25 October, 2021

LitStaff Pick: Our Favorite Historical Novels

13, rue Thérèse: a novel
Elena Mauli Shapiro

In his new office Trevor finds an unassuming box of letters, photographs, and other items belonging to Louise Brunet, an ordinary woman lost to history.  Through these keepsakes, Louise becomes a mystery to be unraveled, and a passionate individual whose life lived against the backdrop of WWI grows more compelling with each new discovery.

Eventually, we wonder how Trevor can so vividly reconstruct not only Louise’s actions and motivations, but also her imaginatings and the smoldering sexuality that lies so near to her core.  Are we listening to Trevor’s voice or seeing through Louise’s eyes as we slip between events of the early 1900s and the scholarly reports of today?

Fascinatingly, while this novel is fiction, the life it is based on was not: Louise Brunet and the keepsakes are real, giving 13, rue Thérèse a haunting credibility even in what we know to be pure fiction.

-Sharon Browning

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