The Awakening of Miss Prim: A Novel

The Awakening of Miss Prim: A Novel

by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera


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In this #1 international bestseller, a young woman leaves everything behind to work as a librarian in a remote French village, where she finds her outlook on life and love challenged in every way.

Prudencia Prim is a young woman of intelligence and achievement, with a deep knowledge of literature and several letters after her name. But when she accepts the post of private librarian in the village of San Ireneo de Arnois, she is unprepared for what she encounters there. Her employer, a book-loving intellectual, is dashing yet contrarian, always ready with a critique of her cherished Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott. The neighbors, too, are capable of charm and eccentricity in equal measure, determined as they are to preserve their singular little community from the modern world outside.

Prudencia hoped for friendship in San Ireneo but she didn't suspect that she might find love—nor that the course of her new life would run quite so rocky or would offer challenge and heartache as well as joy, discovery, and fireside debate. Set against a backdrop of steaming cups of tea, freshly baked cakes, and lovely company, The Awakening of Miss Prim is a distinctive and delightfully entertaining tale of literature, philosophy, and the search for happiness.

Editorial Reviews


Written in a style and tradition reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice, The Awakening of Miss Prim tackles what it means to step outside your comfort zone, and how travel and new perspectives can change your entire outlook.… An ideal summer read.

The Readist

I really enjoyed the feel of this novel. There is something in the authorial voice that feels like Gaiman meets Austen. It is a sweet little feel good story.

The Pretty Good Gatsby

Exactly the kind of story I adore…. There’s a wealth of character development and depth. A variety of topics are explored – religion, philosophy, there’s even a debate on the merits of Mr. Darcy…. I loved every minute.

A captivating story…The Awakening of Miss Prim is an intelligent read that’s more than a little out of the box.

Elle (Spain)

An exquisitely delicate, distinctive and inspiring story that will leave your heart undone, open to the beauty of the little things in life.

"Written with intelligence, grace, and style."

Betsy Reads Books

It echoes of Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and Little Women, three of my favorite books. In short, I had fun reading this book, and I think you will too.

author of The Vintage Teacup Club - Vanessa Greene

"A heart-warming and sweet story of small-town life and self-discovery.

Shelf Awareness

As light and sweet as the homemade pastries that feature prominently on its pages, The Awakening of Miss Prim is a charming fable about the beauty of changing one’s mind.

Bibliophile’s Reverie

This book is about…a myriad of things, such as romance, beauty, literature, art, philosophy, and even feminism. But I think that what I love about this book is not so much as the theme, but the fact that it interrogates and questions your beliefs and principles. As readers, we are put into the shoes of Miss Prim as we are slowly being questioned, dismantled, laid bare, and finally awakened to one of the things that we seek in life, and that is beauty.

author of The Foster Husband - Pippa Wright

The Awakening of Miss Prim reminds me of The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

"An ideal book club read."

New York Times bestselling author of The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul - Deborah Rodriguez

The Awakening of Miss Prim is a beautifully written novel. Its characters are brought to life so eloquently, and the blossoming of Miss Prim is so complete: she learns the value in life and love that has been lost in our modern-day hustle. An exquisite book and a joy to read.

My Thoughts...Literally

Something about this book made me inexplicably happy…. It was just delightful.

My Thoughts…Literally

Something about this book made me inexplicably happy…. It was just delightful.

Library Journal

★ 05/15/2014
Prudencia Prim, a self-assured, erudite young woman, leaves academe behind and takes a job as a personal librarian in a remote village in France. Her academic prowess makes her a bit overqualified for this "no experience required" position, but the charming and enigmatic town of San Irenoe de Arnois is hard to resist and her employer, "the man in the wingchair," is equally charming and enigmatic, albeit curmudgeonly. Could Mr. Darcy really exist? Miss Prim is intrigued but irritated by his questioning of her reading taste. The townspeople have a curious approach to modern life: at once very old world and startlingly progressive. Schooling is haphazard, but the children who sit at the feet of Miss Prim's employer are intelligent, multilingual, and possess admirable grasps of the classics and philosophy. How can one town be so preciously idyllic? As she proceeds with the work of organizing her employer's books, the women of the village begin to gently nudge Miss Prim from her rigid view of life into one that might even include love. VERDICT Readers who loved Joanne Harris's Chocolat or, more recently, Jessica Brockmole's Letters from Skye or Gabrielle Zevin's The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry will be charmed by the blossoming of Miss Prim. Already a best seller in Europe, this charming and intelligent debut novel is certain to be a hit with book groups. Highly recommended.—Susan Clifford Braun, Bainbridge Island, WA

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476734248
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 07/08/2014
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 190,198
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.80(d)

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