The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George is on sale next Tuesday, June 23rd! Don't forget!
**I received a free copy of this novel courtesy of NetGalley**
Small bookshops with passionate owners are often the lifeblood of many avid readers. Sure, the book selection may not be quite as large and the prices may not be as cheap as other stores, but it's the atmosphere and experience itself that makes it so worthwhile.
The Little Paris Bookshop (apparently I'm into books about books this week) centers around Jean Perdu, owner of the Literary Apothecary, a book barge that caters to people much as a pharmacy would: Perdu determines what ails them, and then he finds a book to treat them. Perdu is a brokenhearted man who has lived out most of his life pining for his past love. One day, however, he abruptly unties his barge and begins sailing down the river on an unknown adventure, and thus begins our story.
With The Little Paris Bookshop, George has crafted a word entirely her own, full of wisdom and experiences that are created from her elegant and lyrical prose. It is adventurous and full of life. However, It is not a purely happy and carefree book, but one that confronts many forms of love and loss. George tackles these subjects in both calm and harsh ways, and with writing the begs to be remembered and pondered. I highlight so many phrases and ideas throughout this novel; there were simply too many things that I could personally relate to or completely understand. George's writing style is most accurately and simply described as lovely. She writes with passion and hope.
The beginning of the novel was wonderful and had me hooked. However, I began to lose interest as the novel progressed and Perdu took to the waters. He ended up with a few male friends to accompany him on his journey, which seemed to somehow drag the novel a bit off course. There was a constant underlying theme of trying to find love and work through loss, yes, but the whole 'book' aspect seemed to somewhat disappear. This wouldn't be such a problem if it wasn't highlighted as one of the main focal points of the novel.
Perdu himself is an interesting, rather quirky man. As mentioned above, he has been pining for a long lost love for years, and finally decides to overcome this. I understand that this was his 'one true love,' but it did become somewhat annoying to hear him harping on about her all the time. I wanted to shake him and make him see that there is so much more to life than this doom that he has kept inside himself for decades of his life. Perdu is accompanied by a rather eccentric cast of characters, some of which maintain small roles as tenants in his apartment building, while others become close friends and companions along his journey. Each characters brings a very unique personality and perspective that makes for an overall enjoyable and odd round of characters.
Despite the wonders and beauty of this book, I can't say that I enjoyed it as much as I thought I would. It's a wonderful little story, but it didn't quite grab me. I got lost or bored by unnecessary or random encounters and rambling tangents of Perdu. For some, this could be the reason they love the story, but I personally did not. It made the book hard for me to get through at times. Overall, I have to give The Little Paris Bookshop three stars. It was a fun book with a good plot, but it simply fell flat at many times when it could have been much more.
This title is available next Tuesday, June 23rd!