Last week, my daughter and I went to a bookstore. She needed to get a copy of “The Scarlet Letter,” and I was looking for a couple of mystery novels to take to my mom. We filled both of those orders, but along the way, I also found a novel for myself.
With the busy schedule I keep, I often don’t have time to read fiction. It’s almost as if it’s a luxury that I can’t afford the minutes for.
And, yet, when I came across “The Little Paris Bookshop” by Nina George, I couldn’t resist it.
The cover caught my eye, with its image of a slightly tattered postcard atop a scene of Paris.
Then, I read the back cover snippet, which reads, in part:
“Monsieur Perdu is 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 is himself: he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter that he has never opened.”
So, of course, I bought a copy. It was a great buy! I just finished “The Little Paris Bookshop,” which was published in Germany under the name “Das Lavendelzimmer” and was translated by Simon Pare, and I loved every word of it.
“The Little Paris Bookshop” is the type of book that draws the reader into the lives of the characters so completely that when you have to put the book down for a few minutes to take care of your real-life obligations, such as feeding your family, you miss the characters and can’t wait to get back to them. Jean Perdu loves books, makes quirky friends, always has a cat or two hanging around … and he writes letters.
Nina George has such a way with words that, no matter where you are or what’s going on around you, you are effortlessly transported to the scenes she describes, seeing what the characters see, feeling what they feel.
Here’s a paragraph:
Young Jean had gazed out into the depths of space, watching in raptures as the heavens continued to turn. He had felt safe, ensconced in the heart of that endless summer night. For those few hours, Jean Perdu had grasped life’s secrets and purposes. He had been at peace with himself, everything in its rightful place. He had known that nothing ever ends, that everything in life flows into everything else and that he could do no wrong.
If you love books or letters or travel or France or love, if you are the least bit sentimental or enjoy a good escape from everyday life every now and then, find a copy of “The Little Paris Bookshop” by Nina George. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.