I’m delighted today to give you a peek inside Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin with an excerpt – and a chance for two of you to win a copy of your own!
UNTIL LEAVES FALL IN PARIS by Sarah Sundin
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance
RELEASE DATE: February 1, 2022
As the Nazis march toward Paris in 1940, American ballerina Lucie Girard buys her favorite English-language bookstore to allow the Jewish owners to escape. Lucie struggles to run Green Leaf Books due to oppressive German laws and harsh conditions, but she finds a way to aid the resistance by passing secret messages between the pages of her books.
Widower Paul Aubrey wants nothing more than to return to the States with his little girl, but the US Army convinces him to keep his factory running and obtain military information from his German customers. As the war rages on, Paul offers his own resistance by sabotaging his product and hiding British airmen in his factory. After they meet in the bookstore, Paul and Lucie are drawn to each other, but she rejects him when she discovers he sells to the Germans. And for Paul to win her trust would mean betraying his mission.
Master of WWII-era fiction Sarah Sundin invites you onto the streets of occupied Paris to discover whether love or duty will prevail.
Lucie made her way through the store, past the delightfully jumbled bookshelves and the tables which fostered conversation about art and theater and the important things in life.
Boxes were piled outside the office door, and inside the office Hal and Erma stood in front of the desk, faces wan.
“What—what’s wrong?” Lucie asked.
Hal set his hand on Lucie’s shoulder, his brown eyes sad. “We’re leaving tomorrow.”
“Leaving? But you can’t.”
“We must.” Erma lifted her thin shoulders as she did when her decisions were etched in stone. “In Germany, the Nazis don’t allow Jews to run businesses. I doubt it’ll be different here.”
“They won’t come to Paris.” Lucie gestured to the north where French soldiers lined the Somme and Aisne Rivers. “Besides, you’re American citizens. They won’t do anything to you. Our country is neutral.”
“We can’t take any chances,” Erma said. “We’re going to Bordeaux and sailing home. You should come too.”
Lucie had already told them she’d never leave. But as a Christian, she could afford to remain in Paris, come what may. She could never forgive herself if she persuaded the Greenblatts to
stay and they ended up impoverished—or worse.
An ache grew in her chest, but she gave them an understanding look. “You’re taking the SS Washington.”
Erma stepped behind the desk and opened a drawer. “If we can.”
“Hush, Erma. Don’t worry the girl.”
“If you can?” Lucie glanced back and forth between the couple.
“We don’t have money for the passage.” Erma pulled out folders. “It’s tied up in the store.”
Lucie’s hand rolled around the strap of her ballet bag. “You can sell the store, right?”
Hal chuckled and ran his hand through black hair threaded with silver. “Who would buy it? All the British and American expatriates are fleeing.”
“What will you do?” Lucie’s voice came out small.
“We have friends.” Hal spread his hands wide as if to embrace all those he had welcomed. “Lots of friends.”
Erma thumped a stack of folders on the desk. “I refuse to beg.”
Hal dropped Lucie a wink. He’d beg his friends.
What if those friends didn’t have the means or the heart to help? What if the Germans did conquer France, including Bordeaux?
A shiver ran through her. Lucie couldn’t let anything happen to them, not when she had both the means and the heart. “I’ll give you the money.”
“What?” Erma’s gaze skewered her. “We can’t take your money.”
“Why not?” She entreated Hal with her eyes, as if she were thirteen again and asking him to dip into the allowance from her parents for new pointe shoes. “I’m practically family. I lived
with you for three years. Because of you, I could stay in the ballet school when my parents returned to New York. You’ve always said I’m like the daughter you never had.”
“You’ll need your money to get home.” Erma flipped through a folder. “When the bombs start falling, you’ll change your mind about staying here. Look what Hitler did to Warsaw and Rotterdam.”
It wouldn’t happen to Paris. It couldn’t. “I’ll be fine. I want you to have my money.”
Hal turned Lucie to the door. “Don’t worry about us. Now, I know you’re hungry after practice. Go. Eat. We’ll talk to you tonight.”
Out into the warmth of the store, her home, but it was all falling away, falling apart. The Greenblatts—leaving. The store—closing.
Green Leaf Books was their dream, their life, and they were giving it up.
Ballet was Lucie’s dream. Her life. Could she give it up? If she did, what would she have? Who would she be?
She rose to demi-pointe and turned, taking in the shelves and tomes and the rich scent, and she knew what she’d have, who she’d be.
Lucie whirled back into the office. “I’ll buy the store.”
Erma looked up from the box she was packing. “Pardon?”
“I’ll buy the store. Not a gift. A business transaction.”
Hal’s chin dropped. “Sweet Lucie. You are so kind. But you—you’re a ballerina.”
“Not anymore.” Although she did stand in fifth position. She breathed a prayer for forgiveness for lying. “Lifar plans to cut me. I need a job. I’ll run the bookstore.”
After twenty-five years of marriage, Hal and Erma could speak volumes to each other with a glance. And they did. Then Erma sighed. “But Lucie, you’re a ballerina.”
Lucie’s cheeks warmed. True, she wasn’t terribly smart, especially with numbers, but at least she’d read all the books the Greenblatts had recommended. “I’m good with people, with
customers—I can do Hal’s job. And Madame Martel helps with the business end of things. She can do your job. She and I—we can run the store.”
“Lucie . . .” Hal’s voice roughened.
Her eyes stung. Her lashes felt heavy. “And when we kick the Germans back to where they belong, this store will be here waiting for you. I promise.”
Erma stared at the folder in her hands, her chin wagging back and forth. Wavering.
“I want to do this.” Lucie swiped moisture from her eyes. “I need to do this. Please. Please trust me with your store.”
Erma set down the folder and came to Lucie, ever the stern one, the practical one, the one to say no. She gripped Lucie’s shoulders and pressed her forehead to Lucie’s. “It’s yours. You dear, dear girl.”
Lucie fumbled for Erma’s beloved hands and tried to say thank you, but she could only nod. Then she broke away and ran out, ran upstairs to her apartment.
Now she couldn’t change her mind about leaving Paris. Now she had to resign from the ballet.
And she had to figure out how to run a bookstore.
Sarah Sundin, Until Leaves Fall in Paris
Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, © 2022. Used by permission.
for more of this excerpt, click HERE
Sarah Sundin is the bestselling author of When Twilight Breaks and several popular WWII series, including Sunrise at Normandy, Waves of Freedom, Wings of the Nightingale, and Wings of Glory. Her novels have received starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly, as well as the Carol Award, the FHL Reader’s Choice Award, and multiple appearances on Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” Sarah lives in Northern California. Visit www.sarahsundin.com for more information.
Revell is offering a print copy of Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin to TWO of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin?