Posts Tagged: Women’s fiction


29
Apr 15

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Book: The Little Paris Bookshop
Author: Nina George
Publisher: Abacus
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.

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Hi everyone,

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?

Julie xx

 


6
Aug 14

New Day by Emma Gibbens

Book: New Day
Author: Emma Gibbens
Available: Out now in ebook format
If you like this you might also enjoy: Bridget Jones’ Diary
Summary: Emma’s protagonist decides to start a diary, following her life every day as she tries to get her first book published while still managing her life and relationships.

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Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all having book-filled weeks! For my second review of the week, I thought I’d talk about Emma Gibbens’ debut novel New Day, which I’ve been reading the last few days – it’s broken up into diary entries which makes it a perfect commute read as it’s easy to stop/start without forgetting what’s going on!

One thing I really liked about New Day is the way that it’s a diary of an ordinary woman – there’s loads of relatable everyday scenarios such as trying to get back into exercise, navigating family disputes, buying a house.. and even getting a book published! (Okay, that last one might be a bit more niche but I know lots of wonderful people writing incredible novels at the moment!).

Emma’s book has some funny and quirky moments, including a misunderstanding over a stolen kayak, and I found it very easy to read and keep up with.

I’d recommend this book if you’re commuting, or simply travelling – it’s easy to read and the diary format means you can keep up with it even if you need to put it down briefly!

What are you all reading?

Julie xx


31
Mar 14

Secrets in the Shadows by Hannah Emery

Book: Secrets in the Shadows
Author: Hannah Emery
Available: Out now
If you enjoy this book you might like: The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Summary: In 1920s Blackpool, 11-year-old Rose wanders away from her parents and has a unique gift bestowed upon her. One which will leave a haunting legacy. Decades later, Louisa has a vision of her mother walking into the sea. It’s not her first vision, and she finds herself spending her life trying to change the revelations that haunt her. In present day Blackpool, Grace struggles to understand her visions, and struggles as her twin sister Elsie plans a wedding with the man Grace loves. All three generations must make a choice – in the face of certain destiny, do you chase what’s ‘meant to be’, or throw away fate and make your own future?

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Hi everyone,

Hope you had great weekends! I’ve been completely hooked on Hannah Emery’s Secrets in the Shadows – it’s one of my favourite reads so far this year, so I might gush a bit (sorry). I absolutely love novels where different eras intertwine and that’s exactly what happens in Hannah’s book. The book follows the stories of Rose, her daughter Louisa, and Louisa’s daughters Grace and Elsie. The plot seamlessly jumps between the past and present, and I found myself completely involved as each generation tries to make sense of the past generation’s mistakes.

What’s awesome about Hannah’s novel is that, although the women can see into the future, it’s not the main theme of the book. It’s obviously important, but the real focus is on the mother-daughter relationships in the novel. There’s a particular scene where Elsie overhears Louisa talking about the girls, and concludes that her mother loves one twin more than the other: it’s a really heart-breaking moment, and we eventually hear Louisa’s side (although I won’t reveal too much). Initially, when Rose disappears you are left wondering how she could simply abandon her daughter, but as the story progresses you get more of her story – I still wasn’t sympathetic but I was surprised to find that I understood her decision a bit more.

That’s what is so great about this book – the constant jumping from past to present means that you get the full story, but it’s not a predictable storyline. For example, when it comes to the love triangle that Grace and Elsie find themselves in, at points I thought I guessed what would happen, but Hannah throws in a few unexpected twists (I won’t tell you which ones but if you read the book, you’ll definitely see what I mean!).

This is a great novel about women and how mothers, daughters, sisters and friends interact. There isn’t a ‘nice woman vs horrible woman’ plot – all the women are flawed but it’s the way they try and overcome these flaws so that they can help each other that makes this such a brilliant book.

A great read if you’re currently trying to make some big decisions in your life… Also, if you were a fan of the TV show That’s So Raven, this is kind of like its more serious, novel-formatted sister.


18
Feb 14

The Vintage Girl by Hester Browne

Book: The Vintage Girl
Author: Hester Browne
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Available: Out now
If you enjoy this you might like: The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella

Summary: Evie Nicholson is obsessed with all things vintage, so when her sister volunteers her to visit Kettlesheer Castle in Scotland to archive family heirlooms, she thinks she’s hit the jackpot. However, in each heirloom lies a story, and as Evie uncovers long-buried family secrets, she becomes increasingly determined to find the truth. Add the handsome, gloomy heir Robert McAndrew and a traditional candlelit ball in the mix, and Evie’s heart is sent reeling. 

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It usually takes a lot for a book to make me laugh, but Hester Browne’s The Vintage Girl is very funny – it has all the elements of a great romantic comedy.

The main character, Evie Nicholson, is very easy to identify with, especially for those of us who have a slight tendency to hoard. As she gets carried away with fantasies of living in the past, it’s almost impossible not to be swept along with her, as Hester Browne gives us the fairytale-esque setting of a Scottish estate, complete with a candlelit ball. The book definitely caters to vintage-lovers, with descriptions of huge rooms filled with antiques, vintage clothes, and even some undiscovered gems…

Evie’s love interests, the dashing Fraser and gloomy Robert, provide a great love triangle: Fraser is essentially a Prince Charming, but I found Robert to be more interesting as his character was a bit more flawed, for example his complete indifference to the family’s heritage.

There are some really funny characters, particularly the estate owner Duncan, who tries to create his own brewery. Evie’s sister Alice was one of my favourites because she constantly both causes and solves problems for her sister, including letting Evie cover up when she drops out of an important dance at the ball, giving no explanation.

While the plot line was sometimes a little bit predictable, it doesn’t stop the book from being really fun to read – I would definitely recommend it for a lazy Sunday.

 

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