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  • Headline Review
  • Headline Review
  • Headline Review
  • Headline Review

The Librarians of Rue de Picardie: From the bestselling author, a powerful, moving wartime page-turner based on real events

Janet Skeslien Charles

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France, New York, True stories, First World War fiction, Historical fiction

An inspiring and uplifting novel of courage based on the true story of Jessie Carson, the American librarian who changed the literary landscape of France, from the author of The Paris Library.

The New York Times bestselling author of the The Paris Library returns with a powerful, moving new novel based on the extraordinary true story of Jessie Carson, the American librarian determined to bring books to the children of war-torn France.

'This is hands down my book of 2024. A rich, glorious life-affirming ode to the power of books and female solidarity. Simply unforgettable!' KATE THOMPSON

'A wonderful story about the power books have not only to inspire, but also to rescue and restore. The characters are so richly drawn... I absolutely loved it' RUTH HOGAN


Under what was left of the roof of the ruined cottage, a girl with pigtails perched on a pile of rubble, hunched over a book...

1918: As the Great War rages, Jessie Carson takes a leave of absence from the New York Public Library to work for the American Committee for Devastated France, a group of women determined to rebuild devastated French communities just miles from the front. Upon arrival, Jessie strives to establish something that the French have never seen - children's libraries. She turns ambulances into bookmobiles and trains the first French female librarians. Then she disappears.

1987: When NYPL librarian and aspiring writer Wendy Peterson stumbles across a passing reference to Jessie Carson in the archives, she becomes consumed with learning her fate. In her obsession, she discovers that she and the elusive librarian have more in common than their work at New York's famed library, but she has no idea their paths will converge in surprising ways across time.

*Published under the title Miss Morgan's Book Brigade in the US*

'An astonishing novel with the beating heart of courageous women who change the world through books. For every reader who was once told to get their head out of the clouds because they read too many books, this one is for you... A moving novel of sacrifice, heroism, and inspired storytelling immersed in the power of books to change our lives' PATTI CALLAHAN HENRY

'Bursting with remarkable characters and filled with heart-in-mouth moments... an enthralling, emotional story rich in historical detail. Janet Skeslien Charles has done real justice to the legacy of these courageous women; this wonderful book is a gift to the reader' LIESE O'HALLORAN SCHWARZ

'Bibliophiles are in for a treat' PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

'I found myself captivated by this eye-opening book and reminder of the good that comes from dedicated hard work. I am grateful to Janet Skeslien Charles for educating me about the remarkable women of CARD' ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ &am
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Janet Skeslien Charles

Janet Skeslien Charles is an award-winning author with over a decade's worth of roaming the streets of Paris and researching in its libraries. Her debut novel, Moonlight in Odessa, was published in ten languages and was awarded the Melissa Nathan prize and the Completement Livre prize in Strasbourg.

Originally from Montana, as a child she lived on the same street as a French war bride and was fascinated by the war stories of her French professor. Janet began to research The Paris Library when she worked as Programs Manager at the American Library in Paris. Until recently she taught in Paris, where she still lives.

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