A novel about love, loss, and the power of books, The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George is a beautifully poetic piece of writing.
Jean Perdu owns a bookstore barge where he relates to his customers in a unique way - by "prescribing" the books they need and even refusing to sell books that he doesn't believe are right for them. Though perhaps a little pretentious, it's also endearing the way he cares for each person that steps in to his floating bookstore. A new resident, Catherine, moves in to his building and discovers an unopened letter in the table Perdu has given her. Catherine (kindly) coerces Perdu into a promise that he will read the letter from his lost love, unopened for more than 20 years.
After reading the letter, Perdu sets off on a journey of healing long overdue in his bookshop barge. He gains travel companions and forms friendships along the way, including writing to Catherine daily.
The novel is beautifully written and has a lovely way of describing coping, loving, and accepting. The first part of the novel was a very quick read getting introduced to the unique methods of the bookkeeper and then the rush of setting off on a trip. It did get a little long towards the end, but I guess healing happens in the day to day as well. It was important that the passing time was also shown as part of Perdu's journey. It was a little hard to get through, but worth the journey.
Love is messy in The Little Paris Bookshop, but it is honest and believable. It's not a fairy tale, but there's no doubt about how important the characters are to one another.
The book is packed with extra features at the end: recipes (food and the emotions associated with it is also an important theme), a literary pharmacy (recommendations for about 25 books and what they can help you with), reader's guide, author interview, and an excerpt for the author's next novel (out in 2017).
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.