Happy 2017 fellow book lovers and writers! It’s time for my first Book of the Month of the new year! Drum roll please!!
(insert drum roll here)
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George!!
If you want to check out many other books from Nina George, here’s her website!
I came across The Little Paris Bookshop in one of the independent bookstores I usually browsed when I was in college. Immediately, the postcard image and the title itself caught my eye. I couldn’t find the book anywhere and, at the time, it was recently published and I didn’t want to spend money on more books. (Many of us know this struggle.)
I eventually bought it and finally finished it late last night. This book was more than heartbreaking.
It was beautiful.
The Little Paris Bookshop takes place in modern day France and centers on literary apothecary, Jean Perdu, who sells books, classics to recently published and even some rare finds on his barge Lulu. From stories about love, escaping reality for a while, learning a new skill to coping with the struggles in life, Monsieur Perdu’s customers are given the right book at just the right time in their lives.
But Monsieur Perdu has struggles of his own in the form of a lover, Manon, that he has not seen nor heard from in over two decades. Except for a letter he has never opened. Upon opening the letter, Perdu takes off from his perch on the Seine to solve the mystery of his lover and embarks on new adventures with his two cats and an overnight celebrity of an author who wears big earmuffs named Max Jordan. As the small group travels to various villages and towns in the South of France, they meet interesting characters, give books to others and gain new perspectives on life, dreams, regrets and the influences shaped by books and family.
I felt the book could have ended a little sooner and there were some things I would have liked to have taken out. I actually stopped reading for a while because of the pace. Until I picked it up again and it started to get very interesting. When I finished it last night, I was reminded of why I love books so much, because this was truly a tribute to the books and authors that shape, and change, the lives of their readers. Jean Perdu’s development throughout the book itself was also very gut-wrenching. I also grew to like Max Jordan and saw a bit of myself in him regarding his writing dreams and wanting to go down a different path as an author. I felt, too, some characters like Catherine should have been developed more and I just hated Manon even after the truth came out about her relationship with Jean. The occupants of 27 Rue Montagnard were also a hoot and provided some well-balanced comic relief.
I need to give a shout out to the lush descriptions throughout the book because that’s what made it such a fun read: I felt like I was transported to all these beautiful hidden gems in France and could feel and smell everything there. Maybe one day I’ll go to Sanary-sur-Mer and check it out for myself!
Either way my book-loving friends, if you come across a story that’s a love letter to readers and the impact of books in your life, don’t hesitate to give it a read.
Because despite its flaws, The Little Paris Bookshop is definitely one of those books.