And so the 11th book in my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge is…The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. The synopsis, as so kindly offered by Amazon, is as follows;
‘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. His memories and his love have been gathering dust – until now. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour in his eccentric apartment building on Rue Montagnard inspires Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.’
As you may well be beginning to realise, I have a love of books set in other countries, particularly, although not limited to, France. This is probably due to the fact that I have sadly not yet travelled as far and wide as I would have hoped (although I have many plans!). The Little Paris Bookshop does not disappoint. Whilst I would have liked to have ‘seen’ a little more of Paris, I cannot fault Nina George’s descriptions of the French countryside as Jean Perdu embarks on a journey that will see him embrace his memories after 21 long painful years as he finally seeks closure. The beautiful friendships he makes along the way only add to the beauty of the scenery, as he shares these new experiences with people that he loves.
As someone with a serious love of books, the backdrop of a floating bookshop only adds to the romanticism of this novel. I could truly imagine myself perusing Jean’s bookshelves and accepting his book prescriptions to soothe my own soul. Nina George’s portrayal of the beautiful, rolling French countryside allows you to fully immerse yourself in the French culture as you imagine yourself drinking fine wine and eating beautiful food alongside Jean Perdu and his friends. Whilst the underlying love story was not something I felt able to fully engage with, for me this book was about the love between friends, a love of books, and the realisation that the ability to set yourself free lies only within yourself.
This is a lovely novel, which I can definitely recommend.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5