Saturday, November 19, 2022

Review: The Forgotten Bookshop in Paris

Title: The Forgotten Bookshop in Paris
Author: Daisy Wood

Publisher: 27th October 2022 by Avon Books UK

Pages: 400 pages

Genre: historical fiction, WWII

My Rating: 4.5 crowns


From an exciting new voice in WWII historical fiction—and the author of The Clockmaker’s Wife—comes a tale of love and a betrayal that echoes through generations…

Paris, 1940: War is closing in on the city of love. With his wife forced into hiding, Jacques must stand by and watch as the Nazis take away everything he holds dear. Everything except his last beacon of hope: his beloved bookshop, La Page Cachée.

But when a young woman and her child knock on his door one night and beg for refuge, he knows his only option is to risk it all once more to save a life…

Modern day: Juliette and her husband have finally made it to France on the romantic getaway of her dreams—but as the days pass, all she discovers is quite how far they’ve grown apart. She’s craving a new adventure, so when she happens across a tiny, abandoned shop with a for-sale sign in the window, it feels fated.

And she’s about to learn that the forgotten bookshop hides a lot more than meets the eye…

My Thoughts

‘He will call his shop La Page Cachée - The Hidden Page - because he knows the magic that is to be found within the covers of a book.’

The Forgotten Bookshop in Paris is the second book I have read by Daisy and I absolutely loved it! To have a combination of Paris, WWII and a bookshop in past and present timelines was wonderful. There is a love of literature woven throughout and setting up a bookstore in Paris is a dream for many. With themes of love, war and betrayals, it all comes together for a riveting read. 

‘Bookstores and libraries were her spiritual home, so quiet and calm and full of knowledge - and now here was the ghost of a bookstore on her doorstep.’

The two past and present storylines meld together in a surprising mystery. Included are the tragedies of WWII with the Nazi occupation of Paris and Daisy does a superb job of telling not only the love story of Jacque and Mathilde but also his evolution throughout this experience. The contemporary tale, whilst a well worn trope of marriage breakdown and moving to a new country for rediscovery is well used, with the addition of setting up a bookstore and discovering family heritage, Daisy does a solid job of it. All up is a poignant tale told from many aspects with engaging characters and tribulations to overcome. 

‘All my life, I’ve been making decisions based on what other people wanted.This adventure is just for me. Is that selfish? Maybe, but I don’t want to wake up in thirty years’ time and realise I’ve wasted my life. We only get one shot–might as well make the most of it.’

My only wish would have been more focus on the unfolding of the family mystery as opposed to the setting up of the bookstore in Paris. The story came to a close quickly, whereas I wished to be immersed in the discovery for longer. The two timelines weave together well with the historical narrative being slightly stronger - I really appreciated the evolution of Jacque’s character and the risks taken as being part of the French Resistance. 

‘Books were his livelihood, his passion, his raison d’être; how could he allow them to be destroyed? He had already accepted so much humiliation from the Nazis but this was a step too far.’

The Forgotten Bookshop in Paris is a story of love and courage, sacrifice and surrender. It’s a tale of heartbreak and hope as the two lead characters from both timelines are on a journey of self discovery. I highly recommend it as I found it a moving and memorable story. 

‘Here’s to you and The Forgotten Bookshop. May she soon be remembered.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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