The Little Paris Bookshop

The Little Paris Bookshop

3.6 40
by Nina George
     
 

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Monsieur Perdu can prescribe the perfect book for a broken heart. But can he fix his own?
 
Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls.

Overview

Monsieur Perdu can prescribe the perfect book for a broken heart. But can he fix his own?
 
Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people's lives.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
New York Times Bestseller
A Barnes and Noble Best of 2015 Selection 
A LibraryReads Favorite of the Favorites Selection

"If you're looking to be charmed right out of your own life for a few hours, sit down with this wise and winsome novel...Everything happens just as you want it to... from poignant moments to crystalline insights in exactly the right measure."—Oprah.com

“The settings are ideal for a summer-romance read…Who can resist floating on a barge through France surrounded by books, wine, love, and great conversation?”Christian Science Monitor

“[A] bona fide international hit.”—New York Times Book Review

"Warmhearted...A charming novel that believes in the healing properties of fiction, romance, and a summer in the south of France."—Kirkus

"Engaging... [George's] sumptuous descriptions of both food and literature will leave readers unsure whether to run to the nearest library or the nearest bistro."—Publishers Weekly

"Uplifting... An international best seller, this one will make you happy."—The Independent

"The Little Paris Bookshop is an enchantment. Set in a floating barge along the Seine, this love letter to books - and to the complicated, sometimes broken people who are healed by them - is the next best thing to booking a trip to France."—Sarah Pekkanen, author of Catching Air

“Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, Nina George’s impressionistic prose takes the reader on a journey not just through the glories of France and the wonders of books, but through the encyclopedic panoply of human emotions. The Little Paris Bookshop is a book whose palette, textures, and aromas will draw you in and cradle you in the redemptive power of love.”—Charlie Lovett, author of The Bookman’s Tale

"Nina George tells us clever things about love, about reading that 'puts a bounce in your step,' about tango in Provence, and about truly good food. . . . One of those books that gets you thinking about whom you need to give it to as a gift even while you're still reading it, because it makes you happy and should be part of any well-stocked apothecary."Hamburger Morgenpost (Germany)
 
“Enchanting and moving ... Rarely have I read such a beautiful book!”Tina magazine (Germany)
 

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553418798
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
03/22/2016
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
2,789
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

1

How on earth could I have let them talk me into it?

The two generals of number 27 Rue Montagnard—Madame Bernard, the owner, and Madame Rosalette, the concierge—had caught Monsieur in a pincer movement between their ground-floor flats.

“That Le P. has treated his wife shamelessly.”

“Scandalously. Like a moth treats a wedding veil.”

“You can hardly blame some people when you look at their wives. Fridges in Chanel. But men? Monsters, all of them.”

“Ladies, I don’t quite know what . . .”

“Not you of course, Monsieur Perdu. You are cashmere compared with the normal yarn from which men are spun.”

“Anyway, we’re getting a new tenant. On the fourth floor. Yours, Monsieur.”

“But Madame has nothing left. Absolutely nothing, only shattered illusions. She needs just about everything.”

“And that’s where you come in, Monsieur. Give whatever you can. All donations welcome.”

“Of course. Maybe a good book . . .”

“Actually, we were thinking of something more practical. A table, perhaps. You know, Madame has—”

“Nothing. I got that.”

The bookseller could not imagine what might be more practical than a book, but he promised to give the new tenant a table. He still had one.

Monsieur Perdu pushed his tie between the top buttons of his white, vigorously ironed shirt and carefully rolled up his sleeves. Inward, one fold at a time, up to the elbow. He stared at the bookcase in the corridor. Behind the shelves lay a room he hadn’t entered for almost twenty-one years.

Twenty-one years and summers and New Year’s mornings.

But in that room was the table.

He exhaled, groped indiscriminately for a book and pulled Orwell’s 1984 out of the bookcase. It didn’t fall apart. Nor did it bite his hand like an affronted cat.

He took out the next novel, then two more. Now he reached into the shelf with both hands, grabbed whole parcels of books out of it and piled them up beside him.

The stacks grew into trees. Towers. Magic mountains. He looked at the last book in his hand. When the Clock Struck Thirteen. A tale of time travel.

If he’d believed in omens, this would have been a sign.

He banged the bottom of the shelves with his fists to loosen them from their fastenings. Then he stepped back.

There. Layer by layer, it appeared. Behind the wall of words. The door to the room where . . .

I could simply buy a table.

Monsieur Perdu ran his hand over his mouth. Yes. Dust down the books, put them away again, forget about the door. Buy a table and carry on as he had for the last two decades. In twenty years’ time he’d be seventy, and from there he’d make it through the rest. Maybe he’d die prematurely.

Coward.

He tightened his trembling fist on the door handle.

Slowly the tall man opened the door. He pushed it softly inward, screwed up his eyes and . . .

Nothing but moonlight and dry air. He breathed it in through his nose, analyzing it, but found nothing.

——’s smell has gone.

Over the course of twenty-one summers, Monsieur Perdu had become as adept at avoiding thinking of —— as he was at stepping around open manholes.

He mainly thought of her as ——. As a pause amid the hum of his thoughts, as a blank in the pictures of the past, as a dark spot amid his feelings. He was capable of conjuring all kinds of gaps.

Monsieur Perdu looked around. How quiet the room seemed. And pale despite the lavender-blue wallpaper. The passing of the years behind the closed door had squeezed the color from the walls.

The light from the corridor met little that could cast a shadow. A bistro chair. The kitchen table. A vase with the lavender stolen two decades earlier from the Valensole plateau. And a fifty-year-old man who now sat down on the chair and wrapped his arms around himself.

There had once been curtains, and over there, pictures, flowers and books, a cat called Castor that slept on the sofa. There were candlesticks and whispering, full wineglasses and music. Dancing shadows on the wall, one of them tall, the other strikingly beautiful. There had been love in this room.

Now there’s only me.

He clenched his fists and pressed them against his burning eyes.

Monsieur Perdu swallowed and swallowed again to fight back the tears. His throat was too tight to breathe and his back seemed to glow with heat and pain.

When he could once more swallow without it hurting, Monsieur Perdu stood up and opened the casement window. Aromas came swirling in from the back courtyard.

The herbs from the Goldenbergs’ little garden. Rosemary and thyme mixed with the massage oils used by Che, the blind chiropodist and “foot whisperer.” Added to that, the smell of pancakes intermingled with Kofi’s spicy and meaty African barbecued dishes. Over it all drifted the perfume of Paris in June, the fragrance of lime blossom and expectation.

But Monsieur Perdu wouldn’t let these scents affect him. He resisted their charms. He’d become extremely good at ignoring anything that might in any way arouse feelings of yearning. Aromas. Melodies. The beauty of things.

He fetched soap and water from the storeroom next to the bare kitchen and began to clean the wooden table.

He fought off the blurry picture of himself sitting at this table, not alone but with ——.

He washed and scrubbed and ignored the piercing question of what he was meant to do now that he had opened the door to the room in which all his love, his dreams and his past had been buried.

Memories are like wolves. You can’t lock them away and hope they leave you alone.

Monsieur Perdu carried the narrow table to the door and heaved it through the bookcase, past the magic mountains of paper onto the landing and over to the apartment across the hall.

As he was about to knock, a sad sound reached his ears.

Stifled sobbing, as if through a cushion.

Someone was crying behind the green door.

A woman. And she was crying as though she wanted nobody, absolutely nobody, to hear.

2

“She was married to You-Know-Who, Monsieur Le P.”

He didn’t know. Perdu didn’t read the Paris gossip pages.

Madame Catherine Le P.-You-Know-Who had come home late one Thursday evening from her husband’s art agency, where she took care of his PR. Her key no longer fit into the lock, and there was a suitcase on the stairs with divorce papers on top of it. Her husband had moved to an unknown address and taken the old furniture and a new woman with him.

Catherine, soon-to-be-ex-wife-of-Le-Dirty-Swine, possessed nothing but the clothes she had brought into their marriage—and the realization that it had been naïve of her to think that their erstwhile love would guarantee decent treatment after their separation, and to assume that she knew her husband so well that he could no longer surprise her.

“A common mistake,” Madame Bernard, the lady of the house, had pontificated in between puffing out smoke signals from her pipe. “You only really get to know your husband when he walks out on you.”

Monsieur Perdu had not yet seen the woman who’d been so coldheartedly ejected from her own life.

Now he listened to the lonely sobs she was desperately trying to muffle, perhaps with her hands or a tea towel. Should he announce his presence and embarrass her? He decided to fetch the vase and the chair first.

He tiptoed back and forth between his flat and hers. He knew how treacherous this proud old house could be, which floorboards squeaked, which walls were more recent and thinner additions and which concealed ducts that acted like megaphones.

When he pored over his eighteen-thousand-piece map of the world jigsaw in the otherwise empty living room, the sounds of the other residents’ lives were transmitted to him through the fabric of the house.

The Goldenbergs’ arguments (Him: “Can’t you just for once . . . ? Why are you . . . ? Haven’t I . . . ?” Her: “You always have to . . . You never do . . . I want you to . . .”) He’d known the two of them as newlyweds. They’d laughed together a lot back then. Then came the children, and the parents drifted apart like continents.

He heard Clara Violette’s electric wheelchair rolling over carpet edges, wooden floors and doorsills. He remembered the young pianist back when she was able to dance.

He heard Che and young Kofi cooking. Che was stirring the pots. The man had been blind since birth, but he said that he could see the world through the fragrant trails and traces that people’s feelings and thoughts had left behind. Che could sense whether a room had been loved or lived or argued in.

Perdu also listened every Sunday to how Madame Bomme and the widows’ club giggled like girls at the dirty books he slipped them behind their stuffy relatives’ backs.

The snatches of life that could be overheard in the house at number 27 Rue Montagnard were like a sea lapping the shores of Perdu’s silent isle.

He had been listening for more than twenty years. He knew his neighbors so well that he was sometimes amazed by how little they knew about him (not that he minded). They had no idea that he owned next to no furniture apart from a bed, a chair and a clothes rail—no knickknacks, no music, no pictures or photo albums or three-piece suite or crockery (other than for himself)—or that he had chosen such simplicity of his own free will. The two rooms he still occupied were so empty that they echoed when he coughed. The only thing in the living room was the giant jigsaw puzzle on the floor. His bedroom was furnished with a bed, the ironing board, a reading light and a garment rail on wheels containing three identical sets of clothing: gray trousers, white shirt, brown V-neck sweater. In the kitchen were a stove-top coffee pot, a tin of coffee and a shelf stacked with food. Arranged in alphabetical order. Maybe it was just as well that no one saw this.

And yet he harbored a strange affection for 27 Rue Montagnard’s residents. He felt inexplicably better when he knew that they were well—and in his unassuming way he tried to make a contribution. Books were a means of helping. Otherwise he stayed in the background, a small figure in a painting, while life was played out in the foreground.

However, the new tenant on the third floor, Maximilian Jordan, wouldn’t leave Monsieur Perdu in peace. Jordan wore specially made earplugs with earmuffs over them, plus a woolly hat on cold days. Ever since the young author’s debut novel had made him famous amid great fanfare, he’d been on the run from fans who would have given their right arms to move in with him. Meanwhile, Jordan had developed a peculiar interest in Monsieur Perdu.

While Perdu was on the landing arranging the chair beside the kitchen table, and the vase on top, the crying stopped.

In its place he heard the squeak of a floorboard that someone was trying to walk across without making it creak.

He peered through the pane of frosted glass in the green door. Then he knocked twice, very gently.

A face moved closer. A blurred, bright oval.

“Yes?” the oval whispered.

“I’ve got a chair and a table for you.”

The oval said nothing.

I have to speak softly to her. She’s cried so much she’s probably all dried out and she’ll crumble if I’m too loud.

“And a vase. For flowers. Red flowers, for instance. They’d look really pretty on the white table.”

He had his cheek almost pressed up against the glass.

He whispered, “But I can give you a book as well.”

The light in the staircase went out.

“What kind of book?” the oval whispered.

“The consoling kind.”

“I need to cry some more. I’ll drown if I don’t. Can you understand that?”

“Of course. Sometimes you’re swimming in unwept tears and you’ll go under if you store them up inside.” And I’m at the bottom of a sea of tears. “I’ll bring you a book for crying then.”

“When?”

“Tomorrow. Promise me you’ll have something to eat and drink before you carry on crying.”

He didn’t know why he was taking such liberties. It must be something to do with the door between them.

The glass misted up with her breath.

“Yes,” she said. “Yes.”

When the hall light flared on again, the oval shrank back.

Monsieur Perdu laid his hand briefly on the glass where her face had been a second before.

And if she needs anything else, a chest of drawers or a potato peeler, I’ll buy it and claim I had it already.

He went into his empty flat and pushed the bolt across. The door leading into the room behind the bookcase was still open. The longer Monsieur Perdu looked in there, the more it seemed as though the summer of 1992 were rising up out of the floor. The cat jumped down from the sofa on soft, velvet paws and stretched. The sunlight caressed a bare back, the back turned and became ——. She smiled at Monsieur Perdu, rose from her reading position and walked toward him naked, with a book in her hand.

“Are you finally ready? asked ——.

Monsieur Perdu slammed the door.

No.

3

“No,” Monsieur Perdu said again the following morning. “I’d rather not sell you this book.”

Gently he pried Night from the lady’s hand. Of the many novels on his book barge—the vessel moored on the Seine that he had named Literary Apothecary—she had inexplicably chosen the notorious bestseller by Maximilian “Max” Jordan, the earmuff wearer from the third floor in Rue Montagnard.

The customer looked at the bookseller, taken aback.

“Why not?”

“Max Jordan doesn’t suit you.”

“Max Jordan doesn’t suit me?”

“That’s right. He’s not your type.”

“My type. Okay. Excuse me, but maybe I should point out to you that I’ve come to your book barge for a book. Not a husband, mon cher Monsieur.”

“With all due respect, what you read is more important in the long term than the man you marry, ma chère Madame.”

She looked at him through eyes like slits.

“Give me the book, take my money, and we can both pretend it’s a nice day.”

“It is a nice day, and tomorrow is the start of summer, but you’re not going to get this book. Not from me. May I suggest a few others?”

“Right, and flog me some old classic you’re too lazy to throw overboard where it can poison the fish?” She spoke softly to begin with, but her volume kept increasing.

“Books aren’t eggs, you know. Simply because a book has aged a bit doesn’t mean it’s gone bad.” There was now an edge to Monsieur Perdu’s voice too. “What is wrong with old? Age isn’t a disease. We all grow old, even books. But are you, is anyone, worth less, or less important, because they’ve been around for longer?”

“It’s absurd how you’re twisting everything, all because you don’t want me to have that stupid Night book.”

The customer—or rather noncustomer—tossed her purse into her luxury shoulder bag and tugged at the zip, which got stuck. 

Perdu felt something welling up inside him, a wild feeling, anger, tension—only it had nothing to do with this woman. He couldn’t hold his tongue, though. He hurried after her as she strode angrily through the belly of the book barge and called out to her in the half-light between the long bookshelves: “It’s your choice, Madame! You can leave and spit on me. Or you can spare yourself thousands of hours of torture starting right now.”

“Thanks, that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

“Surrender to the treasures of books instead of entering into pointless relationships with men, who neglect you anyway, or going on crazy diets because you’re not thin enough for one man and not stupid enough for the next.”

“It’s absurd how you’re twisting everything, all because you don’t want me to have that stupid Night book.”

The customer—or rather noncustomer—tossed her purse into her luxury shoulder bag and tugged at the zip, which got stuck.

Perdu felt something welling up inside him, a wild feeling, anger, tension—only it had nothing to do with this woman. He couldn’t hold his tongue, though. He hurried after her as she strode angrily through the belly of the book barge and called out to her in the half-light between the long bookshelves: “It’s your choice, Madame! You can leave and spit on me. Or you can spare yourself thousands of hours of torture starting right now.”

“Thanks, that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

“Surrender to the treasures of books instead of entering into pointless relationships with men, who neglect you anyway, or going on crazy diets because you’re not thin enough for one man and not stupid enough for the next.”

She stood stock-still by the large bay window that looked out over the Seine, and glared at Perdu. “How dare you!”

“Books keep stupidity at bay. And vain hopes. And vain men. They undress you with love, strength and knowledge. It’s love from within. Make your choice: book or . . .”

Before he could finish his sentence, a Parisian pleasure boat plowed past with a group of Chinese women standing by the railing under umbrellas. They began clicking away with their cameras when they caught sight of Paris’s famous floating Literary Apothecary. The pleasure boat drove brown-green dunes of water against the bank, and the book barge reeled.

The customer teetered on her smart high heels, but instead of offering her his hand, Perdu handed her The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

She made an instinctive grab for the novel and clung to it.

Perdu held on to the book as he spoke to the stranger in a soothing, tender and calm voice.

“You need your own room. Not too bright, with a kitten to keep you company. And this book, which you will please read slowly, so you can take the occasional break. You’ll do a lot of thinking and probably a bit of crying. For yourself. For the years. But you’ll feel better afterward. You’ll know that now you don’t have to die, even if that’s how it feels because the guy didn’t treat you well. And you will like yourself again and won’t find yourself ugly or naïve.”

Only after delivering these instructions did he let go.

Meet the Author

NINA GEORGE works as a journalist, writer, and storytelling teacher. She is the award winning author of 26 books, and also writes feature articles, short stories, and columns. The Little Paris Bookshop spent over a year on bestseller lists in Germany, and was a bestseller in Italy, Poland, and the Netherlands. George is married to the writer Jens J. Kramer and lives in Berlin and in Brittany, France.

www.nina-george.com
@nina_george • @jean_perdu

From the Hardcover edition.

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The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a journey. I loved traveling along with these charactersvas they found their way back to themselves. Wonderful read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I so enjoyed this book. The characters were charming and enchanting. I wished I could be sailing with them to Provence. I could hear French music in my ear as I read.
CPAC2012 More than 1 year ago
Jean Perdu, owner of the renowned Literary Apothecary on the margins of the Seine, sets sail aboard his cargo book barge searching for the remainder of the life the woman he loved twenty one years ago has left behind. Accompanying him is Max Jordan, France's most famous author under 30, who is suffering with writer's block and under his newfound fame. Soon other characters join the pilgrimage along France's waterways. Paris and books, need I say more? Yes, indeed I do. I thought The Little Paris Bookshop would be reminiscent of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, which I loved; instead, I was somewhat disappointed. The Little Paris Bookshop is an uneven book. I liked the story of Mr. Perdu; how he dealt with his grief, and the trip he embarked on to find himself again. I also liked the language: rich and smooth like velvet, the descriptions of French towns and life in the southern coast, and food recipes. I didn't like, however, Manon's diary entries or the passages involving her, at least until the very end when her story finally came together. I don't think her character, despite being drawn out of memory, was that well defined. The book would have been better off without those passages, again until the end, because it was then that Manon’s journey and choices finally made sense. The ending was nice, positive and all wrapped up with a colorful bow, but I liked it very much particularly because it was a good departure from the grief so talked about during the earlier chapters. DISCLAIMER: I received from the publisher a free Galley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For anyone looking for answers to life's difficult questions, here is your prescription.
Norddesigns More than 1 year ago
I had such high hopes for this book and wish it were really a tale about love and the power of reading to heal. Instead it is a story about a man who never got over his love affair with a women who was married to a man who claimed to love her while accepting her desire for other men. Maybe its a French thing, but I didn't find the story very romantic.
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
This novel starts out as a 5 star read. The prose is absolutely fantastic. I love Perdu and the barge/bookstore. But, after Perdu finds a letter from his lost love, the book went downhill from there. Perdu is the owner of a bookstore on a barge (very unique). He is a sad man, not really living, totally lost. He realizes he has made a terrible mistake and the best way he knows to cope is to take the barge/bookstore on a trip. The story has a fabulous start. I was enraptured with Perdu and his lost love. However, as the story went deeper, it became more convoluted and I completely lost interest. This is a story about grieving, loss and growth throughout life. As I said earlier, the prose is fantastic. I marked many passages. But, it is almost as if the author changed course in the middle. I see a lot of promise in this author. I look forward to reading her as she develops. I received this novel from Netgalley for an honest review.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars This was a great story with some really great characters. Jean is a bookseller who sells books off of a barge that has been anchored on the Seine for over 20 years. One day he decides that he is going to travel and try to relieve himself of the grief he is feeling. He has just found out that the love of his life died 22 years ago. Max, a tenant from his apartment building, has just written a number one best seller and his publisher is looking for another one. He has major writer block. He just happens by as Jean is pushing off, he jumps on, he needs a journey as well. Along the way, they pick up Salvo who is looking for the love of his life, Vivette, and he joins the crew. The adventures that these guy have are pretty crazy and they definitely run into some quirky characters. Each character does find something, but it may or may not be necessarily what they were looking for. While I did thoroughly enjoy this book, I took off a half star, because I felt it bogged down somewhat a little bit before the ending. It had been pretty much on an even pace throughout the whole book until then. I would like to thank Blogging for Books for giving me a copy of this book to read and review in exchange for an honest review. I definitely recommend the book.
PJtheEMT4 More than 1 year ago
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George is a newly published fiction novel about a bookshop owner who not only sells books, but prescribes books which he feels are "the only remedy for countless, undefined afflictions of the soul." (George, 2015 p. 23).  Owned by a quaint middle aged man named "Monsieur Perdu", who calls himself a "literary apothecary", almost analogous to a pharmacist that dispenses medications for illness , a psychologist that diagnoses medical conditions or a doctor that treats a disease. This book is translated from the original German Das Lavenddelzimmer by Knar Verlag, and was considered a  bestseller in Germany.  The idea behind this book- its storyline- is unique and original.  It is intriguing to consider the possibility that books might be like medication to the emotions, or the spirit.  While it is true, many read for pure enjoyment and entertainment, not too many readers stop to think about the emotional connection that the right book may give- and that words do have power.  It is part of the human condition to want to relate to others- and just as music draws in many as it tugs at the emotion- books have that potential as well.  This book is unexpected, and will draw in readers who simply read for the love of reading.  But this book is more than just entertainment- it is a springboard to engage the reader to think about deeper issues and to reflect on the fact that books themselves are more than words, but rather they reflect experiences and emotions that we, the reader may be able to relate to when there is no one around to share.  As the book mentions- that book may in fact provide healing for those seemingly inconsequential feelings and emotions that are often beyond the scope of the medical profession.  Books reflect the idiosyncrasies of emotion and thought as well as universal emotions as well.  It leaves a lasting impression that there may exist the right book that does indeed touch our soul- and that instead of a soul mate or a counselor, our needs can be fulfilled in a book.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Crown publishers for the purpose of writing this review.  
Anonymous 4 months ago
Just don't understand how this book got on the best seller list. I wanted to tell Jean to get over it and move on!
Anonymous 5 months ago
I finally gave up on this book. There were more parts of the story that caused me to lose interest than there were to pique my interest.
Anonymous 11 months ago
A very long overemotional Hallmark card of a book. I cannot recommend it.
GiltBuckram More than 1 year ago
“Do you know that there’s a halfway world between each ending and each new beginning? It’s called the hurting time, Jean Perdu. It’s a bog; it’s where your dreams and worries and forgotten plans gather. Your steps are heavier during that time. Don’t underestimate the transition, Jeanno, between farewell and new departure. Give yourself the time you need. Some thresholds are too wide to be taken in one stride.” -Samy Le Trequesser This is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read in a very long time. Jean Perdu is a middle-aged, book aficionado. He owns the Literary Apothecary, which is a barge that hasn’t moved from the River Seine in over two decades. Inside this magical floating book store, Perdu tells his customers what to read, as sort of a cure for what’s ailing them. Many people go into the store, mind set on what they’re looking for, and leave with a book they didn’t know existed. Perdu’s a book doctor of sorts. Enter Max Jordan, young author who writes of romance, yet has never experienced true love before. He’s a best-selling author, who shies away from his audience…women. Not because he’s not interested, because as every inexperienced young man, he’s afraid of them. Max and Perdu live in the same building and only have a surface relationship. Jean Perdu is a very sad and lonely man. The only woman he’s ever loved left him twenty years ago and he’s never recovered, dodging places where they shared many memories. This story begins with a table. His lovely neighbor, Catherine, has just been abandoned by her good for nothing cheating husband. She needs furniture. What is Perdu to do, but lend a hand? He provides her his old table and thinks he’ll never hear another thing about it. Catherine finds a very old, unopened letter, in the table drawer, addressed to Perdu. When she gives it to him, he’s astonished. He had forgotten he put the letter away all those years ago, thinking his old lover, Manon, had written the typical lover farewells. The letter reopened his never fully-healed wound. He finally decides to read the heartbreaking truth, but what he discovers is much, much worse. Manon delivered a very different message, one of which Perdu can never repair. He flees in search of what he’s not sure, but as fate would have it, the young Max Jordan jumps aboard the Literary Apothecary and decides to leave with Perdu. The spur of the moment trip leads them to another man searching for answers; a burly, Italian chef named Salvatore Cuneo. The three men have adventures and heartaches that eventually lead them to what they're searching for. Nina George, I applaud you for the story you were able to convey with your charming prose. I rarely come along a book I thoroughly enjoy as much as I did The Little Paris Bookshop. I dog-eared twenty pages or more, in total awe of how deep and creative the thoughts and ideas you provided. The story is of love, loss, regret, and the journey to find the meaning of life. Perdu’s story taught me no matter how big my regrets are there is life after them. Perdu made himself suffer for twenty years; it doesn’t have to be that way, be sorry, forgive yourself and move on. Don’t waste your life beating yourself up. After the Epilogue, I found a little treasure that included recipes that Salvatore Cuneo made in the novel and a literary pharmacy! Jean Perdu’s Emergency Literary Pharmacy “Fast-acting medicines for minds and hearts affected by minor or moderate emo
FrancescaFB More than 1 year ago
This was one of the most beautifully written stories... very reminiscent of Under the Tuscan Sun. I loved every page of it! Nina George masterfully blends the realities of hope and joy, heartbreak and tragedy, humanity, sorrow and loss, pride, foolishness, lost love, hopelessness, and new love.
HabNH 15 days ago
I could not find anybody to read this book including myself. I gave it away to a book sale. The early pacing of the narrative and character development left me beyond puzzled and confused. And frankly I didn"t care so I quit reading this novel, something I almost never do.
Anonymous 17 days ago
Lovely read. Kept me on the edge of my seat.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Kaits_Bookshelf 5 months ago
This book was, in a word, different. I found it to be intriguing, romantic, and surprising but I’m having difficulty placing it in a specific category such as a love story or an adventure story. The terms that come to mind when I reflect on this book are soul searching and healing. The book itself is beautifully written, with the language flowing like liquid poetry across the pages. I suspect that I will find myself quoting this book for some time and that the next time I read it, I will discover even more favorite passages that speak to my heart. I highly recommend this book. Read my full review on my website at: kaitsbookshelf.com
Sprinkle23 8 months ago
Monsieur Perdu is good at reading people. Observant and insightful, he's not afraid to tell a customer exactly which book to read, even if it's not what the customer is looking for. His book “prescriptions” bring healing, strength, comfort, tears, or whatever the person needs at that stage of life. It would seem the only person he cannot mend is himself. The love of his life left him twenty years ago and he's never gotten over the deep loss. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George is an international bestseller and I expected to be impressed. I wasn't blown away by the first few chapters, but I noted and liked the character development of Monsieur Perdu. The quirky supporting characters and charming setting promised humor and entertainment. I loved the idea of a novel about using books as a healing resource. Unfortunately, I only read the first few chapters and a chapter or two towards the end. I was uncomfortable with the sexual innuendos/content, but I also didn't care for the profanity and the lifestyle/culture where having more than one lover seems to be completely acceptable. I know such things will seem thoroughly outdated to some, but it's my preference. Had I known the novel would contain such content, I wouldn't have requested it for review. Normally with such a book, I wouldn't even post a review as I feel it's unfair to the novel/author to criticize such things when the author is writing for a mainstream audience of which I am not a member. However, I am required to write a review and so I have given my thoughts on the novel. I give three stars because what I read seemed to be well-written and it's probably an entertaining book, just not for me. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
StephanieTiner 8 months ago
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George WARNING: Though I do not agree, some might say that this review contains spoilers. Read understanding this. Monsieur Perdu loves books. He has loved books all his life and believes they have the power to heal the soul. That is why he is the proud owner of a book barge aptly named The Literary Apothecary. From his bookstore on the river, Perdu sells books to heal customers’ many afflictions. He has the ability to know what kind of book each customer needs. The only person he can’t seem to help is himself. Twenty years ago, Perdu had been very much in love. When she left him, with no explanation, and a sealed letter, Perdu closes himself off to all forms of love. Now, twenty years later, Perdu finally reads her letter. What awaits inside will take him on a journey through his past, as well as, along the road--well, river--to healing. Before I say anything else, I must inform you that I did not finish reading this book. I made it about nearly half way through before deciding to quit. It was not what I thought it was, and what it was, was not my kind of book. When I selected this book, I was under the impression that this book was more about one man’s journey to reconciliation with his past while also praising the healing power of books. At first, I quite enjoyed the book, the ideas and the story being what I had expected. I will even go as far as to say I loved the first couple of chapters. However, as the book progressed, the storyline, for me, seemed to focus more on the sexual than on the journey. The further I read the less there was of the storyline between each “scene.” The writing itself flows easily and is well constructed. Though this book is translated from its original language, I had little difficulty reading or understanding it. I feel as though I have been misled. I knew that this book was the journey of a man trying to find healing over a lost love, and therefore was expecting a sexual scene or two, if any. I was not expecting it to be every few pages. Nothing of the kind was hinted at in the blurb or in anything that I read online. If, in the future, I choose to return to this book and finish reading it, I will adjust my review at that time. As it stands now, I do not plan to finish this book. I have no idea whom I would recommend this book to, I really have no idea. I was sent this book by bloggingforbooks.com for the sole purpose of an honest review.
VillaSyl 8 months ago
"Nina George tells us clever things about love, about reading that 'puts a bounce in your step,' about tango in Provence, and about truly good food. . . . One of those books that gets you thinking about whom you need to give it to as a gift even while you're still reading it, because it makes you happy and should be part of any well-stocked apothecary." —Hamburger Morgenpost (Germany) "A beautiful story of grief, companionship, forgiveness and building a life worth living; A vulnerable, relatable tale of great love and loss, missed opportunities and moving on, The Little Paris Bookshop is, like the books its main characters recommends, medicine for the wounded soul.”—Bookpage From this description of the book really had me interested. The book had a nice premise, a combination of Paris and a bookshop on a barge, which appealed to me. I was very disappointed in this book and felt it was a waste of time to read. The main character suggests just the right book for his customers to cure what ails them. I kept thinking that it would get better, but it never did. The story was about a man, who was having an affair with a married woman (who was not likable) who left and he became devastated which took him 20 years to get over it. None of the characters were interesting enough to care about them. The main character talked too much to himself which made the story tedious and seemed to take forever to get to the point. Again I don’t understand why some people raved about this book. The concept of the floating literary apothecary was appealing and romantic, but the bottom line: Not what I was expecting or really in the mood for. If the story was told in a different voice it might have suited me better. It had a fine literary beginning but then fell flat; much of the middle was dull and rather tiresome to read, a bit sad because I really wanted to like this book about books. I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books for my review
Anonymous 8 months ago
I was very disappointed in this book. The characters are not well drawn, the plot is odd, and the writing seems forced. I had hoped to like this as I know it is popular but I really couldn't find any redeeming qualities. I finished it because of a promise to a friend, but was simply relieved when it was over.
MsArdychan 9 months ago
One of my favorite things in life is travel. I have lived in Europe and Asia. One of my most memorable trips was a week I spent with my boyfriend (now my husband) in Paris during Easter break. It was magical and romantic. I think that would also be an apt description of The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George. I listened to this as an audio book and was entranced by the voice of British actor Steve West as the narrator. He does most of the characters with an intensity that matches the subjects of love and sensuality. I became infatuated with the notion of the literary apothecary, a bookstore where the owner prescribes books to heal one's soul. But the one tormented soul that Monsieur Perdu cannot heal is his own. He cannot seem to get past an overwhelming affair in which he was the "other man". When his lover leaves him, he closes himself off to intimacy for nearly 20 years. Reading about Perdu's process of learning to love after so many years was enjoyable. As he journeys down the river in his book boat (how romantic is that, right?), Perdu encounters various people who will teach him how to use his senses again to experience life anew. One of my favorite parts was when Perdu goes to a Tango club. The sensual descriptions of the people and the dance made my heart race and had me wanting to learn The Dance. As much as I liked it, this book did present some problems for me. How could anyone, after loving so deeply, live such a boring life for 20 years? The character went to extremes to not stimulate any of his senses, lest he feel too much. I think this was too unrealistic. I also had a major issue with the character of Perdu's lover, Manon. Why is no one willing to call her out for being unfaithful to her husband? I understand the point the author was trying to make, that she shouldn't feel shame for wanting more than one person. But, if that is the life she wanted, then why did she get married (in the middle of the affair)? I thought she was being supremely selfish to expect the men in her life to put up with that behavior. Just because she was honest with both men didn't mean that they weren't hurt by her actions. I didn't want (or expect) her to be punished, yet no one seemed angry with her. Despite this flaw, I did enjoy the book. It is essentially a "road trip" book set on a riverboat. And as in any good road trip, the journey is as important as the destination. The colorful characters, scenery, and situations made this a rich voyage.
MWgal 10 months ago
Loved this book from the first! It's fun, charming, and generous of philosophy. And, we have to have the LOVE component. A new favorite book!
Toodles4 10 months ago
THE LITTLE PARIS BOOKSHOP by Nina George Let me begin by saying this isn’t ‘great ‘literature’ nor are some of its premises totally original and unique. However, the rewarding surprises, and there are many, come from some of its more subtle and clever messages. From the title one might expect a plot evolving from a little book store in Paris, but it’s a lot more than that. True, Jean Perdu (lost John) sells books, but his Literary Apothecary shop is on a barge moored on the Seine. He is a man of many talents in spite of, or perhaps because of, his deep depression after losing the woman he believes was the love of his life. Although he ‘prescribes’ books to heal everyone’s psychic ills, he seems unable to get a grip on his own. I could not help thinking of French toast as I read (Pain Perdu), and was sure the author’s choices of names were anything but accidental. I wondered if Jean Perdu would be somehow rejuvenated in the ame way that stale bread becomes a delectable treat. Quite a challenge. I was heartened that the author didn’t try to use fake French accents but used language(s) genuinely where possible. Perdu is surrounded by a wide range of characters in Paris, and manages to confront even more on his river odyssey towards Provence’s lavender-infused atmosphere. Always seeking release and redemption, Perdu leads us through some untypical French scenes involving a Tango exhibition, French cooking, a Riverlogue as his houseboat proceeds, dispensing books along the way and he finally faces the inevitable stages of grief. It’s always a pleasure for me to read books about books, and it’s especially more enjoyable when the author hands them out as a dose of philosophical cure. The story is not without a few contradictions and mind-benders as when the practical side of life appears: after having left home on a whim - passports appear, living without a visible mens of support while fueling the barge - but the reader has to let go of reality a bit in order to enjoy the voyage. Some of the characters seem bizarre in order to entertain, just as some of the scenes are almost farcical as Perdu advances in his search for the mysterious author of the book that saved his sanity. Managing to remain just this side of the maudlin, the author takes the reader along a path of what I found to be inner discovery, with a lot more depth than a superficial read allows . I’m sure not everyone will be able to separate the saccharine from the sense, but I had so much enjoyment (and even fun) reading the lines and between them, that I would rate the book high both technically and for reading pleasure. One small note: I wish it had a more appealing, clever title. These comments are based on a reading of the book provided in exchange for an honest review.
Royal-Reader 10 months ago
Beautifully written. Love this book, didn't want it to end.