This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance
Published by Harlequin
Released on January 7, 2020
A bookshop swap? Paris? A long-term relationship in trouble? What isn’t to like about this story set up? I couldn’t resist and excitedly took this one up to tell the story of a small town American gal headed to the City of Light where she face so many challenges and delights, but hopefully come into her own.
The Little Bookshop on the Seine is book one in the Little Paris Collection, but I also want to make a note that its also the follow up story of The Bookshop on the Corner where the heroine’s story begins which was book one of The Bookshop series and book #2.5 in the Gingerbread Cafe series. I had no trouble jumping in here, but I sensed this story started earlier and investigation showed I was right.
So, Sarah Smith is feeling down about a raise in rent to her bookshop with no rising sales to cover it and her boyfriend, Ridge’s freelance journalism job taking him all over the globe and never home to her. She feels her life is a bit stale so is ripe for the opportunity when Parisian bookseller buddy, Sophie, proposes a bookshop swap for sixth month so Sophie can get away from a cheating ex. At first, Sarah resists, but then goes for it.
The City of Lights is bright and wonderful and she is eager to explore, but her romantic image gets a hard check when she encounters trouble running Sophie’s bookshop which is so different from her own, trouble with the employees who aren’t keen on change and a stranger in charge, and even theft. Sarah is unsure of herself and the situation and also unsure of what is happening- or rather not happening- between her and Ridge. Can she get her feet under her in time to save the shop and her relationship?
This was a gently paced, heartwarming story and I was charmed in many ways by the author’s descriptions of Paris locales even those off the beaten path, the Parisian culture, Sarah making friends and settling in, and seeing her figure out what was missing from her life. I was well pleased that attention was paid to setting and getting Paris through Sarah’s eager, romantic eyes.
Getting to know Sarah and her home situation was one of the things that made me realize that there was a previous story because it felt like a lot was understood like you get in consecutive series’ books. There was enough development so that I was able to get to know Sarah and come to like her and her friends. I will admit that Sarah could be something of a ditherer at times, but I also think it was realistic and understandable. Who goes to a foreign country for the first time and attempts a new job without needing some adjustment time? I ended up rooting her on as she entered the Christmas season and brought her small town girl flavoring to her sophisticated chic corner of Paris.
The romance was there because Sarah’s mind was on it, but also something out of sight, too, because they weren’t together throughout the book. For a while, I wasn’t vested in Ridge like I might have been if I’d read the previous book so only cared for Sarah’s sake, but I got to know him and started to root for him and Sarah to figure out how to balance work and a life together- to see what everyday love looks like and not just love through rose-tinted glasses. They had a very spicy relationship and got into the sexy talk when catching up by phone. I was preparing to bop Ridge for a suspicion I got that would really hurt Sarah, but in the end it was a near thing and I happily saw the reveal coming when it came to Ridge’s reticence.
All in all, this was charming and I enjoyed Paris and bookshop setting, the holidays, Sarah growing as a confident, capable woman, and of course, the romance. I think this will be for chick lit and contemporary romance fans.
My thanks to Harlequin for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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