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Janet Skeslien Charles Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Moonlight in Odessa (2009)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Paris Library (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Janet Skeslien Charles
Janet Skeslien Charles was born in Conrad, Montana and divides her time between Montana and Paris. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and traveling.

“The Paris Library” was an instant New York Times Bestseller, a Lonestar selection, and a Book Reporter Best Bet, a Library Reads selection, and was named a Most Anticipated Book of the Year by Library Journal and Goodreads.

Janet’s shorter work has appeared in revues like Montana Noir and Slice.

Janet started thinking about the elements of “The Paris Library” when she was only ten years old. She had always wanted to write about a war bride. Having grown up in rural Montana, she was fascinated by a neighbor, who was a French war bride. She left her friends, her family, and even her language behind so that she could marry a G. I. she did not know all that well. She was an incredibly brave woman.

The woman inspired Janet’s interest in France. She would later get a job at the American Library in Paris and learned all about the brave librarians that defied the Nazis so that they could deliver books to Jewish readers. The settings and storylines came together.

In both this novel, and Janet’s debut (“Moonlight in Odessa”) she explores themes of culture shock and the challenges of starting again in a new country. This is because Janet and her friends have had to navigate cultural and language difference, and work on reinventing themselves in a new place.

The seed for “Moonlight in Odessa” came while Janet was sitting on the train to Geneva for her first ever writers’ conference. During the trip, Janet started thinking about a Ukrainian friend that had married a much older American guy she hardly knew. The couple was unhappy. The woman told Janet that she didn’t need to pity her. This rebuke served as the genesis for the book and the inspiration for the voice of her narrator, as well.

Janet’s debut novel, called “Moonlight in Odessa”, was released in the year 2009. Her work is from the historical fiction genre.

“Moonlight in Odessa” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2009. This novel is an exploration of the booming business of Russian e-mail order brides, an industry where marriage and love collide with commerce and sex.

Odessa, Ukraine, the humor capital of the former Soviet Union. However in an upside down world where the waiters earn more than the doctors and Odessans depend on the Mafia for basic needs like medical supplies and phone service, there’s no one laughing. Daria (a young engineer), after spending months of hunting for a job, finds a sweet job at a foreign firm as a secretary. However every plum has got a pit. Mr. Harmon is the pit, in this case, as he makes it clear that her first job is to sleep with him. She evades Harmon’s advances by recruiting Olga, her slippery neighbor, to be his mistress. However, Olga quickly has her sights set on Daria’s job.

Daria starts moonlighting as an interpreter at Soviet Unions, a matchmaking agency which organizes “socials” where lonely American guys can meet desperate Odessan women. Her grandma wants Daria to leave the Ukraine permanently and pushes her to marry one of the guys she meets, however she already has developed feelings for one of the locals. She has to pick between America and her world. Between Vlad, who is a sexy and irresponsible mobster, and Tristan, who is a teacher almost twice her age. Daria goes with America and security. Although it isn’t quite what she believed it would be.

This is a tender, wry, and darkly funny look at marriage, the desires we don’t acknowledge, and communism’s aftermath. It is a story about the sacrifices and decisions that people make while pursuing stability and love. This is a truly delightful novel, and brings a humanizing and realistic face to modern marriages that aren’t for love. The novel gives you a firm basis for who Daria is before she arrives in America and does a great job of putting the reader in her shoes. Janet definitely has a love for and is knowledgeable about Odessa, Ukranian culture, and the Russian language.

“The Paris Library” is the second stand alone novel and was released in the year 2021. Based on the true World War Two tale about the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris. It is a story of friendship, romance, family, and literature’s powerful ability to bring each of us together.

Paris in the year 1939. Ambitious and young Odile Souchet has got it all: her dream job at the American Library in Paris and her handsome police officer beau. The Nazis march into Paris, and Odile stands to lose all that she holds dear, which includes her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, she joins the Resistance with some of the best weapons she has: books. However once the war finally wraps up, instead of freedom, she only tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.

Montana in the year 1983. Lily is a lonely teen looking to find some adventure in a tiny town. Her interest gets piqued by her solitary and elderly neighbor. While she learns more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she learns that they both share a love of language, the same intense jealousy, and the same longings. Neither one never suspects that a dark secret from the past links them both.

A novel that explores our decisions and the relationships that make us who we are: friends, family, and favorite authors. This is a novel that illustrates how extraordinary heroism can be found in the quietest of places sometimes.

Janet brings to life a little-known chapter of WWII history to life here, and is a well researched and fascinating look at the dedication required to stand up against the Nazis and save one beloved and important library. Readers devoured this beautifully written story quickly and loved Odile’s whole story, including her relationship with her twin brother, Remy.

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