Book Review: The Little French Bistro

Title: The Little French Bistro
Author: Nina George
Genre: Contemporary Fiction-Romance
Release Date: June 13th, 2017
Pages: 336
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible (affiliate link)

little french bistro

“In my search for death I found life. How many deviations, side roads and senseless detours a woman can take before she finds her own path, and all because she falls into line too early, takes too early the paths of custom and convention, defended by doddering old men and their henchwomen – the mothers who only want the most dutiful outcome for their daughters. And then she wastes an immense amount of time ensuring that she fits the mold! How little time then remains to correct her fate.

…And yet, life as an autonomous woman is not a song. It’s a scream, a war; it’s a daily struggle against the easy option of obeying. I could have obeyed, could have lived less dangerously, ventured nothing, failed at nothing.”

I normally try to stay away from romance novels. Just my personal preference, but it’s one of the few genres I don’t really care for. However, even though this book could be classified as romance, it’s so much more than that! It’s a tale of self-discovery, friendships, and new beginnings; a later in life coming-of-age story about finding home and where one belongs.

After 41 years in a loveless marriage, 60-year-old Marianna decides that she is fed up with “suffering in silence”, trying to live up to expectations set by society and a selfish and uncaring husband. While on vacation in Paris one day, she sneaks away from her husband, removes her meager possessions, and throws herself into the Seine with the intention of ending her life. However, her efforts are thwarted when a nearby homeless man jumps in after her and pulls her up onto the bank, saving her life. An ambulance is called and she is taken to the hospital, where her husband meets up with her. Instead of being concerned for her well-being, he is angry at her for embarrassing him and scolds her. He selfishly decides to return home without her and made arrangements for her to follow later accompanied by a psychiatrist. Instead, Marianna sneaks away again, still resolved to end her life on her own terms. She comes across a tile with a beautiful painting of a small coastal town named Kerdruc, further up the French coast in a place called Britanny, and decides that would be the perfect place to wash away in the waves. However, as Marianna travels to and arrives in the charming town of Kerdruc, she meets a diverse cast of interesting characters, begins to learn more about herself and who she really is, and discovers a new meaning to her life.

“You have to listen when the land speaks to you. The stones tell of souls that wept as they passed, the grass whispers of the people who have walked on it, the wind brings you the voices of those you have loved. And the sea knows the name of every person who has ever died.”

The Little French Bistro is very well written. The author, Nina George, has such a lovely and poetic prose, full of insightful snippets and imaginative descriptions. Most of all, I absolutely adored her depiction of Britanny and the French coast! George is very knowledgeable about Britanny’s rich culture and after getting a taste of that culture in this book, I’m inspired to learn even more. I would love to visit there someday! There are also some aspects of Britanny’s myths and supernatural beliefs worked into this book, but they’re incorporated into the storyline very tastefully and only touched on briefly so don’t let that dissuade you from trying this book.

In summary, The Little French Bistro is a delightfully charming, uplifting, and engaging read! I would definitely recommend it and I am giving it a perfect 5/5 stars.

Thank you to Random House Publishing and Blogging for Books for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

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