cover image The Little Paris Bookshop

The Little Paris Bookshop

Nina George. Crown, $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-553-41877-4

A bookseller embarks on a quest for his own happy ending in George’s novel. Jean Perdu’s Literary Apothecary is unique among Paris bookshops, and not just because it’s a barge moored on the Seine. Perdu has the uncanny ability to prescribe the perfect book to cure any spiritual malady: heartbreak, loneliness, ennui. But for 21 years—ever since the woman he loved walked out of his life—Perdu has lived an ascetic, routine-filled existence, and he’s never opened the farewell letter she left for him. When he’s finally compelled to read it, the unexpected contents spur him to hoist his anchor and take the bookstore barge on a trip upriver to Avignon, in search of closure and forgiveness. Max Jordan, an eccentric young author paralyzed by writer’s block, hitches a ride as the boat is pulling out of port. Along the way the pair encounters a host of other quirky characters, who feed Perdu incredible cuisine, help unravel a long-unsolved literary mystery, and teach him to feel joy again. Though George’s prose is sometimes a bit overwrought and the “physician, heal thyself” plot device has been done to death, her cast of engaging characters keeps the story moving. Her sumptuous descriptions of both food and literature will leave readers unsure whether to run to the nearest library or the nearest bistro. Agent: Cecile Barendsma, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (June)