The Little Paris Bookshop is a must for all those who love books, reading and France. a story that is told in 2 parts from the perspective of Jean and the diary of Manon.
Jean stopped living 20 years ago when his lover, Manon, walked out without explanation, his grief though has made him attuned to the needs of others and in his bookshop on a barge on the Seine he offers readers a book apothecary .Believing strongly in the power of books and stories to offer healing and respite to those with troubles Jean can heal many but not himself. He exists in his small world but even as he has shut himself away from human contact he has been forming relationships. Catherine a new resident in his apartment block sparks his interest as he recognises someone else who is also dealing with grief and opens the door to the part of his life that he has shut away.
This connection sparks a radical response as he casts his barge off and sets off down the Seine with 2 cats, a troubled author,a vague idea to really find out what happened to Manon and a quest to find the mystery author behind his favourite book set Jean on a course to reconnect with the world and start living again.
As they sail through France heading South the book apothecary continues to offer solace to those who need it along the way. Jean starts to learn that grief and anger has stopped him from living, we also see what happened to Manon as we read the diary and discover the secrets she kept and the things that drove her to make the choices she did.
The description of food is important in the novel - and Nina George has included some of the recipes that are mentioned in the novel. Jean Perdu's emergency library apothecary is also included so if you want to know which titles to read to deal with a sense of humour failure, pessimism and many more ailments - take a look!
An engaging read and you really can feel the heat of France in high summer (even in the depths of an English winter!)