Laure is a widow in her forties. She’s mugged outside her Paris apartment. Laurent Letellier, a bookseller, finds her purse. It has no phone or ID – just a pen, perfume, trinkets, and a small red Moleskine notebook filled with handwritten thoughts. He delivers it to the police, but they’re busy with other activities so he takes the bag home and looks for clues to the owner. After he begins reading the little red notebook containing Laure’s thoughts, he falls under their spell and wants to meet their author. Without a name to go on, Laurent begins his quest and the reader jumps aboard for the ride entering the enchanting world of Laure, Laurent, and Paris, a place where two good people seem destined to meet.
The Red Notebook is a short novel, just 159 delightful pages that are quite enough to make you smile. The book has a whimsical air and evokes both the spirit and sense of joy one feels when first falling in love.
Author Antoine Laurain uses his pen as an accomplished chef might wield a whisk. Laurain whips words into a froth that result in a romance that will make you certain you’ve whiled away the morning outside a Paris café eating a luscious pain au chocolat accompanied by hot chocolate topped with hand-whipped cream.
Summing it Up: This is a quintessentially French tale that fans of The Elegance of the Hedgehog and the movie Amélie will adore. It’s elegant, charming, and I’m already casting the film in my mind.
Note: This week we’re mourning the terrorist attacks in Paris. What better time could there be to celebrate the city of light by reading a book in which love triumphs?
Rating: 5 stars
Category: Dessert, Fiction, Grandma’s Pot Roast, Tapas, Book Club
Publication date: April 17, 2015 (U.S.)
What Others are Saying:
Booklist: “. . .elegant, witty, lighthearted – and somehow very French.”
Foreword Reviews: “This tender and charming romance, written with characteristic Gallic flair, is part mystery and part love story. Flawlessly written, it does everything right and, at the end, leaves a smile of satisfaction.”
The Guardian: “A hymn to la vie Parisienne. . . enjoy it for its fabulistic narrative, and the way it teeters pleasantly on the edge of Gallic whimsy.”
Library Journal: “Its gentle satirical humor reminded me of Jacques Tati’s classic films. Fans of Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog will want this.”
The Book Bag: http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php?title=The_Red_Notebook_by_Antoine_Laurain,_Emily_Boyce_(translator)_and_Jane_Aitken_(translator)