A moving memoir of World War II: No Place To Lay One’s Head


4 stars

This book is another story of a simple woman whose life was completely changed by WW2. It’s a real story taken from the notes of Françise Frenkel.  It’s moving, heartbreaking and impactful.  

In 1921, Françoise Frenkel – a Jewish woman from Poland – opens Berlin’s very first French bookshop. It is a dream come true. The bookshop attracts artists and diplomats, celebrities and poets – even the French ambassador himself. It brings Françoise peace, friendship and prosperity. Then one summer’s day in 1939, the dream ends. Weeks before the war breaks out, François flees to France. 

Unfolding in Berlin, Paris and against the romantic landscapes of southern France, No Place to Lay One’s Head is a heartbreaking tale of human cruelty and unending kindness; of a woman whose lust for life refuses to leave her, even in her darkest hours, and who survives only because strangers risk their lives to protect her. 


First thing I need to tell you about this book is, you will need this:

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It’s always sad and fascinating to read about lives of people during WW2, as the war was not kind to many of them. Françoise was one of them and she wrote her experiences in a very impressive way. Knowing that they are real and a person goes through so much, is really touching. The writing in this book is simple, fluid and moving. The title speaks for itself. It’s a story of a woman who had everything, a husband, an exciting venture in front of her, and a happy life. It all goes upside down and she finds herself escaping from place to place, not belonging to anywhere, not having a future. 

I suppose one cannot say I enjoyed such a story, but I can say I’m glad I read this real life experience. It’s very thought provoking, informative and it’s always good to remember the importance of peace and what happened in the past. On the other hand, it was not all sad. There were also people helping each other to save lives, friendships and uniting to fight for survival, which gives you a smile and hope 🙂

In that sense, I’d really recommend this book as it takes you through many emotions. I also think it’s a well written, interesting story to follow. 4 stars! Also, if you liked Anne Frank’s Diary, they are very much in line, so I believe you’d like this one.

My thanks to Pushkin Press for sending a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Thanks a lot to you for stopping by. As usual I love to chat in comments and see what you think 🙂 Happy reading!






10 thoughts on “A moving memoir of World War II: No Place To Lay One’s Head

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