“The Paris Library is a testament to the everlasting power of literature and literary places to bring people together and be a home for everyone, even during our darkest, most hopeless, and divided times.” — Alyssa Raymond, Copper Dog Books, Beverly, MA

Janet Skeslien Charles is the award-winning author of Moonlight in Odessa, The Paris Library and Miss Morgan’s Book Brigade. Moonlight in Odessa is her first novel. It was chosen as a top ten debut novel by Publishers Weekly and as book of the month by National Geographic Traveler magazine.

Janet first became interested in the incredible true story of the librarians who stood up to the Nazi “Book Protector” when she worked as the program’s manager at the American Library in Paris. Her novel The Paris Library was an instant New York Times Best Seller and named Most Anticipated Book of the Year by Library Journal and Goodreads.

The wit, empathy, and meticulous research that brings The Paris Library to life also brings to light a cast of lively real-life characters and a little-known chapter of World War II history: the story of the American librarian, Miss Reeder, who created the Soldiers’ Service to deliver books to servicemen, and who later faced the Nazi ‘Library Protector’ in order to keep her library open. She and her colleagues defied the Bibliotheksschutz by delivering books to Jewish readers after they were forbidden from entering the library.

Her newest novel, Miss Morgan’s Book Brigade (April 2024) is based on the extraordinary little-known history of the women who received the Croix de Guerre m medal for courage under fire and is a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, the power of literature, and ultimately the courage it takes to make a change.

Her shorter work has appeared in revues such as Slice and Montana Noir. She divides her time between Montana and Paris.

Janet's Featured Titles

Miss Morgan’s Book Brigade

Atria Books |
Historical Fiction

The New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the “captivating, richly drawn” (Woman’s WorldThe Paris Library returns with a brilliant new novel based on the true story of Jessie Carson—the American librarian who changed the literary landscape of France.

1918: As the Great War rages, Jessie Carson takes a leave of absence from the New York Public Library to work for the American Committee for Devastated France. Founded by millionaire Anne Morgan, this group of international women help rebuild devastated French communities just miles from the front. Upon arrival, Jessie strives to establish something that the French have never seen—children’s libraries. She turns ambulances into bookmobiles and trains the first French female librarians. Then she disappears.

1987: When NYPL librarian and aspiring writer Wendy Peterson stumbles across a passing reference to Jessie Carson in the archives, she becomes consumed with learning her fate. In her obsessive research, she discovers that she and the elusive librarian have more in common than their work at New York’s famed library, but she has no idea their paths will converge in surprising ways across time.

Based on the extraordinary little-known history of the women who received the Croix de Guerre medal for courage under fire, Miss Morgan’s Book Brigade is a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, the power of literature, and ultimately the courage it takes to make a change.

The Paris Library

Atria Books |
Novel

An instant New York Times, Washington Post, and USA TODAY bestseller—based on the true story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris during World War II—The Paris Library is a moving and unforgettable “ode to the importance of libraries, books, and the human connections we find within both” (Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author).

Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet seems to have the perfect life with her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into the city, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear, including her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. But when the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.

Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love of language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.

“A love letter to Paris, the power of books, and the beauty of intergenerational friendship” (Booklist), The Paris Libraryshows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest places.

Moonlight in Odessa

Bloomsbury USA |
Novel

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian meets Desperate Housewives in this exploration of the booming business of Russian e-mail-order brides, an industry where love and marriage collide with sex and commerce.

Odessa, Ukraine, is the humor capital of the former Soviet Union, but in an upside-down world where waiters earn more than doctors and Odessans depend on the Mafia for basics like phone service and medical supplies, no one is laughing. After months of job hunting, Daria, a young engineer, finds a plum position at a foreign firm as a secretary. But every plum has a pit. In this case, it’s Mr. Harmon, who makes it clear that sleeping with him is job one. Daria evades Harmon’s advances by recruiting her neighbor, the slippery Olga, to be his mistress. But soon Olga sets her sights on Daria’s job.

Daria begins to moonlight as an interpreter at Soviet Unions(TM), a matchmaking agency that organizes “socials” where lonely American men can meet desperate Odessan women. Her grandmother wants Daria to leave Ukraine for good and pushes her to marry one of the men she meets, but Daria already has feelings for a local. She must choose between her world and America, between Vlad, a sexy, irresponsible mobster, and Tristan, a teacher nearly twice her age. Daria chooses security and America. Only it’s not exactly what she thought it would be…

A wry, tender, and darkly funny look at marriage, the desires we don’t acknowledge, and the aftermath of communism, Moonlight in Odessa is a novel about the choices and sacrifices that people make in the pursuit of love and stability.

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Beginning to Write Using Every Day Inspiration

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The Paris Writing Workshop - Being Inspired to Write by Authors Who Lived in the City of Light

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The 400-year History of Mail-Order Brides in America

Janet’s Recent Press

Resources for Book Clubs

Janet’s Other Writing

Honors, Awards & Recognition

NYT Bestseller
Indie Next List
Library Reads Pick

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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