The Little Paris Bookshop: Book Review by Arlene
I could not think of a better opening line for my review of The Little Paris Bookshop than a quote by Cicero: “A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
People who love books and bookstores will appreciate the notion that certain books stay with you and you never forget them. The Little Paris Bookshop is on a floating barge called Lulu on the River Seine and beckons all book lovers to come on board.
This novel will take you on a personal adventure of the heart starting with one man and ending with multiple story lines of interesting lives of the characters who become the personal friends who join him throughout this unique little book.
I say unique because the imagination of the author Nina George provides for us an interesting concept and, I say little because this novel is 370 pages set in a smaller than average hardcover.
When you finish the novel you will be given additional pages filled with wonderful recipes from the cuisine of Provence and Marseilles prepared by Salvatore Cuneo who has joined Jean Perdu on his floating barge down the rivers of France.
If you can, picture yourself sitting in a big comfy chair by the fireside with the fire burning and a cup of coffee or tea nearby, and an afghan if needed and this little book in your hands as you begin reading.
You will be introduced to Monsieur Jean Perdu who likes to think of himself as a literary apothecary.
He owns a floating bookstore on a barge on the river Seine. When you come on board he will prescribe for you a book or many books for the hardships of life you may be suffering. He will know the exact book a reader needs.
Monsieur Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. You will discover as you begin to know this man his life is the only life he cannot mend.
His heart was broken by Manon, the love of his life. She just suddenly disappears and she left him after 5 years, with only a letter that he chose to never open.
Manon is his lost love and haunts his life for almost 21 years.
He denies himself the love and company of any other woman for all that time until he gets a request from Madame Bernard, the owner, and Madame Rosalette, the concierge of the house at number 27 Rue Montagnard where he has lived for more than 20 years.
The request was for a table for a new resident of 27 Rue Montagnard; a wife thrown out of her house by her husband and left her with nothing.
Jean lives with practically no furniture in his apartment, but behind a locked door there is a table he can provide for Catherine, the new tenant.
Catherine finds the unopened and unread letter taped to the table addressed to Jean Perdu and returns it to him.
Catherine persuades Jean to finally read the letter.
Catherine and Jean begin a relationship of their own. This relationship is emotionally intimate but not physically intimate.
Jean has denied himself physical contact with any women since Manon left him. Catherine becomes the only woman who might possibly end that denial for Jean and they begin a journey aboard the floating bookshop to find out where and what happened to Manon and her reason for leaving.
Along the way they are joined on board with Max and author himself and a chef Salvatore. None of them have any real money to speak of and the situations they encounter along the way make this novel a fun read.
Without giving it all away, I can tell you Jean discovers all the answers and reasons he has longed for all these years. This is a novel of complex tales that examine the emotions of the heart of love and loss and grief.
I did find it to be a bit unbelievable that a man would deny himself love of any kind for 21 years of his life and at the same time, be available to help anyone who came to his bookshop searching for answers to their life’s problems in the books he “prescribes” for them.
That being said, I found the cast of characters as a whole to be intriguing enough to keep me reading and wanting more!
I would recommend this book to all you book lovers out there! It is a fun and enjoyable novel.
The Little Paris Bookshop ended perfectly for me. And Jean!
You will find as an added treasure to this novel at the end of the book:
Emergency Literary Pharmacy
Fast – Acting Medicines for Mind and Heart affected by Minor or Moderate Emotional Turmoil
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