One of the reasons why I loved reading this novel was that the sheer love of books and reading comes across from so many of the characters. Sarah loves her little bookshop in Ashford, Connecticut and spends many happy hours there curled up reading while waiting for customers. Problem is, the customers seem to be getting fewer. I loved her view on second-hand books – “so much life in them, They’d lived, sometimes in many homes, or maybe just one” and the idea that “books chose us, at a time when we needed them most”. Sarah has a fantastic group of friends in town who are a very close group and very supportive. But she is feeling a bit dissatisfied as her love life with gorgeous reporter boyfriend Ridge isn’t quite working out as she hoped it would – it’s not like her beloved romance novels. He is away for weeks at a time chasing stories and frequently having to cancel plans at the last minute. When her friend Sophie offers to swap places for a few months so that Sarah can go to work in Sophie’s Paris bookshop, she jumps at the chance – after a literary guide to Paris falls off her bookshelves, a sign!
Sarah dreams of living the kind of Parisian life that exists in her books: drinking French wine, walking down the avenues where famous people have walked and enjoying fantastic French food. But when she gets there she discovers it’s not as glamorous as she’d imagined. Sophie’s bookshop is incredibly busy, people can queue for hours at time to be served and are frequently very grumpy! The staff are not all welcoming and seem to come and go as they please. She is exhausted and hardly has a minute to explore Paris and to make matters worse, Ridge’s promised visit seems ever further away. As she settles in though, we get to hear more about Paris and Rebecca Raisin has made a fantastic job of describing the magical side of Paris. Her descriptions of the patisseries had my mouth watering at the thought of the chocolate eclairs, creme brulees and mille feuille slices! And that’s before we get to the oozy cheesy croque-monsieurs, pains au chocolat and croissants – I wanted to go to France immediately to enjoy this lovely food!
There is a little side-story about beautiful love letters which Sarah comes across in the shop. With the help of Luis, an world renowned author whose novels famously never have a happy-ever-after, she is determined to solve the mystery of who wrote these romantic words, who the letters were for and whether the lovers ever got together. She is a little unsettled that the circumstances of the letter-writer seem to mirror rather too closely the circumstances of her long-distance relationship with Ridge. I liked this part of the story, a romantic mystery which added a little something special to the storyline.
At the beginning of the book, Rebecca’s author bio says she “aims to write about characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and, most importantly, believe in true once-in-a-lifetime love.” Well, I’d say she’s done just that with The Little Bookshop on the Seine. Although this novel is a stand-alone, if you have read any of Rebecca’s other books you will be delighted to reacquaint yourself with characters you know from her other books. Towards the end of the book, Christmas is approaching and I had to laugh as Sarah adds her American touch to the Christmas decorations much to the horror of some of the staff. It’s not a Christmas novel as such, but there certainly just enough Christmas to get you into the festive spirit. And best of all, there’s not one, not two but THREE happy endings to warm your heart. Rebecca Raisin has written a lovely, romantic book with lots of great characters and I look forward to reading more about them soon, whether in Ashford or Paris.
I’d like to thank the publishers Carina UK for providing this review copy via Netgalley. The Little Bookshop on the Seine was published on 16th October and you can order a copy here: The Little Bookshop on the Seine
What the book is about:
Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris? Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read! Picturing days wandering around Once Upon a Time, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and people-watching on the Champs-Elysees, Sarah boards the plane. But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream isn’t quite as rosy in reality.
Rebecca Raisin is a bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in various short-story anthologies, and in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance. The only downfall about writing about gorgeous men who have brains as well as brawn is falling in love with them – just as well they’re fictional. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and, most importantly, believe in true, once-in-a-lifetime love.
Follow her on twitter @jaxandwillsmum
he Little Paris Collection:
The Little Bookshop on the Seine
The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower
The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Élysées
Also by Rebecca Raisin
The Gingerbread Café trilogy:
Christmas at the Gingerbread Café
Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café
Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café
The Bookshop on the Corner
Secrets at the Maple Syrup Farm
Buying links for The Little Bookshop in the Seine
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1LfJJzO
Amazon US http://amzn.to/1KR2Wck