Friday, March 6, 2020

Book Review: The Little Bookshop on the Seine

By Sara Steven

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 Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping cafĂ© 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… (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

It was a unique idea, having Sarah swap bookstores with a friend in Paris. From the get-go we’re given some backstory into the type of character Sarah appears to be, when it comes to running her own small, quiet, practically stress-free business. The friend in Paris owns a much larger, more chaotic store, so the reader gets a first-hand look into the type of person Sarah is when the world around her isn’t easy.

Amidst the chaos are currents of romantic undertones by way of Sarah’s love interest, Ridge. (what a name!) It felt as though her relationship with Ridge had been counterbalancing the newfound stressors in Paris, but when it begins to show the cracks and strain that can often come from a long-distance situation, not to mention the distance enabling her to see things more clearly, her world is turned upside down. In the moments where Sarah has to attempt to stand up for herself or exert any sort of dominance in any given situation, I could feel the tension, as though I was standing right next to her. I felt just as much frustration as what is portrayed in the pages, wanting to set things right when it feels like a hard road to get there.

While The Little Bookshop on the Seine could be identified as a sweet tale about the trials and tribulations that come from seeking out your own Parisian Happily-Ever-After, I thought it was much more than that. Sarah is placed into a situation where the stakes are high, and the reader gets to see what she’ll do. Will she become a stronger protagonist, or will she crumble? There are moments where I wasn’t sure. I also wasn’t sure about the eventual outcome between Sarah and Ridge. In relocating to Paris, she undergoes many changes and reevaluates her own priorities, changing the status quo in all areas of her life, Ridge included. A monumental character evolution. The bigger picture, though, is her love for books. Not only in her own shop, but in Paris. Men can come and go, but her true love affair lies within the pages of the literary world, and given my own penchant for books, I couldn’t blame her one bit.

Thanks to Rebecca Raisin for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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