Book Connections

Paris Booked

To be truthful I’ve never felt the pull to visit Paris. If I visited France I’d want to visit the more country places. However I know many people just love the idea of Paris. Visiting it in books leaves me quite satisfied!

book cover I have just read this one set in the 1940’s in Paris and in 1985 in Montana USA. However mostly set in Paris and at the American Library in Paris. It felt very real and was worth reading.

book cover To celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Grace has planned the surprise of a lifetime for her husband—a romantic getaway to Paris. But she never expected he’d have a surprise of his own: he wants a divorce. Reeling from the shock but refusing to be broken, a devastated Grace makes the bold decision to go to Paris alone. I found this a delicious story of an unusual friendship, mid life marriage crisis, the effect of alcoholism on lives and a dusty bookshop. And of course a summer in Paris. It included lost and found love and new love. Plus Sarah Morgan never fails to delight me.

book coverThe Paris Seamstress is a dual time line book, that ranges in setting from Paris to New York to Australia. One era is the war years – and the effects on France especially. The other era is one recent and modern. And through the years there is the mystery of family and friendships. It tracks the endeavours of one woman – Estelle and her love of designing dresses and other clothing. When she finds herself in New York her journey begins. It probably has the smallest Paris setting but still felt Parisian.

 

book coverI  enjoyed The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. When a book lover sees book or bookstore in a title we’re drawn to it. Sometimes it is worth the read, sometimes not so much. For me The Little Paris Bookshop was a joy from beginning to end. I was hooked by the dedication – do you always read the dedication – I always do!

I followed the journey of Jean Perdu with interest. While able to read the souls and emotions of others, he is so closed up himself. There is a room in his apartment that has been closed for a very long time. Why? A mystery. Jean himself is closed, he doesn’t like touch, he avoids things. This is his journey, how he again opens up to life and to living and loving. I think this has mixed reviews, so not for everyone but I loved the bookish aspects.

book coverI very much liked this book, as I do with most Jenny Colgan books. . It made me chuckle out loud, as well it had me feeling deep sadness for some of the characters. There’s a bittersweetness to it.

As you would expect from the title of the book there is a lot about chocolate, and yes I admit to having to reach for some as I read! However I am sure it would not have come up to the standard of Thierry, his workers, Laurent and Anna. I loved the whole chocolate making business – a work of art, and I am sure a delight to the taste buds.

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Review

The Little Breton Bistro. Nina George

book cover

Published: Hachette NZ
Date: April 2017
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages:292
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Thanks to Hachette NZ
Rating:
4.5 stars                  Add to Goodreads

Marianne Messman longs to escape her loveless marriage to an uncaring husband – an artillery sergeant major named Luther. On a day trip to Paris, Marianne decides to leap off the Point Neuf into the Seine, but she is saved and while recovering in hospital comes across a painting of the tine port town of Kerdruc in Brittany and decides to try her luck on the coast.

My thoughts banner
Have you ever been desperate enough to want to escape life? To throw yourself in the Seine and end it all! No? Well Marianne does, life has passed her by, she is deeply unhappy and sees no other way out.  However when her effort to bring her sad life to a close is thwarted by a stranger she eventually finds herself on the way to Brittany and possibly ready to listen to herself and her own needs and desires.
The more I read on in this story the more I was captivated by Marianne and the people she meets up with. I loved them all and especially Emile and Pascal – one who suffers from Parkinson’s and the other from Dementia but … they are happy and love each other. 
I felt like I was there in Brittany, in the cafe, by the sea amongst the various characters. I loved seeing Marianne uncovering the things she loves and needs, the people she loves and needs. I read this book over Easter and truly if there was ever a book about death and resurrection this was it. Such an important message to us all, to live who we truly are, without worrying about what others think. 
While this may have been about a woman who needed to bring alive the powers within her, the men in the story are not left out, they too need to have the courage to live out their wildest dreams. I did despair that Jean-Remy, a young chef,  would ever get there and claim his love… 
Ultimately an uplifting and life affirming story that I’ll remember for a long while.

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The Little Paris Bookshop. Nina George

book cover

The Little Paris Bookshop
Nina George
Translated: Simon Pare
Published: Abacus
Date: 14th April 2015
Format: ARC Paperback
Pages: 317
Genre: General Fiction
Source: Thanks to Hachette NZ
Add to Goodreads

On a barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop, or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possess a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe his customers’ troubled souls.

The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. For twenty-one years he has nursed a broken heart – and never dared open the letter his love left behind. But the arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour inspires Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.

My thoughts banner
I thoroughly enjoyed The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George.  When a book lover sees book or bookstore in a title we’re drawn to it.  Sometimes it is worth the read, sometimes not so much.  For me The Little Paris Bookshop was a joy from beginning to end. I was hooked by the dedication – do you always read the dedication – I always do!
I followed the journey of Jean Perdu with interest. While able to read the souls and emotions of others, he is so closed up himself.  There is a room in his apartment that has been closed for a very long time.  Why?  A mystery.  Jean himself is closed, he doesn’t like touch, he avoids things. This is his journey, how he again opens up to life and to living and loving.  
He has a great affinity for books, he owns a barge, Lulu, and that is his bookshop.  People come and buy books from him, and he sells them what they might need.  A couple of cats make their home there too.  
He meets Max Jordan, an author who has writer’s block.  He has written one book that has sold very well, now he hides out, afraid to be sort out, because he can’t replicate his first success. He is cynical about all kinds of love.  I love how Max and Jean relate and journey together.
Along the journey there are many quirky and wonderfully human characters to be met and experienced.
This is a book that if I was marooned somewhere I would love to have with me.  I could open it at any page and visualise and smell and feel.  I could ponder on the many bits of wisdom it contains.  I could hold it up to my own life and ponder some more.  There are so many pieces to be reread and savoured.  As I read there were so many places that I marked.
“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?’  Page 10.
George, Nina.  The Little Paris Bookshop  For those who love books, want to live life fully and appreciate friends and family.
Side effects: 
  • Will make you look again at your own life and have you pondering.
  • Falling in love with France
  • Wanting to cook the recipes mentioned
  • You will believe even more deeply in the magic of books
5 stars