Dwelling on the past can be a painful experience as the main character in The Little Paris Bookshop, should know. Jean Perdu is mourning a broken relationship with a past lover; he is having hard time living in the present. Manon, a woman he loved several years ago, left him to marry someone else. She couldn’t be faithful to her fiancé because she wanted to see Jean. And because of this past relationship, Jean can’t relate to anyone except through books.
Mr. Perdu owns a bookshop on a boat and somehow he’s become an expert at determining the right book for each customer. He can “read” them via body language and by what they say. He knows which books suit each customer. His life is changed though when he meets Catherine, a tearful woman whose own heart has been broken by someone she used to love. Jean recommends select books for her to read so that she can get past the hurt. Catherine does more for him, though, as does another character, Max, who is in hiding from his adoring, fans. He has written a bestselling book and can’t seem to handle the attention.
When Max and Jean take Mr. Perdu’s boat for a long trip, they both unravel truths about themselves. Eventually Jean visits where his ex lover had once lived and meets her widowed husband and daughter. He finds out through a letter written to him that Manon was dying of cancer. He makes peace with his past and as well as his present. He has grown fond of Catherine and they decide to be a part of each other’s lives. To paraphrase a sentence, Mr. Perdu drinks the last of Manon and has healed.
This book explores how one grieves over former loves, dealing with other hardships and coming to terms with both. In order to live in the present, you need to make peace with the past, mourn if you must, and go on living. Well written and recommend for mature readers.
I received this free copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
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