My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Book Review: The Little Paris Bookshop

Synopsis (From GoodReads):

Monsieur Perdu calls himself 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 through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.


One of my favorite things in life is travel.  I have lived in Europe and Asia.  One of my most memorable trips was a week I spent with my boyfriend (now my husband) in Paris during Easter break.  It was magical and romantic.  I think that would also be an apt description of The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George. 

I listened to this as an audio book and was entranced by the voice of British actor Steve West as the narrator.  He does most of the characters with an intensity that matches the subjects of love and sensuality.

I became infatuated with the notion of the literary apothecary, a bookstore where the owner prescribes books to heal one's soul.  But the one tormented soul that Monsieur Perdu cannot heal is his own.  He cannot seem to get past an overwhelming affair in which he was the "other man".  When his lover leaves him, he closes himself off to intimacy for nearly 20 years.

Reading about Perdu's process of learning to love after so many years was enjoyable.  As he journeys down the river in his book boat (how romantic is that, right?), Perdu encounters various people who will teach him how to use his senses again to experience life anew.  One of my favorite parts was when Perdu goes to a Tango club.  The sensual descriptions of the people and the dance made my heart race and had me wanting to learn The Dance.

As much as I liked it, this book did present some problems for me.  How could anyone, after loving so deeply, live such a boring life for 20 years?  The character went to extremes to not stimulate any of his senses, lest he feel too much.  I think this was too unrealistic.

I also had a major issue with the character of Perdu's lover, Manon.  Why is no one willing to call her out for being unfaithful to her husband?  I understand the point the author was trying to make, that she shouldn't feel shame for wanting more than one person.  But, if that is the life she wanted, then why did she get married (in the middle of the affair)?  I thought she was being supremely selfish to expect the men in her life to put up with that behavior.  Just because she was honest with both men didn't mean that they weren't hurt by her actions.  I didn't want (or expect) her to be punished, yet no one seemed angry with her.

Despite this flaw, I did enjoy the book.  It is essentially a "road trip" book set on a riverboat.  And as in any good road trip, the journey is as important as the destination.  The colorful characters, scenery, and situations made this a rich voyage.  


Release Date: June 23rd, 2015

Source:  Public Library

Format:  Audio Book

Recommendation:  Grab a baguette, some brie, and a bottle of french wine.  An enjoyable book that would be fun for a book club.

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  1. I've been thinking about escaping into this book, you've encouraged me!

    1. It's a wonderful book. You will enjoy it!


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