Gifts? Give a good book this Christ­mas

Serve Daily - - BUILDING COMMUNITY - By Deb­bie Bal­zotti

It’stime to buy books for Christ­mas. Books are the per­fect gift, but it does take a lit­tle sleuthing to per­fectly pair a book with a reader. In “The Lit­tle Paris Book­shop” by Nina Ge­orge, book­shop owner Jean Perdu is a lit­er­ary apothe­cary who pre­scribes nov­els.

“There are books that are suit­able for a mil­lion peo­ple, oth­ers for only a hun­dred. There are even reme­dies — I mean books — that were writ­ten for one per­son only.... A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a di­ag­no­sis as well as of­fer­ing ther­apy. Putting the right nov­els to the ap­pro­pri­ate ail­ments: that’s how I sell books.”

Perdu has suf­fered the tragic loss of his beloved Manon. Twenty years later, he is still emo­tion­ally par­a­lyzed and un­able to find a book to heal his own bro­ken heart. As events and peo­ple change his life, he is slowly able to find joy and love again as he jour­neys along the wa­ter­ways of south­ern France.

Part of the en­joy­ment of read­ing “The Lit­tle Paris Book­shop” is the un­fold­ing of the plot, so I won’t spoil that for you with de­tails. A few of my fa­vorite char­ac­ters are Max Jor­dan and Cather­ine. Young Max wears ear­muffs to help in­su­late him­self against the noisy praise from fans of his wildly pop­u­lar first novel. The Ital­ian chef is also search­ing for his lost love as he pre­pares sa­vory meals aboard the barge. The lovely Cather­ine, who is her­self re­cov­er­ing from a bro­ken re­la­tion­ship, joins team Perdu on his jour­ney to find the abil­ity to love and for­give.

I love a book with a happy, hope­ful end­ing – even if there are a few tears shed in ear­lier chap­ters. This book had a great cast of char­ac­ters, a set­ting that be­gins in Paris and trav­els through south­ern France, and a plot with mys­tery and ro­mance. It’s a great choice to give the women on your Christ­mas list along with a laven­der-scented can­dle. And French cho­co­late. Or a ticket to France.

Since we don’t have Mon­sieur Perdu and his float­ing barge to help us se­lect the per­fect book for Christ­mas giv­ing, you could just re­visit my BookLook re­views on­line at­e­gory/ fea­tures/col­umn/booklook/.

*** Where lib­erty is, there is my coun­try. - Ben­jamin Franklin

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