Lead Review (The Little French Village of Book Lovers)
- Book: The Little French Village of Book Lovers
- Location: Provence
- Author: Nina George
“If love is the poetry of senses, books are the poetry of the impossible” — I am not sure I altogether understand this but it sounds somehow like a lovely phrase. It captures the essence of the weird and wonderful nature of the novel.
The novel is set in Provence, around Nyons, overlooked by mountains and with plenty of scope for a palette of provençal colours. As the story unfolds more characters appear, who go about their daily business in and around the French countryside. The author renders the scenery in photo-shopped glory, recalling the evocative descriptions of Guy de Maupassant, colourfully bringing the sights, sounds and smells of this part of France to wonderful life. And of course – need you ask – a 2CV features!
At the heart of the story is Marie-Jeanne, an orphan. The novel opens as she lies in her crib beneath a magical tree, gurgling at the beauty of what she beholds. Her grandmother drops dead but fortunately she is found and raised by people through whom her love of books grows.
She accompanies her step father around the countryside, introducing readers to terrific titles, and to the transformative power of storytelling. She also has a special gift, in that she can see people lighting up when they are in the vicinity their soulmate. Marie-Jeanne, in many ways, may be a match maker but the love of her own life seems elusive.
“…books were places. Places of refuge. Places of peace.”
Yes, the novel can at times be a little sentimental, but it is uplifting and delightfully crafted and will appeal to anyone who loves whimsical storytelling set in Provence.