cover image The Little French Bistro

The Little French Bistro

Nina George. Crown, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-0-451-49558-7

George, author of The Little Paris Bookshop, returns with a refreshing and well-crafted novel set along the coast of Brittany in northern France, proving that it is never too late to change your life. Marianne Messmann is a 60-year-old German woman whose 40 years of married life have been dictated by her verbally abusive husband, Lothar. While on a trip to Paris, Marianne decides that she really has nothing left to live for and decides to end it all in the Seine. Even as she bemoans her rescue in a Paris hospital room, Lothar constantly criticizes her. She decides to start anew and walks out of the hospital and on to a new life. Marianne makes the journey to the coast of Brittany, where she is charmed by the village of Kerdruc. While there, Marianne works as an assistant to a chef, makes a host of new and unique friendships, and even finds love. Marianne is an easy character to identify with in her quest to find meaning in her life. The idyllic seaside village setting is evocative, and the supporting characters are memorable and believable. (June)