I was trying to save the one whom I had lost in the past. I was trying to save the one soldier who died who I thought I could save if only I had done this, or that. And that dead soldier, whom I could not save—drives me in ways I can’t quite get at. I lost my baby, Marc, because I was so driven by that need to save him. That is why I was out there that day, and dragged you from the sea back to my hospital. Angels do have demons, you know."
Description: (adapted from the Amazon description)
In German occupied Paris, a group of unlikely people collaborate to smuggle an Allied airman south to Spain. Among them is an American, Marc Tolbert. He had come to Paris in 1939, to study art, not suspecting he would become caught up in a war or feel driven to acts of heroism.
Marc, the French-born son of a prominent American family, had found companionship and excitement in the ex-pat scene in Paris. His new friend Dora introduced him to a circle that included the famous Sylvia Beach, owner of the bookstore Shakespeare & Company. He had accepted a job with William Bullitt, US ambassador to France. And while at art school, he'd fallen in love with the alluring model Marie.
Under the increasing threat from Germany, as Americans scrambled to escape Paris, Marc found himself trapped by the war. He almost died, on June 17, 1940, aboard the RMS Lancastria. After returning to Paris, he helped smuggle Allied airmen through the American Hospital to the Paris Resistance underground, until a profound betrayal led him into the hands of the Gestapo and to Buchenwald.
The Siren of Paris, the debut work of historical fiction by David LeRoy, tells a searing story of love, betrayal, forgiveness, and war that brings to vivid life the shimmering City of Lights during its darkest hours during World War II.
Rigorously researched and vibrant in historical detail, The Siren of Paris reimagines one of history’s most turbulent times through the prism of an American abroad in Europe’s most harrowing days. Poignant, gripping, and thought-provoking, The Siren of Paris mines the human dilemma of revenge versus forgiveness and vividly captures the conflicted state of survival.
What People Are Saying:
This is a well-written and well-researched story that takes the reader to Paris and its surroundings during WWII as viewed through the experiences of Marc Tolbert, an American who was born in France.
The characters are well-developed and we get to know many of them as well as we might know our friends. The scenery is vividly painted and one feels like they are there watching the events unfold. -- Auriane
The Siren of Paris was truly an enjoyable book. I found the imagery of certain events during World War II (based on what had to be a lot of historical research) woven well into the underlying story of friendship, love, growth and self-actualization. I personally found it a great mixture.
The characters are engaging and you truly want to see what happens to each of them in the end. And as mentioned previously, the imagery was very well done to the point that it instilled great visuals for my imagination. -- Chuck
The author's meticulous historical research really shines. Events are described in incredibly vivid detail and in a very personal and human way. For example, we see detailed news footage of the German invasion of France. We see people cramming themselves into and piling on top of train cars, trying to escape the country. We experience the destruction of an ocean liner, are drawn into the intrigue of the French resistance, and feel a character's psychological deterioration in a prison camp. The novel also touches on the post traumatic stress the protagonist suffers after the war.
I also liked the spirituality that runs through the novel. We see a priest who is well versed in dogma and without compassion contrasted with a loving, spiritual man of God. This story explores themes of faith, despair, betrayal, guilt, forgiveness, redemption, and the pivotal choices that make us who we become. There are also lightly rendered paranormal elements and interesting dream/hallucination sequences as well as a wise, thoughtful moment, at the end, where Marc's spirit realizes what he needs to achieve peace.
While it is packed with information, The Siren of Paris is readable and entertaining. This is an excellent living history book for adults and mature teens. -- Steph
About David Leroy:
A Native of California, David received a BA in Philosophy and Religion at Point Loma Nazarene College in San Diego. The degree served him well while selling women’s shoes, waiting tables, or working odd jobs after college until settling in the field of telecommunications, where he has worked for the past 18 years. Early on, he demonstrated artistic abilities. For many years, David marketed a line of fine art photographic prints through various galleries and retail outlets.
In the past few years, his focus has shifted to painting and drawing, which included the development of a children’s e-book in the Apple Itunes store under “David Tribble” title “Lord of the Scribes.”
After returning from a European arts study program, he became interested in the history behind the French Resistance during World War Two. Writing fiction has become his latest way to explore philosophical, moral and emotional issues of life. The Siren of Paris is his first novel.
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