From the synopsis of The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin, I was sold. It sounds a lot like The Holiday (one of my favourite Christmas movies with Kate Winslet and Cameron Dias), but with bookstores, which is so much more interesting! Who wouldn’t want to run off to Paris to run a bookstore for a few months? I’d go right now if the opportunity presented itself. So here I was, trying to escape into an alternate reality, where Rebecca Raisin had the pressure put on her to make my dreams come true.
When bookshop owner Sarah Smith is offered the opportunity for a job exchange with her Parisian friend Sophie, saying yes is a no-brainer—after all, what kind of romantic would turn down six months in Paris? Sarah is sure she’s in for the experience of a lifetime—days spent surrounded by literature in a gorgeous bookshop, and the chance to watch the snow fall on the Eiffel Tower. Plus, now she can meet up with her journalist boyfriend, Ridge, when his job takes him around the globe.
But her expectations cool faster than her café au lait soon after she lands in the City of Light—she’s a fish out of water in Paris. The customers are rude, her new coworkers suspicious and her relationship with Ridge has been reduced to a long-distance game of phone tag, leaving Sarah to wonder if he’ll ever put her first over his busy career. As Christmas approaches, Sarah is determined to get the shop—and her life—back in order…and make her dreams of a Parisian happily-ever-after come true.
I don’t know why this keeps happening to me without me noticing, but this book is a reprint from 2015, though I couldn’t tell from any reference or anything, so that’s a good thing, but just something I thought I would point out.
I am very fortunate in that I have travelled to Paris a few times in my life… and I didn’t care for the city at all. But the way Raisin describes Sarah’s journey makes me think I should give it another try. It is really quite a magical setting for a holiday romance, which is basically what this story is. The cast of characters that work at the bookshop are delightfully strange in their own special way, which made being part of their world intriguing. Every person who worked at the store at their own story, and in many ways I didn’t see any of the endgame coming. From Beatrice being a bitchy and shady, and Oceane being unlucky in love, I was happy the way their storylines turned out.
Even Sophie, who you didn’t get to know much in the story because she was in the US running Sarah’s bookstore got a delightful ending that I didn’t see coming.
And then there’s Sarah. Her long-distance relationship was a mess, and I saw it going about a million different ways… and yet it ended the one way I never thought would happen in a million years. I’m not sure if it’s because I read so many romance novels, but I just don’t see how her relationship with Ridge went the way it did…call me a cynic! But the rest of her journey was beautifully depicted, and I truly felt like I was an outsider, like she was, who slowly learned to fit in as the story went on, which was really cool.
I was reading this on my Kindle, and the story was wrapping up around 70% of the way through, and I was very confused. I then noticed that there was an accompanying story afterward that goes back to show how Sarah and Ridge met and how their relationship started. I will admit that I didn’t read it, because I just didn’t care. Their relationship was definitely not the most exciting part of the book for me.
If you love Paris, or bookstores, or stories where there are little happily-ever-afters everywhere, you will definitely like this book. It was a great way to spend a few days, merci beaucoup!
“This is the city of lost souls, and you, Sarah, are one of them. But that’s the beauty of this place. It’ll sweep you up, strip you bare, until lost becomes another word for found.” —Rebecca Raisin, The Little Bookshop on the Seine
Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for the advanced copy, and to Eli Francis on Unsplash for the featured photo of the books.