13, Rue Thérèse

13, Rue Thérèse

A Novel

Book - 2011
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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 Therese. 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.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown, 2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780316083287
Characteristics: 278 p. : col. ill. ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: Treize Rue Thérèse


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Jan 31, 2017

Pretty good read. But I much preferred "Celestine" by Gillian Tindall, a biography based on letters found in an old French farmhouse AND on meticulous research.

At first I wasn't too sure about it, but I realized it's a nice book to read and follow along and enjoy each moment or memory of Louise's life. The premise of the book is quite unique, Shapiro has the personal mementos, letters, postcards and pictures of Louise and has shaped a fictional story around them.

Mar 02, 2011

I was a little apprehensive when I picked up 13, rue Thérèse by Elena Mauli Shapiro, due to the unique presentation of the book itself. Images of scanned photos, letters, and other ephemera are interspersed with the text, and on the last pages, there were special barcodes for use with a smartphone, which made me a bit wary. However, I decided to let it go and just take the book for what it was, and I’m glad I did.<br /><br />

The book is strange and unique and yet, it’s also interesting and exciting. We briefly learn about a collection of items left for American professor Trevor Stratton, who has just arrived in Paris to translate French poetry. As the book progresses, he gets drawn into this story and people behind this “documentation,” as he calls the items, and you feel yourself drawn in as well.<br /><br />

The story jumps between the Trevor’s perspective and that of Louise Brunet, the woman who owned the items Trevor is examining. The line between their worlds blurs more and more, and it helped to suspend disbelief, especially towards the end.<br /><br />

I will say that I was a little disappointed with the ending, especially after the build-up along the way. It just didn’t feel like the resolution was as weighty as the story that got you there. That said, I really enjoyed the book, as it kept me wondering what piece of the puzzle might be revealed next.


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