I am so excited to talk about one of my latest reads, The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin! I was only recently introduced to Rebecca’s books, but she has such a fun style and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read very much! Before I ramble too much, let’s just get to the good stuff! I will have my full review below AND a Q&A with the author herself! Let’s go!
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.
I really enjoyed this fun – if a little unbelievable (swapping stores in different countries?) – and entertaining read. What I liked about it most what that, which technically a romance book, the romance was a little more backseat to Sarah’s actual growth as a character. She had to learn to be herself and discover who she was before she could even begin to settle her relationship with Ridge. This book is technically a sequel (I guess there’s one that follows how she and Ridge meet and fall in love) but it reads fine as a standalone and I never felt lost!
I will say that I wasn’t a huge Ridge fan. Maybe I would be if I had read their love story first, but mostly I was just annoyed at him most of the book. He’s always absent and really seems to put his work before their relationship. I get that sometimes that needs to happen, but the benefits didn’t seem to outweigh the rest. I’m proud of Sarah for eventually sticking up for herself and voicing her feelings. Honestly, her personal growth was great.
Rebecca is also amazing at writing secondary characters. I loved TJ and Oceana as much as I loved Sarah, and I want them to get stories of their own! The bookshop itself also was a sort of character, and was so vividly written that I could imagine it’s rambling rooms and leaky ceilings. Honestly, the place must be freaking huge if it contains all of the rooms described. I’d totes visit.
All in all, I really enjoyed this. It was a light read that kept me entertained and turning the pages. I will definitely be reading more of Rebecca’s books.
Q: Have you ever been to Paris? If so, what are some of your favorite Parisian things?
A: I’ve been lucky enough to go Paris four times and do a bit of exploring for the books. It’s my favourite city in the world and if I could up and move I’d do it! I love the bookshops of Paris, particularly the secondhand shops that are dusty and musty and disorderly. You never know what you’ll find and that makes it magical. If you’re in Paris find the Abbey Bookshop, it’s full to bursting with English books and it’s a treasure trove if you have time to hunt! I also love French food – who doesn’t?! My favourite place to eat is the Christian Constant bistros. He has one for every budget and they’re all glorious. If you splurge once, I highly recommend it’s there.
The Ritz is also a must-see, from Bar Hemingway to Salon Proust, it’s an experience like no other walking in the footsteps of those literary greats. Buly 1803 is the most beautiful perfume shop in all the world, it’s like stepping back in time. My favourite is the rose oil… ooh la la. And holding a special place in my heart is Point Zero Paris, the exact centre of the city and a place where magic happens – you’ll have to read the book to find out more…
Q: What authors were/are a huge influence on you as you began writing? Or Now?
A: I have always loved Maeve Binchy and Joanne Harris and the style in which they write. I love Maeve’s ability to write everyday relatable characters, and I love Joanne’s sense of whimsy. I love writing foodie books set in exotic locations and I think I probably fell in love with France through Joanne’s books, they managed to transport me fully and I must’ve reread them a hundred times by now.
Q: What’s some of your favorite novels? What are you currently reading and what’s on your TBR (to be read) list?
A: I Loved Me Before You. I cried ugly, ugly tears at that. I must be a sucker for punishment because my all time favourite is The Fault in Our Stars. And also Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance. Three books that you need to read in the privacy of your own home with some cucumber slices to apply after for puffy eyes! I’m currently reading the Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley, so a nice change of pace from sobbing my heart out. I love how different each sister is and how you still find common ground with them.
Q: What inspired you to write your The Little Bookshop on the Seine?
A: My love of Paris and its bookshops! And truthfully, I wangled the family there so I could do some ‘research’ which included eating my body weight in macarons and walking until I couldn’t feel my feet anymore and feeling that I was a little bit French on the inside if only the locals could see that!
Q: What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
A: I hope you do something reckless, something that scares you, jump out of that comfort zone and do that thing you’ve always dreamed of! What’s stopping you – fear, money, work, life? You can make it happen if only you take the plunge! Open yourself to new experiences and people and don’t take the taxi, walk until your feet are numb and find those lost laneways and hidden alleys and see what you find!
Q: What drew you into this particular genre?
A: I love love, but Little Bookshop is also about another kind of love, the love of a place, or a feeling…writing this genre leaves it open to interpretation and anything goes as long you tie it all up at the end in a satisfying way!
Q: If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
A: I’d sit down with bookworm Sarah and ask her what she really thought of Luiz… I am still conflicted about that thread and what I could have done but didn’t!
Q: What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
A: They’ve all been good in different ways but I’d say Facebook is my favourite. I have a great group of people who follow me there and really interact. It’s a nice place to stop and chat and they’re all really lovely. Instagram is good too. I love how creative book bloggers are with their photos, they’re very inspiring to me.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
A: I’ve said this before and it’s really this simple. Write every day. I think it was Stephen King who said writing is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets and it’s true! Carve out a time and stick to it.
Q: What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
A: I’m currently editing Aria’s Travelling Bookshop, which is about a Van Lifer who sells her wares as she explores France! (Are you detecting a pattern here!?) It’s the follow up to Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop, which was released last March. Both books are about a different way of living, about having less but gaining more as you go. I’ve loved writing Rosie and Aria!