This month we’re reading The Little French Bistro by Nina George, a novel about a 60-year-old woman in a dreadful marriage who embarks on a journey to find herself. We needed something on the light and airy side after last month’s exploration of health, wellness and death, and George’s novel sounded like just the thing. Here’s what we thought, how Jeeves feels about a novel set in France (he was worried it might be cliché) and whether or not we’re now booking flights to the French shore. 

1. For all the hope we had of digging into a book as light as a cotton top sheet on a Carolina summer morning, George’s novel begins with nothing other than a suicide attempt. We know. We weren’t prepared for that either.

2. George’s writing is sometimes a bit syrupy (Jeeves is smug as I write that) but also sometimes lovely, and in the end, she tells her story well, with the sort of believability that makes her heroine recognizable to many of us.

3. Sometimes….husbands get what they deserve, particularly if they’re named Lothar. 

4. The main character of The Little French Bistro, Marianne, is in her early 60’s, which means she has a certain je ne sais quoi that comes with time, age
and endurance. 

5. The heart of George’s story, of Marianne’s story, is transformation, the shifts that happen when we change our thoughts, expectations or literal places of habitation. The author did a good job of allowing not only the setting to change and shift as we read but also the protagonist’s life, both internal and external. 

6. As of this writing, plane tickets from RDU to Brittany are $1800. You may just see us all there, donning striped shirts and drinking strong coffee at an outdoor cafe. Most of us will be attempting to pull off classic red lipstick, of course. 

7. The Little French Bistro is full of a cast of characters whom you will likely come to love. They struggle with the same life issues we all face, even Parkinson’s and dementia, and they also endure, as we all do, to
continue living. 

8. Jeeves gives this book 3 out of 5 stars. Though he enjoyed the scenic descriptions of the Breton coast and the colorful characters, he was left hangry more than once with all the writing about food. 

9. Nina George’s other novel, an international bestseller, is entitled The Little Paris Bookshop and will be an excellent follow-up if you love The Little French Bistro. 

10. If you like novels of this nature, you may enjoy The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, and The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain, which has a 4.5 star review on Amazon. 

That’s it for us this month. Next month, we’re looking forward to Nora Ephron’s I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections. 

We love sharing books with everyone and anyone who’s got a review, comment, thought, critique or favorite quote to send along. Feel free to write to us at editor@outreachnc.com and let us know your thoughts on Nina George’s novel.