‘The Little Paris Bookshop’ is Nina George’s debut novel.
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.
This story is a story that reads as beautifully as the books cover which is presented with a pretty illustration and swirly font. It follows on the life of Jean Perdu who never recovered from his lover Manon leaving him. Heartbroken, he dedicates his life to his barge bookshop called the Literary Apothecary, where people from all over come to look for the perfect book. But Jean isn’t any ordinary bookseller, he doesn’t try to fob people off with the latest bestseller, instead he observes them and their situations before suggesting the perfect book that will help their lives.
But when Catherine, a new neighbour moves into his shared apartment, Jean feels his heart shift and he begins to think of Catherine in a new light but first he must fully get over Manon, the woman who broke his heart many years ago and he finally plucks up the courage to open the letter he received from her over 20 years ago.
And it’s with opening up this letter and discovering its contents, that Jean suddenly packs up his book barge and travels to Provence to finally get closure. With no money or supplies, Jean sells his books along with his travelling companion, Max Jordan. A young bestselling author who is struggling to write his second book and hopes the adventure will inspire him and write the brilliant follow up book that everyone is expecting.
A story spanning over many towns and rivers, this book is a beautifully written tale about friendship, love and self discovery, it makes for heartwarming reading, as the two men bond a strong paternal friendship and are there for one another when realisations are made. Although the story is mainly seen from the perspective of Jean, there are he inclusion of diary entries from Manon and this gives us a wonderful insight into the woman who broke Jean’s heart over 20 years ago.
Filled with intriguing characters, that will make you giggle and smile along the way, ‘The Little Paris Bookshop’ is a tender and quirky story that like the Literary Apothecary, flows at lovely, gentle pace that will have you gripped along the way.
You can pre-order The Little Paris Bookshop from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 23rd April 2015.