This is a lovely little book: a bittersweet romantic comedy that captivated me from the very first page.
A young woman, Laure, arrives home late at night, after dinner with friends. As she arrives at her apartment block somebody tries to snatch her handbag. She resists, but she is shoved against the door frame and her bag slips from her grasp.
She can’t get through the security door without her keys; she can’t call anyone because she relied on the mobile phone in her bag to remember their numbers; and she can’t get anywhere or do anything without the cash or cards in the purse in her handbag.
It was fortunate that the manager of the hotel across the road saw her very real distress and offered her a room and a bed for the night. Everything could be sorted out in the morning. Except it wouldn’t be that simple.
The next day a bookseller, Laurent, sees the bag sitting on top of a rubbish bin. He recognises that it is a very good bag, not the kind of bag that would be casually discarded, and so he picks it up to hand in at the police station. But he found it wouldn’t be that easy. He was too early and would have to wait for an hour, and then there would be forms to complete and questions to be answered. Laurent couldn’t wait; he had a shop to open and so he left, intending to do something about the bag later.
In the end he decided that he would examine the contents of the bag and see of he could find the owner himself. Of course the purse, the keys and the phone were gone but there were things that could be helpful; a keyring with a hieroglyph, a dry-cleaners ticket, and a novel, personally signed to ‘Laure’ by the author.
And he found a red notebook, that the owner had used to scribble all sorts of notes. He felt rather guilty, reading something so personal, but he hoped that he might find a stronger clue to the identity of the bag, and the more he read the more he realised he really wanted to now her.
Laurent’s efforts to find Laure had results; he found her home, he met her cat, but Laure wasn’t there.
There are more twists in the tale – some predictable and some not – before it reaches exactly the right ending.
This is a story that screams ‘FILM ME!’ I can see it, I really can.
The setting, a lightly romanticised Paris – including a lovely, lovely bookshop – is lovely.
I liked the people. The two leads were nicely balanced, and they were well supported by a jealous girlfriend, an opinionated teenage daughter, a helpful colleague …. It’s a very well balanced cast.
There are lovely details: literary references – that I must confess I didn’t know well enough to know how significant they were; Laure had an interesting occupation; and she had a lovely cat who had a small but significant part to play.
The story is a little contrived, of course it is, but it works well and it does come from the characters; their actions and their emotions.
It works beautifully, as the most charming of entertainments.
I was engaged, and I cared, from start to finish.
I really loved this book too. Short and perfectly formed 🙂
Exactly – that’s a lovely way of putting it.
Hm, sounds excellent…doesn’t seem to have a US publisher. Drat.
Oh, that is a pity. It seems to be very well received over here, so hopefully some enterprising US publisher will spot that and take action.
It’s available on Amazon…I know because I looked for it as soon as Fleur first mentioned it!
Great work, Audrey!
Sounds like a fun read; who doesn’t love a good romance?
This book sounds fantastic! From what you’ve written about it, I can definitely envision it as a film. I’m definitely going to be reading this ASAP! Cheers!!
That’s great – I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
Sometimes you just want a book like this – it sounds utterly charming! I don’t know if you’ve read it, but if not, Laurain’s The President’s Hat is worth a look too.
Yes, I have. I liked it and I like this one even more.
One to add to my ever expanding list.
Definitely – I’m sure you’ll love it, Jo!
Sounds lovely Jane, and now I’m even keener to read The President’s Hat! 🙂
You really should, the next time you’re looking for a book to both charm and entertain.
I agree, it does sound lovely! And I thought I saw it at Barnes and Noble the other day. I might have to go back and look…
Well we have confirmation below that the book was published in the USA, so quite probably you did and I think you should.
This sounds delightful – I have gone straight from here to get myself a copy. Thank you!
Hello, thanks a lot for your comments about my book. Specially for Fleur in the world. By the way… you can find the Red notebook in USA, available in good bookssellers. It’s the same publisher. Have a nice sunday.
That’s good to know. Thank you for stopping to comment, and than you for another lovely book.
Bien à vous, Jane.
Given how busy I am right now, this book sounds like the perfect distraction for Paris in July – thanks 🙂