And so the 11th book in my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge is…The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. The synopsis, as so kindly offered by Amazon, is as follows;
‘On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers.
The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust – until now. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour in his eccentric apartment building on Rue Montagnard inspires Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.’
As you may well be beginning to realise, I have a love of books set in other countries, particularly, although not limited to, France. This is probably due to the fact that I have sadly not yet travelled as far and wide as I would have hoped (although I have many plans!). The Little Paris Bookshop does not disappoint. Whilst I would have liked to have ‘seen’ a little more of Paris, I cannot fault Nina George’s descriptions of the French countryside as Jean Perdu embarks on a journey that will see him embrace his memories after 21 long painful years as he finally seeks closure. The beautiful friendships he makes along the way only add to the beauty of the scenery, as he shares these new experiences with people that he loves.
As someone with a serious love of books, the backdrop of a floating bookshop only adds to the romanticism of this novel. I could truly imagine myself perusing Jean’s bookshelves and accepting his book prescriptions to soothe my own soul. Nina George’s portrayal of the beautiful, rolling French countryside allows you to fully immerse yourself in the French culture as you imagine yourself drinking fine wine and eating beautiful food alongside Jean Perdu and his friends. Whilst the underlying love story was not something I felt able to fully engage with, for me this book was about the love between friends, a love of books, and the realisation that the ability to set yourself free lies only within yourself.
This is a lovely novel, which I can definitely recommend.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
This weeks word of the week is…
gallivant v. informal go from place to place enjoying yourself.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
I do love to gallivant!!
So I have an extensive to be read list which I thought I might share just a little of with you all. As I read these books, I am reviewing them – these reviews can be found by following the links!
The Vintage Teacup Club, Vanessa Greene
Sleepless in Manhattan, Sarah Morgan
My Sister’s Secret, Tracy Buchanan
Waiting for the Bee Stings, Calvin Wade
The Lies We Told, Diane Chamberlain
The Midwife’s Revolt, Jodi Daynard
The Scandalous Duchess, Anne O’Brien
Montana Cherries, Kim Law
A Letter from America, Geraldine O’Neill
Hunger, Michael Grant
Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
The Tea Planter’s Wife, Dinah Jefferies
Read along with me and let me know what you think!
So, I chose The Midwife’s Revolt by Jodi Daynard as my 10th book in the Goodreads Reading Challenge.
‘On a dark night in 1775, Lizzie Boylston is awakened by the sound of cannons. From a hill south of Boston, she watches as fires burn in Charlestown, in a battle that she soon discovers has claimed her husband’s life.
Alone in a new town, Lizzie grieves privately but takes comfort in her deepening friendship with Abigail Adams. Soon, word spreads of Lizzie’s extraordinary midwifery and healing skills, and she begins to channel her grief into caring for those who need her. But when two traveling patriots are poisoned, Lizzie finds herself with far more complicated matters on her hands—she suspects a political plot intended to harm Abigail and her family. Determined to uncover the truth, Lizzie becomes entangled in a conspiracy that could not only destroy her livelihood—and her chance at finding love again—but also lead to the downfall of a new nation.’ (taken from Amazon)
Whilst I do love a historical novel, I know very little about the American Revolution and so could not even begin to comment on the factual correctness of this novel. However, I loved the story of Lizzie Boylston, as she learns to live in a world without her new husband and find her way as a midwife and healer in a new town full of suspicion and loss. The historical backdrop of the American Revolution just added to the intensity of the novel, and Lizzie’s knowledge of healing and midwifery are fitting of the time period. Naturally this knowledge was met with suspicion as people were wary of such witch-like qualities, particularly in a woman, however as she begins to heal people and deliver healthy babies in difficult situations she finds her place in the small town as it is rocked by conspiracies, loss and war.
I am sure that fans of American history will love this novel, but I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone, even those without the prior historical knowledge. It is not a light read, so don’t read it if that is what you looking for. However, if you are looking for a novel that you can fully immerse yourself in, where you can learn not only about a time period but also about how people felt and acted in such a turbulent time then I definitely recommend this book.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5