Three things attacked me to the book: 1) Paris 2) books and 3) romance.
I had three distinct thoughts about the main character, Monsieur Jean Perdu (translated that means John Lost), literary apothecary: 1) “ah, Monsieur Perdu, you and I share the same love for books!” 2) “please, Monsieur Perdu, surely Manon was not worth two decades of pain… is anyone?” and 3) “alright, Jeanno, you’re moving on to Catherine and learning to live again, good for you!”
There were three phases to my enjoyment of this book: 1) love and understanding followed by 2) impatience and reluctance to finish followed by 3) simple satisfaction that it turned out well enough.
It seems strange, possibly scandalous to some, for me (a woman) to be saying this about a book written by a woman with a man as the lost-love protagonist but… maybe it would have been better with Jean Perdu being Jeanne Perdu, being a woman. Not that women should be typecast into the “he left me, so I’ll spend two decades shutting myself off from entirely every character in the world who is NOT fictional” role but I think the way Jean Perdu is written, it would make more sense. Otherwise it seems like typecasting French, Parisian men into tortured lover roles and that’s been done too.
I like the book, though, and I’ll probably even read it again to catch the rich details I know I missed during my period of impatience and reluctance. Because the details are rich. The books that focus most heavily in Perdu’s apothecary are fictional but there is no doubt that George herself is a lover of all books and as a lover of all books, I absolutely respect that.
(I received a copy of The Little Paris Bookshop from NetGalley & Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest an original review.)