During World War I on a tiny island in the Seine sits The Little Palace, a restaurant run by master chef and cheese maker, Narcisse. Narcisse happens to be a cat who believes in equality and service for all. The stress of the war has allowed for animals and humans to communicate in ways unknown before. With the help of a very special group of animals, Narcisse has made The Little Palace an oasis for good food, company and a refuge for artists. In the cafe animals and humans work side by side; however, one of the servers at The Little Palace believes that animals and humans should not be equal. The server hatches a plan that damages the reputation of The Little Palace. At the same time Narcisse gets word that her father has been injured in the war.
A creative and charming story that highlights the animals that, without choice, serve alongside of us in the midst of war. Written for a middle grade and teenage audience, The Little Palace resonates with adults as well as with themes such as equal rights, justice and kindness. At first I thought the anthropomorphic animals characters were the only characters in the book, however when I learned that humans were also characters, I became very intrigued at their interactions. I do wish the mechanism for the human and animal communication was brought up earlier in the story, although it made sense once it was finally disclosed. I loved the camaraderie between the many species of animals and their willingness to help in the war that was decidedly human.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.