Quite coincidentally, it was while I was holidaying in Hololulu, and half way through Sarah Hernshaw’s memoir of life on a book barge, that I came across Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop when browsing for books in Barnes & Noble. Despite the fact that my current read was about life on a floating bookshop, I was taken in by its blurb and swiftly added it to my holiday reading pile.
Charming from the first page, The Little Paris Bookshop tells the tale of Jean Perdu, who runs a bookshop on a beautifully restored barge on the Seine. A self-proclaimed ‘literary apothecary’ Perdu prescribes books for the hardships of life, hand-picking novels to mend his customer’s broken hearts and souls. But the one person he doesn’t have a prescription for is himself, and he remains haunted by a twenty-year-old heartbreak in which his great love left him, leaving nothing but a letter.
We follow Perdu’s voyage to the south of France and witness his journey as he tries to make peace with his lost love and past mistakes. As someone who’s had a long-held love affair with France, the setting to the book is both full of magic and wonderfully quaint, and offers a perfect backdrop to this literary tale. Rich with charm and plentiful in its prose, The Little Paris Bookshop is a homage to the art of reading; the unending joy of books, and the powerful effect that stories can have on us all.
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