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Six Reasons why you should read The Little Paris Bookshop

Posted on 10th January 2016 by Sally Campbell
Our second Waterstones Book Club title of the year, The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, is already an international bestseller. It tells the story of a heart-broken bookseller who makes a journey in his bookshop-barge all the way from Paris to Provence.

Vive La France

The Little Paris Bookshop is like a perfect soufflé of Frenchness – light, sweet, romantic and full of character. If you have a love of all things French, such as creativity, passion, spontaneity, the sparks of new love, the pain of lost loves, a cast of true individuals, cats… then this is the book for you. Sweet and moving by turns, it will cast its Parisian spell over you.

Care to visit a Literary Apothecary?

The protagonist in The Little Paris Bookshop, Jean Perdu, runs a ‘literary apothecary’, where books are prescribed for their medicinal properties. No matter the ailment, Perdu can find a novel to ease the pain of his customers and provide them some much-needed perspective. Who doesn’t want to read about a benevolent bookseller with a book-cure for every malady?

Ever wanted to take your favourite bookshop with you?

Jean’s book shop is also a barge, floating on the river Seine, and when he gets struck by wanderlust (it is, in fact, much more of a quest – more on this later) he simply unmoors the bookshop/boat and begins his journey. People come and go on Jean’s boat, and like so many charming road-, or in this case, river-trip stories, it is the many peculiar and fascinating characters he meets on the way that provide him with cause for amusement and then enlightenment.

Love is not just a another four letter word

What do you do when you are broken hearted? You read this book, that’s what. Part cautionary tale, part guidebook for all the jilted lovers out there, this book is the perfect gift for someone for whom love has become just another four letter word. Dumped, abandoned, jaded – this book will lift your spirits and put your faith back in the unpredictable flash of romance that could be waiting around the next corner…

Take a boat-trip to Provence

In this particular book, the quest is one of the heart. Jean was left by a woman over 20 years ago and has never recovered from the loss. Just as he thinks he may be beginning to feel love again, he finds again a time-worn, un-opened letter, given to him all those years ago by his lost love, saying she was in fact leaving him because she had terminal cancer. In the letter, she had asked him to meet her for one last time, in Provence, before she died. Tragically, he is twenty years too late. Compelled by the shock of this revelation, he sets off on his bookshop barge (and literary apothecary – see previous point), with a young male friend, to travel to Provence and make peace with his past. And yes, a bromance does ensue.

Move over Wes Anderson

The cast of characters in this book are very Wes Anderson-esque (or for those of you who have seen Delicatessen and Amelie, very Jean-Pierre Jeunet-esque) in their loveable quirkiness. All the residents of Jean’s apartment building, and in fact all the supporting characters in the book, could easily have walked straight off the set of The Royal Tennenbaums. You will fall for their charms and delight in their oddball personalities. In the end, this is a life-affirming, joyful, and achingly sweet book.


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Such good and gentle read. Healing for the soul through books "en France". View more

19th January 2016
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