Friday, March 4, 2011

Review: 13, rue Thérèse: A Novel By Elena Mauli Shapiro

13, rue Thérèse: A Novel 
By Elena Mauli Shapiro

Product Details:
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books; 1 edition (February 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316083283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316083287

Description (From Good Reads)

Trevor Stratton is an American professor and translator, newly arrived at a Paris university. There, in his office, he discovers a box filled with letters, photographs, and antique objects—a beautiful pair of gloves, a rosary, a silk scarf. Whose life is preserved here? And who has left this mystery for him to find?

The artifacts tell the story of the box’s owner, Louise Brunet, who lived in Paris through both world wars. Trevor is captivated by her tale; her unruly love for a cousin who died in WWI, her comfortable marriage to a man who works for her father, and her passionate attraction to a neighbor in her building at 13, rue Thérèse. But the artifacts tell just a part of the story. Trevor almost deliriously envisions the rest, consumed by thoughts of Louise. Or is it Josianne, his alluring assistant, who rules his imagination?

Memory, passion, and the mysteries of time are entwined in this enthralling novel, a book that transports us not just to Paris but into the mysteries of the past. Elena Mauli Shapiro’s first novel is a masterly exploration, intimate and dramatic, of the stories we imagine about others’ lives and the truths those stories reveal about ourselves.

About the Author:

Elena Mauli Shapiro was born and raised in Paris, France, in an apartment below the real-life Louise Brunet’s. Shapiro found herself in possession of a box of Louise’s keepsakes after her neighbor died and no relatives arrived to claim them. These postcards, gloves, photographs, coins, letters, and other mementoes utterly captured her imagination. Shapiro has a BA in English and French from Stanford University, a master’s degree in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Davis, and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Mills College. Visit her website at

My Thoughts:

This amazing first novel is certainly like no other I've read before!  At times challenging, and yet always engaging, 13, rue Thérèse is a mesmerizing tale built upon a box of artifacts and ephemera strategically placed within the office of American Professor Trevor Stratton upon his arrival at the Paris University.  Upon his discovery of this simple box, the reader is swept away by the life of Louise Brunet as Trevor begins to translate and piece together the meaning of the contents.  But is this really Louise's life or Trevor's fantasies of her life?  And what does this say to us about Trevor Stratton? The two seem to be intertwined and the reader is challenged to seperate the two.  Filled with beautiful images throughout, this easily becomes a mystery to unfold!  Shapiro's writng is absolutely elegant!  Although this novel has a very French flavor to it, translations are provided making it easily readable. I loved this novel and find it one worth re-reading.  Demanding of further discussion, this novel would make an excellent book group endeavor!  Easily worthy of a Five star rating!


  1. Hi, Kimberly - stopped by from Design it Chic blog hop - and so glad I found you! I can't get enough of book reviews so I'm now following you so I don't miss anything.

  2. I'm a new follower from Hop Along Friday! Please check out my blog at Misfit Momma

  3. Beautiful blog with wonderful posts! Thanks for sharing over at Fresh Clean and Pure Friday @ la bella vita! I'm now your newest follower too!!!!! I just love to read, read, read!

  4. Love, love your blog, Kimberly! Please come visit me and give me some hints on how to improve mine!
    I'm reading this book. It's such a kick back in time for days in Paris.


  5. Calling by from Italy via Fresh Friday and Seasonal Saturday to visit another participant.Delighted to meet you as I also have a Book blog. 13, rue Thérèse sounds like one I would enjoy so will add it to my wishlist.

  6. How delightful to have found your blog over at Tickled Pink! I love to read, will be following...

  7. Sounds Great! I am now following you and would love a follow back at

  8. Sounds like an interesting read. Love the book's concept.


I love hearing your thoughts, opinions, and comments in general!