“Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.”
Ok, with a description like this how could I not want to dive into this book. It satisfies the Francophile, the love story aficionado and anyone who likes a good story. There are even recipes at the end of the book! I liked the idea of a floating bookstore, how cool would that be to board a bookstore which travels the river. Ages and ages ago I visited Amsterdam and loved the canals / grachts. Somehow Barnes and Noble would turn into an amazing experience if it were floating in a romantic setting.
In the beginning you learn Perdu had a great loss in his life. Seemingly the love of his life abandoned him and he cut himself off to any other relationships. A turning point comes when he is coaxed into donating a table to his new neighbor Catherine. She finds a letter addressed to Perdu; it’s 20 years old and he hasn’t read it. Catherine persuades him to read it and this sets him off on a journey to the south. While he was very good at diagnosing his clientele and knowing which books would give them emotional satisfaction, he was never introspective about himself after being hurt, emotionally, 20 years before.
A quote I liked: “ As the grandmother, mother and girl said their good-byes and went on their way, Perdu reflected that it was a common misconception that booksellers looked after books.
They look after people.”
Recipes in the back of the book are Bohemienne De Legumes, Pistou (a good vegetable soup), Lamb Cutlets with Garlic Flan (I have to try this!), Lavender Ice Cream and The Thirteen Desserts. The Thirteen Desserts come from Provence and, according to the author, it has been a tradition to eat thirteen of them at Christmas. This list consists of raisins, dates, candied fruit, obligatory nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts, goat cheese, etc.
In spite of the very good recipes provided I opted to prepare a Jacques Pepin recipe for this book. Any of the French recipes would be marvelous but here is a meal of Pepin’s Tomato, Cucumber and Mozzarella salad served with a cold Rose and buttered pan-seared sea scallops. Recipe may be found at Squirrel Head Manor
Linking up with What’s in a Name Book Challenge for the city name category and Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Series.
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*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions, nice and no-so-nice are my own 🙂