Book Review: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George



A library borrow from the Quick Pick section.

About The Author 
(abridged from her author bio on her site)

Born 1973 in Bielefeld, Germany, Nina George is a prize-winning, bestselling author and freelance journalist who has published 26 books (novels, mysteries and non-fiction) , over 100 short stories and more than 600 columns. In 2011, she established the “JA zum Urheberrecht” (YES on Author’s Rights) initiative, which supports the rights of authors and artists, and in August 2014, initiated the protest in Germany ( in which over 2000 German-speaking authors joined her to protest against Amazon’s ban of books from Hachette/Bonnier.

In 2013, her first bestselling book, ‘Das Lavendelzimmer’ (The Little Paris Bookshop), was translated into 30 languages and sold more than 800,000 copies. Today, Nina George sits on the board of the Three Seas Writers’ and Translators’ Council (TSWTC) and is the official advisor on authors’ rights for German PEN. She also teaches writing and coaches professional authors.

About the Book

Jean Perdu is a Paris bookseller with a difference; his bookshop is not on a street but on a barge on the Seine, and it’s a bookshop with a difference, too. It’s a ‘literary apothecary’, where Jean ‘prescribes’ his customers the books they need to soothe their soul.

Yet Jean can’t cure himself of his heartbreak. It takes the arrival of a new neighbour and a new friend to shake things up, setting him and his bookshop free from their moorings. Jean leaves Paris behind and sets off on a quest to Provence, where he hopes to find answers to questions that have haunted him for years.

What I Liked:

The sense of escape – of leaving behind the trappings of normal everyday life to pursue an answer or a goal – is always one that appeals to me. I loved the dry wit and how a section of the novel is part- travelogue, with entertaining and evocative descriptions of the places and people the travellers encounter, and their life on the boat.

This book also had some subtle things to say about life, books and reading, and that scores highly with me. I grew to love the characters and could happily have stayed with them a little longer. Guilt, regret, happiness, love, loss, freedom, fresh starts and a warning against presuming that you know someone else’s reactions, feelings or motivations – and acting on those presumptions without checking you’re right.

What I Didn’t Like:

It was a little slow at the beginning and rather hard-going; I hadn’t noticed it was a translation, but within the first few pages I strongly suspected that was the case and checked! There are a few odd and quite stilted phrases, particularly in the first few chapters, and these early chapters could have done with a sharper edit to quickly establish the situation and get on with the story. It’s worth sticking with it, though. 🙂

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