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BOOK REVIEW: The Little Paris Bookshop

To all intents and purposes, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love story between a man and a woman, but it’s also an ode to books.
The Little Paris Bookshop

Jean Perdu shut himself off from the world after the love of his life walked out 21 years ago. She left him a letter he has never dared to read and, rather than feel the pain of loss again, Jean Perdu chooses to lead a monastic life – no women, no flavoursome food and no intoxicating scents. He sticks to selling books from his barge on the Seine, soothing the souls of troubled customers by finding exactly the right book they need.

One day, a woman moves into his apartment block. She has been cruelly deserted by her famous husband and the concierge has asked everyone in the building to contribute some furniture to help her. Jean offers his kitchen table, but when Catherine, his new neighbour, brings him an unopened letter she found in its drawer, Jean’s carefully constructed reserve shatters.

For the first time in more than 20 years, Jean decides that he is ready to truly live. He sets sail on his barge, accompanied by two cats and a tortured young writer, Max, and together they journey to Provence.

To all intents and purposes, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love story between a man and a woman, but it’s also an ode to books. Nina George clearly believes in the power of the novel to fix what ails you, and has helpfully included some suggestions in the back of the book, along with recipes for some of the fabulous dishes that appear in the novel. I’m definitely going to try the marinated lamb cutlets and garlic flan, and if ever I’m feeling burnt out or overworked, or I have a friend who’s too scared to love, I will know exactly which book to read or recommend.

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