Monday 12 October 2015

Reviewed: The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

The Little Bookshop on the Seine will be published by Carina on October 16, 2015.

Thanks to Rebecca for sending me a copy of this book to review.

The Little Bookshop on the Seine is the start of Rebecca Raisin’s new series, although we do get the added bonus of familiar names and characters from Rebecca’s previous books. Although it was only partly set at Christmas (towards the end), rather than being a Christmas novel like the synopsis suggests, it still had that sparkly, wintery glow to it – an ideal book to snuggle up with in the cold winter months. Set in Paris instead of the comforting Ashford, this felt like a book that had taken Rebecca out of her comfort zone – but of course she doesn’t disappoint and this book had a feel to it just as entrancing as the rest. I wish I could live in one of Rebecca’s books!

For fans of Rebecca’s previous books, the story in The Little Bookshop on the Seine might not transpire exactly the way you expect it to. Knowing Sarah from The Bookshop on the Corner, we know she likes living vicariously through her books – the characters inside the pages have the exciting adventures, not her. She’s happy with her fictional book boyfriends and her own dreamy boyfriend, Ridge. I loved the concept of this book – for Sarah and her friend Sophie to exchange bookshops for six months. The idea that Sarah would be spending six months in the romantic, beautiful location of Paris – where surely so many of the books she loves are set – had me expecting a fairy-tale like, romantic new lifestyle for Sarah but instead, Rebecca delivers a more realistic, well-drawn story which made the uplifting ending all the more sweeter.

Life in Paris for Sarah is not exactly what she was anticipating – especially in Once Upon a Time, the bookshop she is managing for six months. Unlike the peacefulness, the relaxed nature of her bookshop back home, the bookshop in Paris is packed full, busy all the time and generally feels a lot less friendly and comforting than Sarah would like. I loved getting to know the other members of staff at Once Upon a Time – most of them were less than accommodating of Sarah and I was desperate to know why and see whether Sarah could befriend them. I found the characters in this book to be more interesting and fascinating than the characters back in Ashford (as much as I love them) because they didn’t give off warm and fuzzy vibes, they had more complex personalities, probably due to the busy and hectic lifestyles they’re used to rather than the serenity in Ashford. The character that intrigued me the most was Beatrice who was rude and abrupt, much to Sarah’s dismay. I wanted to figure out her character but I didn’t guess the reason why she was the way she was. I loved the little twists and unpredictability in the book which kept me on my toes – second guessing characters and their motives, wondering what was to come.

I don’t know if it was the intention but The Little Bookshop on the Seine felt more serious than Rebecca’s other books – except maybe for Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm. It’s not a complaint, since I loved this book just as much as the rest, I just like how much depth Rebecca has to her writing and though we see similar characters, the stories keep adapting and changing and standing out in their own right. What never changes about Rebecca’s writing is her beautiful way with words – how her descriptions make anywhere and anything feel charming and appealing. The beginning of the book gave me that feeling straight away as we see Sarah’s description of her books and how much she loves them – the joys of reading. Chapter one is a chapter so many of us readers can relate to and being able to relate to Sarah’s love of reading helps us root for her character throughout. I also loved Rebecca’s descriptions of Paris later in the book as she really puts together a bold picture of the area – not just the beauty but the hustle and bustle, the fashion and the Parisians’ characteristics, too.

I adored this book right from the beginning – from the laughter brought from Sarah’s last few moments in Ashford to her new temporary life in Paris. Each aspect of this book from the friendships to the romance were delivered in less conventional ways – for example, the romance in this book was more understated and less Sarah and Ridge than I had been expecting – I loved the letters explored by Sarah and Luiz (who I was a big fan of!). The friendships weren’t as obvious as the ones in Ashford and at times I missed the warmth and happiness CeeCee and Lil brought, but then another aspect to the story would catch my attention. As usual, The Bookshop on the Seine was another delightful read by Rebecca Raisin. The development of Sarah’s character was great to see – as circumstance and setting ensured she needed to grow as a person, without being able to rely on her friends and boyfriend to see her through. I was willing Sarah to enjoy her Paris adventure more – but not too much, as Ashford has still got a huge hold of my heart! The ending wrapped up the book perfectly.

Another gorgeous Rebecca Raisin novel!


  1. Another great sounding book by a fantastic author

  2. Another great review Sophie. It's going on my list to read xx


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