What is this about?: Sarah has thrown caution to the wind and moved to Paris to exchange bookshops with Sophie, a fellow bibliophile. However, she soon finds herself run ragged by the staff who seem to think they are doing her a favour by working there, as well as her worry about Ridge, her gorgeous freelance journalist boyfriend who is more freelance journalist than boyfriend these days.
What else is this about?: It’s a charming story about coming out of your shell, about forcing yourself out of your comfort zone and finding the strength to swim and not to sink.
Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with a Parisian friend for six months. Saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, who would turn down a trip to Paris?
Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible boyfriend behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – days spent surrounded by novels in a gorgeous bookshop and the chance to watch the snow fall on the Champs-ÉlysÉes.
But will her dream come true or will Sarah realise that a fairytale Christmas in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…
A deliciously feel-good romance perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Julia Williams
The Little Bookshop on the Seine is pretty damn wonderful, charming and every other adjective you’ve read in other reviews about how lovely this book is — they’re all true.
Sarah is comfortable in Ashford. She runs a wonderful bookstore that she adores, and sure there might be some financial problems, but she’s never going to stop being a bookseller. But when Sophie, a friend of hers from Once Upon a Time store in Paris suggests the book exchange, she takes a chance to move outside the life she’s always known.
Sure, there might be some trepidation, helped in no small part by her mother’s insistence that the movie Taken could actually happen, and Sarah’s own natural nerves at such a big step.
But, Sarah goes to Paris.
Raisin is a marvellous writer, bringing Paris to life with every word and transporting readers right there to the City of Light — to the markets along the Seine, the people and the city itself when Sarah looks out the store’s window. I appreciated too that Notre Dame was whole in this book.
But with the good comes the annoying — like the store staff who waltz in when they want, never following a roster because that’s not the French way — or to be exact, Sophie’s way. Sophie loves tradition, which makes me think her desperation to leave Paris is worthy of a story unto its own.
The staff were pretty much annoying for most of the book I must admit, but in the same vein it took Sarah a long time to stand up for herself, with Sophie’s blessing. And I cheered her on when she did.
I adored following Sarah as she explored the city with new eyes, marvelling in the hidden gems that the nicer bookstore clerks helped her find. Paris is a city that has had such a hold on me that every page of this book made me smile.
I couldn’t help myself.
The magic of wandering through the city, just being in the moment and getting lost in the history in every building is intoxicating. The people have always been wonderful, even when the questions I asked basically mean the word ‘tourist’ was stamped across my forehead.
One day — me + Paris in the summer. It’s going to happen!
But back to the book:
Sarah is a joy to follow as she tests herself out of her comfort zone, with people and situations that never would have happened in Ashford. But here’s the thing: she works through them; she figures things out and realises she can be more than Ashford.
For the longest time, I thought she would stay in Paris, because every word was filled with longing, wonder and excitement for what it had given her. The city and the experience opened her eyes, and I thought she was ready for more, but she chose to go back home. I get it, but I won’t lie and say I didn’t want that newfound confidence to make her decide to stay.
I am torn about the ending though: the one between her and Ridge. I didn’t feel the attraction between them, and thought she was worthy of much more from him. I felt like that there was a budding romance between her and a romance writer she met in Paris, but that panned out in an entirely odd way.
It is what it is. I can’t say I didn’t adore this book from beginning to (almost) end.