Review: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George is one of those books you feel are going to be a hit. For anyone who is a book lover, books about bookshops spark at a minimum your curiosity if not a deep interest. If you add to that a love for Paris and all Parisian things, then I’m telling you there is no reason for me not to have absolutely loved this book. Unfortunately, I didn’t.

The book tells us the story of lovely Monsieur Perdu who owns a floating bookshop on the Seine, Literary Apothecary, and “prescribes” books to people according to their problems.

“You see, I sell books like medicine. There are books that are suitable for a million people, others only for a hundred. There are even medicines — sorry, books — that were written for one person only.”

Monsieur Perdu, himself, is a wounded soul. He had his heart broken some twenty years earlier by the love of his life, Manon, when she left him without a word. It turns out that Manon did leave him a word, actually, a letter that Monsieur Perdu eventually opens and reads it. From then on the book takes a different turn. Together with a writer and another friend they pick up along the way, Perdu decides to take a trip.

This is about the time the book lost me. It was no longer about the bookshop or about Paris. It turned into long descriptions of places (many absolutely marvelous) and Perdu’s journey through grief. I found myself flipping through the pages to get to the end of the book. It’s not that this is a bad book, or poorly written. It just wasn’t what I expected to be.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

3 star

Review: Trust No One by Paul Cleave

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Trust No One is my first novel by acclaimed writer Paul Cleave. It seems everywhere I look around lately there are more and more novels touching on the subject of Alzheimer’s disease. I’m a nurse, therefore, medical/disease themes attract me quite a bit.

The book also has a great premise. This is the story of Jerry, a crime writer who also suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and starts to be accused of murders which we don’t know whether or not he committed. The book is written with alternating chapters, part Jerry’s journal of the past (written in first person) and Jerry’s journal in present day (written in third person! Yep-I know!).

Unfortunately, the novel just did not work for me. It’s a slow start. The narrative is confusing and repetitive, even with the occasional twists and turns.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

2 star

Review: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

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Lauren Groff’s novel Fates and Furies is my book club’s pick for this month. It’s a book about marriage, about misconceptions of marriage and about the ultimate reality that you may never really know a partner regardless of how many years you stay together.

I’d like to start by saying what I liked about this novel. Most of the reviews out there are polarized, with some people absolutely loving it and others heavily disliking it. I feel that I’m somewhere in between. The book is marvelously written. Groff’s exquisite prose really impressed me.

“They had been married for seventeen years; she lived in the deepest room in his heart. And sometimes that meant that wife occurred to him before Mathilde, helpmeet before herself. Abstraction of her before the visceral being. But not now. When she came across the veranda, he saw Mathilde all of a sudden. The dark whip at the center of her. How, so gently, she flicked it and kept him spinning.”

The book is written from two perspectives. Lotto’s (Lancelot) point of view (the fates part of the book), and Mathilde’s side of the story (the furies part of the book). the novel has many symbols and themes throughout the narrative with Mathilde’s account of the story being the most interesting part.

Although there were beautiful parts to this novel, at times it just didn’t feel real. The characters were so unlikeable and unlikely to really exist in real life. Do people go on in life talking that way? I don’t want to give too much of it away, but there were parts in the story that I just couldn’t see how someone could have pulled that off for so many years. I still highly recommend this novel for its beautiful prose, its interesting themes of marriage, lies and betrayal.

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