‘Learn to love what you do, whatever it is, and you won’t have any problems. You’ll suffer, but then you’ll feel, and when you feel, you’re alive. You need troubles to be alive.’
Marianne has been in a terribly unhappy marriage for over forty years. During a trip to Paris, she decides she has had enough, which leads to a terrifying event on the Seine. Soon after, the discovery of a lovely town in the Brittany region calls to her and she sets out on an unexpected journey. Upon her arrival she is charmed by her surroundings, meets a cast of interesting characters and slowly finds a life that she never knew.
This is a new release from the author of The Little Paris Bookshop, which once again takes us to beautiful regions of France, this time to lovely Brittany. It is a book about finding your happiness and how it is never too late to change your destiny and set off on a new path. The setting and the descriptions of towns and places is quite appealing, but I struggled to connect to the characters, particularly Marianne who comes across as one-dimensional and lacking real depth. There are a few subplots and without compelling characters it does feel like a bit much. In this case, I was just not the right reader for this novel. It is a book that will appeal to many readers, and if you enjoyed The Little Paris Bookshop, this story may work for you as well.
*ARC provided by NetGalley. Publication date: June 13, 2017.
“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only… A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”
Monsieur Perdu is the owner of a floating bookshop in a barge on the Seine. He considers himself a literary apothecary and advises customers what books to read according to their particular need, be it a broken heart or a restless soul. But Monsieur Perdu himself is not a happy man, and is still suffering from losing his one and only love who left him twenty-one years earlier. After a series of events he decides to finally read the letter she had written to him before she disappeared. This leads Perdu to embark on a journey to the south of France in order to heal his own broken heart.
The Little Paris Bookshop is a novel that takes its time, and is filled with some beautiful passages that portray emotions so well, exploring themes of love, loneliness and grief. The novel has three components: Perdu’s life as the literary apothecary, his journey to the south of France and the process of healing, and the love affair between Perdu and his lost love Manon. The literary apothecary portion is a very small part of the book, and the majority of the story focuses on Perdu’s journey to make peace with the past along with flashbacks to his time with Manon. As Perdu states: “There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only.” This book is for those individuals who enjoy a slow paced read, a lot of romance, and the beauty of descriptive language and imagery.
Favourite quote: “Habit is a vain and treacherous goddess. She lets nothing disrupt her rule. She smothers one desire after another: the desire to travel, the desire for a better job or a new love. She stops us from living as we would like, because habit prevents us from asking ourselves whether we continue to enjoy doing what we do.”
*E-copy provided by NetGalley for review.