Book: The Little Paris Bookshop
Author: Nina George
Available: Out now
Summary: On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers. The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour in his eccentric apartment building inspires Jean to unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past.
Hope you’re all having book-filled weeks – this week I’ve been reading Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop, which is the ultimate Bank Holiday read if you were looking for a new book.
There are two things in the world that are always guaranteed to cheer me up: Paris, and a really good book. So you can imagine when Nina George’s novel landed on my desk, I immediately knew it would be right up my street. And it was, but it was so much more than I expected! I’ll be honest, I thought it would be a slightly cheesy but lovely romance novel, so I was completely caught unawares when it turned out to be a deeply moving novel that has you wanting to do a bit of soul-searching yourself. Jean Perdu is actually a bookseller who struggles to come to terms with his past, while helping others people heal their wounds with books.
I actually own a book called ‘The Novel Cure’ and it seems like Jean could have written it himself – it lists all different books and when the best time to read them is, i.e a particularly great novel for heartbreak, or if you’re bored or having an existential crisis.. Anyway, this novel had a lot more depth to it than I thought. It’s almost impossible not to get attached to Jean – even when he’s being stubborn or frustrating he eventually comes around and you feel like you’re going on this emotional and physical journey with him.
I thought Nina captured the essence of Paris but also Provence perfectly. There’s a lovely mix between the charm of the city and the charm of the countryside and it almost made want to get on a barge and go on an adventure (but then I remembered when I went on a canal boat once and got major cabin fever so I stayed put on the sofa under my blanket!). Jean is joined on his journey by Max, an author struggling to decide what his next novel will be after writing a bestseller.What I really like is that every character has a moving story – for example, Max has a complicated relationship with his Dad, Jean is trying to work through grief and heartbreak, and then they’re joined by various eccentric characters from a flamboyant singer to a passionate Italian chef, who all work through their issues.
In terms of literature, there are so many books mentioned throughout the story, both real novels and made-up ones, for a bookworm like me it was an absolute dream and basically made for an extra reading list.
I would definitely recommend this to any book nerd out there, or anyone who would describe themselves as a bit of a dreamer. It’s brilliant!
What are you all reading?