In brief: Sarah Smith has been offered a once in a lifetime opportunity – a bookshop swap in Paris! She’s determined that everything will go to plan, but of course it doesn’t…
The good: Rebecca Raisin’s books are twinkly, sparkly and evoke such a wonderful sense of place.
The not-so-good: Need more Ridge (although Luiz was a decent substitute).
Why I chose it: Always enjoy Rebecca Raisin’s books – thanks for the eARC!
Publisher: Carina UK
Setting: Predominantly Paris
My rating: 9.5 out of 10
When I’m looking for a heart-warming story, I often turn to Rebecca Raisin’s books. I know there will be a happily ever after and I know that there will be intricate descriptions of scrumptious food. In The Little Bookshop on the Seine, I had two added bonuses – gorgeous descriptions of Paris and the return of Sarah Smith, the ultimate booklover and bookseller. Sarah lives and breathes books, plus she truly cares for them.
In this novel, Sarah gets out of her comfort zone by agreeing to a bookshop swap with Sophie, who runs Once Upon a Time in Paris. It’s a challenge for Sarah to leave the friendship and comforts of small town Ashford, but she hopes that it will give more chances for her to see boyfriend Ridge, a freelance investigative reporter. When Sarah gets to Paris, the place is just as she imagined – until she gets to the bookshop. Inside it’s utter chaos, with staff turning up when they want to, money going missing and books being taken. Sarah needs to find her inner boss to take control, but Ridge is further and further away…can her new friends help her to find her feet?
The story isn’t strictly a romance (although there are some gorgeous subplots involving it), but the growth of Sarah as a person (she’s more to me than just a character). I shared in her joys (such as getting access to special cheese just for the locals) and was quite angry when her bookshop colleagues mocked her leadership and American ways. Sarah is a delightful girl – how can anyone be so mean to someone who lives and breathes books? Yes, she can be naïve at times, but this story finds her growing into a confident woman. Sure, she has problems – Ridge’s lack of communication being one of them, but she works through her pain and is ultimately rewarded.
I also adored most of the new supporting characters. Oceane and TJ were great friends for Sarah, quirky and witty with a good dose of support. It really took me a long time to warm to Beatrice (Sarah, I don’t think you should have forgiven that easily) but she was redeemed by the end of the book. Perhaps she needs a book of her own to find out more about her past? Sophie ran a bit hot and cold for me, even though she’s never physically in the same room (or country) as Sarah. Her business practices were mind-boggling strange at times. Also Lil, CeeCee and the gang took her under their wing back in Ashford so she must be pretty nice. It was great to see the girls of the Gingerbread Café again and we got just enough information to keep us happy. But this was Sarah’s story and she really shines in it.
Once again, Rebecca Raisin’s writing twinkles off the page, enveloping the reader fully within Sarah’s world in Paris. It’s like a love letter to Paris, emphasising all that is beautiful and engaging about the city. If you’re a booklover or a Francophile, you will adore this book.