Hardcover, 392 pages
Published June 23rd 2015 by Crown
This is going to be a short one because despite the fact that this book establishes itself as a book about books by its title alone, the book is not about books. In fact, to me strictly, it read as an overwrought melodrama that finds its premise in something supremely, dare I say it, ridiculous–at least to my sensibilities.
Perhaps I should preface this review by saying that I am very particular about the romance in my books. I enjoy a good romance–who doesn’t? But the protagonist in this book does not in any way deserve my particular sympathies.
Monsieur Perdu was having an affair with a woman who disappeared on him one day and he allows this disappearance to dictate his years after she leaves. He doesn’t read the letter she sends him after she disappears and chooses, instead, to cling to whatever he believes about her rather than trying to find out the truth of the matter. He even knows where she lives but isn’t moved to go and find her and demand an explanation. Instead he wallows.
Oh how he wallows.
Incidentally, he has a tugboat that he has renovated into a bookshop. Customers to the shop are given high-ended advice about the books they should read and how these books will help them in their lives. Blah blah blah.
I wasn’t impressed with this book. At all. I’m sure it has charm and early on, I even enjoyed Perdu’s wry observations about human nature but then Perdu turned out to be this special snowflake with all these feelings and I could barely suppress the gorge that rose at every iteration of his loneliness and hurtfeelingness.
The woman he loves so very much was actually already married and well engaging in a free love despite not being explicitly clear whether her husband really objected or said he didn’t mind simply so he could keep whatever little he had of her.
Not my kind of book. Not my kind of romance. Not recommended. At all.
I mean, I could probably go into more detail about the novel but at this point I don’t even want to. It’s sentimental, it’s as I said overwrought and it left me cold. Read at your own risk.