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 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…
I don’t know if anyone else is having the same problem as me in getting back up to speed with the reading and blogging after the Christmas break – I’ll be back to full power soon, I promise! I should manage a daily post next week – I’ve been getting things ready over the weekend. But first, I have one more wonderful pre-Christmas read to tell you about.
I’m a little late to the party with the books of Rebecca Raisin – the Gingerbread Cafe totally passed me by, as did the Bookshop on the Corner – but after meeting the author on Book Connectors I really wanted to try one of her books. And, having done so, I wonder why on earth I haven’t read anything by Rebecca Raisin before – she writes quite beautifully. The Little Bookshop On The Seine was published by Carina in October 2015, and is the first in The Little Paris Collection – the second book, The Little Antique Shop Under The Eiffel Tower, will be published in April. And I’m really looking forward to it – this book was an absolute joy.
This story really has a bit of everything, all beautifully put together. Sarah runs a bookshop in Ashford, Connecticut, and her love of books is quite beautifully described – the author won me over with the descriptions of how Sarah felt her books communicated with her, the life between the pages of her favourite books and of the shop as a place for customers to languish with its comfy reading areas where you can while the hours away. I loved her friendship with the Gingerbread Cafe girls, and felt for her over the difficulties in maintaining her relationship with the gorgeous Ridge.
But then the action moves to Paris – a bookshop exchange with a friend. The book love is all still there, but Shakespeare and Co is a very different proposition from Sarah’s own bookshop – never-ending queues at the counter, staff to manage, other staff proving unmanageable, and a personal workload that stops her reading, let alone enjoy the sights of Paris in the run up to Christmas.
But things settle, Sarah finds her way and makes new friends, and we join her as she discovers Paris. The descriptions are simply wonderful – we see the tourist sights, but also the hidden detail her new friends introduce her to. I loved some of the eating places – yes, there’s cake, and some less palatable savoury treats! – and particularly loved Anouk’s antique shop, where an introduction is needed and you can only buy if she likes the look of you. Every individual character in this story is beautifully drawn – and Paris itself becomes the most vividly drawn character of all. It’s a lovely story too – full of twists and challenges and surprises – and I really enjoyed being with Sarah as she tries to bring everything together and make a success of her new life.
It’s an unashamedly Christmassy story – but I think I’d be happy to read it in any season. And don’t feel you have to have read any of the author’s other books to jump in – I know there were back stories it would have been good to know more about, but making this one my first read was absolutely no problem at all. And yes, I did say “my first read” – I might not backtrack, but I’ll be one of the first in the queue for Rebecca Raisin’s next book. I do hope its title means we’ll be getting to know more about Anouk’s story!
My thanks to publishers Carina and netgalley for my reading e-copy.
Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines. And now she is focusing on writing romance.
Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and believe in true love.
Chat with Rebecca on her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter, or find out more about her books on her website.