Thanks to viewing a Lifetime Christmas movie (Christmas Around the Corner, where the MC rents an apartment & manages the bookshop below for the Christmas holiday), I’d been looking for a story that was somewhat similar. The premise of The Little Bookshop on the Seine sounded like just the ticket.
Sarah Smith is a small town bookshop owner whose shop is struggling & whose freelance journalist boyfriend is more often abroad than at home. When her friend, who owns a bookshop in Paris, offers an exchange of locales for a time, Sarah impulsively says yes.
Sounds good, yes? Oh, would that it were.
Published: 16 October 2015
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre(s): Women’s Fiction/Romance
It’s The Holiday on the Champs-Élysées in a great big love letter to Paris, charming old bookstores and happily-ever-afters!
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 didn’t get very far because first and foremost the writing style was not to my taste. There was no hook in the story, nothing to capture my interest. It was quite dull.
It was also hard to figure out how old Sarah, the main character, was. The way she was talking about other people, the way she mentioned her boyfriend being named before a famous one from an 80’s soap, made her sound older than I think she was intended to be which made it confusing when in the second chapter she started acting…younger? I wasn’t sure what the author meant the reader to think.
The interactions between Sarah and Ridge, the boyfriend, felt really awkward. I thought it was a setup to his being a creep or something, but apparently this (The Little Bookshop on the Seine) is not the first book they’ve appeared in together? There’s nothing in the book (title page, etc.) to suggest that, so I had no idea, so the creep idea is less likely, but who knows? Whether they have a long standing relationship or not, I still found their phone conversation (Ridge is a freelance journalist who is often abroad) awkward and uncomfortable to read. It wasn’t one I felt I could stomach reading, assuming Ridge did pop up later on in the book.
Shortly after this conversation, Sarah was contacted by her French friend, Sophie, owner of the Parisian bookshop, and I was done after that.
There’s no build up, no gripping story angle. It’s right into the exchange and that’s so dull. It all happened too fast. The author didn’t give the reader a chance to get to know Sarah or Sophie, never mind any of the secondary characters. Why should we care about either of their troubles? It’s sad that Sarah might have to close the shop, sure, but in a very abstract sort of way.
A bookish The Holiday sounded like a nice seasonal read, but, unfortunately didn’t make the mark.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.
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