I Love France #37: (2012) #62 review: The Siren of Paris


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The Siren of Paris


David LeROY

335 pages

Published by David Tribble Publishing in July 2012

Paperback received via
Book promotion Services

Siren of Paris

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:



A few weeks ago, I posted an excerpt of this very good historical novel. Time to review it and give you even more the desire to read it, as it is really worth it.

I have to say I was rather confused by the first chapter, and wondered what I had got myself into, but as I had promised to be part of this Tour, I persevered and read chapter 2, and I’m so glad I did!

In Chapter 1, Marc appears as a ghost, as a priest remembers all the dead of WWII in a prayer service at a cemetery, with weird stuff, ” the body of his soul” (really??), changing colors, etc.

BUT it all makes sense when you reach the end of the book, and in between, there’s nothing of that.

It is a very poignant story of what happened to Marc, a French born American medical student, during WWII in France, with his choices and their consequences, his relationships, with friends? traitors? enemies? in the world of French Resistance.

It is indeed a lot about relationships, on how to know whom to trust, and on forgiveness and letting go; on survival, and what you do with your life then: do you feel guilty you survived? Do you offer your life for others?

Let me highlight a few things I really like:

  • starting at chapter 13: I like the way the story accelerates, with shorter stories for everyday, presented more like a journal, in different places, for the main protagonists of the story. It’s a great way to show how some tried to cope with the situation, how some fled, by plane, by train, by boat, etc.
  • chapter 14: it captures extremely well the frantic fears on a boat preparing to live Italy in the US – remember, there are lots of dangerous things in the water in between, sharks of course, but also submarines…
  • chapter 22: the back and forth is stunning here between Marc’s boat fate, and Marc’s activity with the Resistance later.
  • chapter 31: a powerful rendering of Marc’s nightmares.
  • chapter 41: amazing mix of memories, fears, nightmares, and reality, in all its madness.
  • chapter 45: “We become our decisions over time. We choose to love, or we can choose to hate. We can choose to forgive, or we can choose to take revenge; to have hope, or we can choose to fall into despair. But, regardless, we become our choices we make over time.” p. 318

And just a few things I would object to:

  • there are lots of historical people on the book. In chapter 8, featuring a visit to Germany, I was really expecting to see The American ambassador Dodd mentioned (see In The Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson). He wasn’t.
  • chapter 39: one little weird language thing. The guards are going through the cells, looking for a man called Renee. The French form Renée is for women. René is for men.
  • chapter 40: ‘Bon chance’ does not exist in French. Chance being a feminine word, it reads ‘bonne chance’. I have to say, it is very exceptional to find so few French mistakes in books on France written in English! Bravo!
  • chap 44: was the Paris neighborhood ever spelled Ménilomontant? I am only aware of Ménilmontant.

So to sum up, if you are interested in France, WWII, the French Resistance, you really have to read this book.

Do not cringe at the fact that it is self-published: it is great writing and good editing, with very few French mistakes even, as I mentioned above. This is the perfect example illustrating the fact that sometimes, self-published books can be of a high quality. And I expect to see more and more self-published books of that caliber.


Born in Paris and raised in the United States, 21-year-old Marc Tolbert enjoys the advantages of being born to a wealthy, well-connected family.. Reaching a turning point in his life, he decides to abandon his plans of going to medical school and study art in Paris. In 1939, he boards a ship and heads to France, blissfully unaware that Europe — along with the rest of the world — is on the brink of an especially devastating war.

When he arrives at l’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, more ominous signs surface. There are windows covered with tape, sandbags shielding the fronts of important buildings, whispers of Parisian children leaving the city, and gas masks being distributed. Distracted by a blossoming love affair, Marc isn’t too worried about his future, and he certainly doesn’t expect a Nazi invasion of France.

Marc has a long journey ahead of him. He witnesses, first-hand, the fall of Paris and the departure of the French government. Employed by an ambassador, he visits heads of state, including the horribly obese gray-haired Mussolini and the charismatic Hitler. He witnesses the effects of the tightening vise of occupation, first-hand, as he tries to escape the country. He also participates in the French resistance, spends time in prison camps, and sees the liberation of the concentration camps. During his struggles, he is reunited with the woman he loves, Marie, who speaks passionately of working with the resistance. Is she working for freedom, or is she not to be trusted? [provided by Book Promotion Services]


A native of California, David received a BA in Philosophy and Religion at Point Loma Nazarene College in San Diego. 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.

You can visit him at http://www.thesirenofparis.com/. There’s a book trailor on this page as well, and extra material.

I got David LeRoy’s picture on Elizabeth Caulfield Felt’s Blog. I highly recommend you to go and visit this post, in which she interviews the author! You will see how much research he put in his novel.

Additional Info:  You can purchase The Siren of Paris from Amazon — http://www.amazon.com/The-Siren-Paris-David-LeRoy/dp/0983966710/ref=tmm_pap_title_0 — for more information about this virtual book tour, and to read other reviews, please visit — http://bookpromotionservices.com/2012/05/22/siren-of-paris-tour/



Just a reminder guys:
If you link your own post on France,
please if possible
include the title of the book or topic in your link:
name of your blog (name of the book title or topic):
example : me @ myblog (Camus)

17 thoughts on “I Love France #37: (2012) #62 review: The Siren of Paris

  1. Thanks for the great review. The Sumner Wells trip is very odd. To my knowledge, he did not meet Dodd. The entire trip did not sit well with Bullitt either. I struggled to even include the trip, but it did happen, and demonstrated to Marc that this war would not end soon. I am so going to correct those French mistakes. Thanks again.


    • Thanks David for your input, I feel honored to have my review visited by the author himself.
      I am also going to revisit my review, to add that your book debunked for me the general idea that self-published books are not too good. You were a very very nice exception. As you explained in your interview in the blog I highlighted, I actually expect to see more and more good quality self-published books.
      Keep up your great work, you probably have something else in the works.


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