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Review: 13, rue Therese

March 4, 2011

When American professor Trevor Stratton goes to work in Paris, he discovers a box hidden in the bottom drawer of his file cabinet.   The box is filled with letters and other mementos from Louise Brunet’s life.  As Trevor goes through the box, he pieces together Louise’s life and comes to feel like he knows her even as he discovers a love of his own.

13, rue Thérèse by Elena Mauli Shapiro is based on an actual box of mementos that the author has carried around the world for years – the mementos in the book are real, but the story is fictional.  This has to be one of the most unique books I’ve read in quite some time, because Louise’s story is pieced together by letters and objects, and photos of all the mementos are included in the book.

Trevor learns of Louise’s forbidden love, her marriage, and her frustrations.  He imagines her thoughts and feelings.  There’s a little twist at the end that I don’t want to give away, but I had to discuss it with someone to see if they interpreted it the same way I did.  Although there’s nothing really explicit, there is a lot of sexuality in this book.

I enjoyed 13, rue Thérèse a lot and I’m anxious to see what Shapiro comes up with next.  If you think this sounds like a book you’d enjoy, you should consider signing up for the Reagan Arthur Books Challenge – if you do by March 31, you could win a copy!

Challenges:  Reagan Arthur Books ChallengeWhat’s in a Name 4 Challenge

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
52 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2011 5:31 am

    Wow, I love books like this. I love the idea of the box and that the story is based on what is inside it.

  2. March 4, 2011 6:27 am

    I do have a copy, but was not sure this was for me. Your review is making me rethink that 🙂

  3. March 4, 2011 6:56 am

    13, rue Therese sounds like such a unique book. I would really like this book, I think. Thank you for the review!

  4. March 4, 2011 7:20 am

    love that cover…sounds like a very interesting concept.

  5. March 4, 2011 7:24 am

    This was such an interesting book and I think the mementos really added to the mystique surrounding the story.

  6. March 4, 2011 7:34 am

    I have read such positive reviews on this one that I must get to it soon. I also like the cover so very much.

  7. March 4, 2011 8:03 am

    Sounds like such a good book. I hadn’t heard of this one, so I’m glad you reviewed it. Thanks! Now I have another interesting book to add to my TBR list 🙂

  8. March 4, 2011 8:06 am

    I got interested in this from Julie’s review. I’m glad to hear you liked it also!

  9. March 4, 2011 8:22 am

    Ooooh, I like books with a scrapbook-type feel. But I’m not sure all the sexuality is for me.

  10. March 4, 2011 8:32 am

    What I love most about this book is how fresh and unique it is – really unlike any book I’ve ever read. It truly drove home the devastation of war and it’s effect on the one’s at home. I still think about it – and I read it a couple of months ago!

  11. March 4, 2011 9:09 am

    Yep – I’ve been wanting to read this book strictly because I loved the cover (silly, I know). And then to learn that there is such a unique story to it all? Even better! I look forward to reading this one 🙂

  12. March 4, 2011 9:21 am

    You know I love the idea of old photos and having them linked in a story. I’m going to add this to my TBR list now! Happy Friday!

  13. March 4, 2011 9:25 am

    I’ve wanted to read this book more with each review I’ve read. And I just love the cover. I’m going to have to add this to my TBR list.

  14. March 4, 2011 10:09 am

    I saw this book on Amazon and was intrigued by it. After reading your thoughts I’m even more curious about this novel.

  15. March 4, 2011 10:27 am

    I also enjoyed this unique and cleverly written book and would recommend it to most people.

  16. March 4, 2011 11:03 am

    I have a copy of this, but, like Diane, I wasn’t sure if I would like it. After reading your lovely review, I want to try it. Thanks 🙂

  17. March 4, 2011 11:07 am

    Sounds like a very good book. Thanks! for the review.

  18. March 4, 2011 11:39 am

    I love the idea of constructing a life through mementos! Thanks for the suggestion.

  19. March 4, 2011 12:02 pm

    I am glad to see that you liked this one! I have it as well, and have heard varying things about it. I know there were a lot of people that were excited about it at SIBA. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!

  20. March 4, 2011 12:31 pm

    I am so interested in this one – I love the idea behind the book!

  21. Beth Hoffman permalink
    March 4, 2011 12:55 pm

    I keep reading nice things about this book and I’m eager to read it. I’m not a fan of sexuality in books, but as long as it not explicit, I’ll go ahead give it a try. Thanks, Kathy!

  22. Erin Cook permalink
    March 4, 2011 1:18 pm

    Sounds intriguing and the cover really does create an interest to what’s inside! Hmmmm…do I have the time for another book challenge? No, but they are so much fun and it makes me think!! I’ll check out this title and possibly joining the RAB challenge – thanks!!!

  23. March 4, 2011 1:21 pm

    I love the idea of building a whole life story around a box of mementos. Very clever.

    Since I’ve been away from blogging my Google Reader saved 21 posts from your blog. I’m glad I read through all of them. Otherwise I wouldn’t have known about your new domain name. Congratulations. (The old website transferred me flawlessly but I did change my reader to the new one.)

  24. March 4, 2011 1:48 pm

    It does sound really interesting and I’d like to read this book. There is just something there

  25. March 4, 2011 2:11 pm

    You do read the most fascinating books…I even love the cover of this one…

  26. March 4, 2011 2:17 pm

    I am literally running to the bookstore for this one!

  27. March 4, 2011 2:21 pm

    Kathy, I think the design of this book is quite ingenious.

  28. March 4, 2011 2:29 pm

    This sounds really good! I’m definitely going to look into getting a copy.

  29. March 4, 2011 5:08 pm

    This book does sound so unusual! I need to get my hands on a copy!

  30. March 4, 2011 5:16 pm

    I’ve read good reviews about this book. I love stories that you have to piece together as you read along.

  31. March 4, 2011 5:36 pm

    I got this from the library and I really tried. It just wasn’t for me. I so wanted to like it! I’m glad you did.

  32. March 4, 2011 6:10 pm

    This does sound fun and unique!

  33. March 4, 2011 7:45 pm

    I agree, this was such a unique book! I joined the RAB challenge after reading this book!

  34. March 4, 2011 7:50 pm

    Thanks for the tip. I’ve discovered I can pre-order it on Kindle!

  35. stacybuckeye permalink
    March 4, 2011 8:28 pm

    This looks clever and fun. Great review!

  36. March 4, 2011 8:43 pm

    Sounds like such an interesting way to write a book. I really like that cover too.

  37. March 4, 2011 10:19 pm

    I love the concept for the book and based on that alone I would probably give it a try. That fact that you enjoyed it, makes it all the better. Thanks for the review.

  38. Thoughts of Joy permalink
    March 5, 2011 9:03 am

    Letters, objects and photos are the intriguing factor for me. Glad to see you liked it.

  39. March 5, 2011 9:20 am

    i love the idea of lost letters and possessions…so romantic and whimsical! sounds like shapiro did a great job with this one. i haven’t heard about it on the blogs but am off to check out the giveaway and see if my library has it available.

  40. March 5, 2011 9:36 am

    I’ve been out of commission for a while and just started rereading blogs this morning. What a wonderful review to read right off the bat!

    I remember doing a project in high school where we had to try to recreate a family’s life based upon the checkbook registry. It was fascinating and in some respects, this book seems to be similar to that project. I hope to find the time to read it soon!

  41. March 5, 2011 11:29 am

    I read some great reviews of this book — glad you liked it!

  42. March 5, 2011 4:15 pm

    This has been popping up off and on around the book blogging world and I’m loving the sound of it and will have to look up a copy!!

  43. March 5, 2011 8:59 pm

    Now you make me want to read too. Let me know if anyone thought the same on the ending, seems there’s lots to talk about here.

  44. Kathleen permalink
    March 5, 2011 9:52 pm

    You intrigue me with the mention of the twist. I like the idea of a story being told based on a group of real mementos.

  45. March 5, 2011 10:56 pm

    I really loved the unique story telling format! I’m also eagerly waiting for whatever Shapiro comes up with next.

  46. March 6, 2011 2:07 pm

    This sounds really interesting and different. I will have to see if I can get a copy!

  47. March 7, 2011 8:48 am

    Wow. This sounds so different and inventive. I really dig the sound of it.

  48. March 7, 2011 6:14 pm

    This does sound like a book I’d enjoy … and, um, I have a copy on my shelf waiting to be read. 🙂

  49. March 8, 2011 9:33 am

    Ooh, sounds very compelling — and I love books that transition between the past and present!

  50. March 10, 2011 11:05 am

    I haven’t really given this book much thought, but you’ve made it sound really good!

  51. March 20, 2011 10:54 am

    The book has all the right recipe for me. I like the cover too. Thanks for the review! I’d love to see the content of the box.

  52. May 12, 2011 7:06 am

    This was a fun book to read and I loved the illustrations.

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