⇒ Blog Tour | “It was time to stop hiding, and start participating in real life.” – The Little Bookshop on the Seine ⇐
**Many thanks to HQN Book and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Author: Rebecca Raisin
(3.64 stars – Goodreads rating)
Genre: Fiction / Romance
Publication Date: January 7, 2020, by HQN Books
Pages: 232 (EBook version)
#TheLittleBookshopontheSeine #RebeccaRaisin #LittleBookshop #HQNBooks
I’d left my home, my routine, and I was here where ancient beauty was abundant. I’d made the right choice, I could feel it in my bones.
Fictional characters make it seem so easy to pull off some pretty amazing feats – take switching lives for example. We’ve seen it 100 times – either through some kind of freaky magic, a rogue lightning strike, or just a spontaneous decision, switching lives always leads to some big adventures. I’ve never tried it – maybe because there isn’t anyone I’ve met so far that I would want to trade lives with, even for a few weeks. Not that my life is so interesting, my switcher would probably be bored out of their minds!
But Sarah Smith (gosh, even her name sounds like she needs some excitement, right?) needs a change. She needs to shuffle some things up, find a spark, and get recharged. And overworked, spurned-in-love Sophie in Paris offers Sarah just the opportunity she is looking for. Let’s check out the blurb…
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.
In small-town Connecticut, there wasn’t a lot to do. And life here – calm, peaceful – was fine, but that’s just it, fine wan’t enough anymore.
OK, so we have one woman who is seeking adventure and change from her mundane everyday, and then we have another woman who is looking for an escape from a bad relationship and a way to relax from her hectic lifestyle. Come on… you know this story, right? The Holiday! My favorite Kate Winslet movie (and really, the only one I’ll watch with Cameron Diaz in it). Amanda and Iris (Cameron and Kate) switch houses/lives in LA and Surrey in an effort to “reset” themselves, their careers, and their love lives.
This Little Bookshop novel has the same premise – two women needing a hard reset to get their lives on track. Attractive premise, promising plot, I just wish I could say that I enjoyed this reading experience more. But let’s talk about the things I do like first…
…to me, books were alive, the words throbbed and pulsed, as important as a heartbeat,…
Raisin’s descriptions of Paris – its food and sights – actually made me want to go there, and I consider myself quite the anti-Francophile. There are beautifully crafted paragraphs about mouth-watering Parisian delicacies and equally enticing descriptions of Paris’ Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe that immediately thrust you into a magically, romantic world.
Plus, in every romantic novel, you need at least the promise of romance. Even though Sarah and Ridge are separated for most of the book, their romance shines through his absence – and this dude is really romantic.
I would find the heart of Paris, I would do all those things lovers did, and to hell with it if I was alone.
So, why only three stars? Why didn’t this book really resonate with me? There’s an easy answer: One thing that turns me off from a book and its story is if the protagonist is wishy-washy, and Sarah definitely is that kind of character. She keeps hearing what she needs to hear and know in order to feel confident in her man and her relationship, but she refuses all of that advice and chooses to feel abandoned and slighted instead. So, yes, an annoyingly needy main character can throw me out of the book because I feel I can’t relate to her motivation and choices.
Also, there were several places where the writing and action seemed too repetitive. Sarah was in Paris for months, and readers learn about her weeks of trouble and solitude in detail; however, when anything truly interesting happens, those events are glossed over and summarized down into one paragraph. Tell us about the late night art gallery visit! Tell us about the one night spent with the boyfriend you’ve been longing to see for months! That’s the stuff we want to know about. Honestly!
Even though this book didn’t quite hit its mark with me, there were many points where I could appreciate that it is written by a lover of books and by someone who really appreciates the written word. And for that, I would recommend it to those who love reading book about books, those who are instantly attracted to handsome little bookshops on historic corners, and to those for whom Paris is a dream. This book will whet your appetite for more than a cheap romance, you will want the adventure!
The Little Bookshop on the Seine is available now at any of the following booksellers:
Rebecca Raisin is the author of several novels, including the beloved Little Paris seris and the Gingerbread Cafe trilogy, and her short stories have been published in various anthologies and fiction magazines. You can follow Rebecca on Facebook, and at http://www.rebeccaraisin.com