Author: Antoine Laurain (translated by Emily Boyce & Jan Aiken)
Publisher: Gallic Books (published 14th April 2015)
Pages: 159 pages
Where to read this book? Paris – predictably – ideally around Montmartre in the Spring.
Refreshments: A glass of champagne and a nicoise salad.
Bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street and feels impelled to return it to its owner. The bag contains no money, phone or contact information. But a small red notebook with handwritten thoughts and jottings reveals a person that Laurent would very much like to meet. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?
Whimsical, charming and absolutely delightful Antoine Laurain has produced yet another perfect companion to a quiet afternoon. Our male lead, Laurent is quiet and idealistic living the dream life after leaving behind a busy job in investment banking to run a bookshop. His daughter Chloe has the arrogance of youth and should really be incredibly frustrating – but even she manages to endear herself due to her enviable relationship with her father and her ferocious desire to see him happy. The narrative switches beautifully between Laurent and Laure – the beguiling mauve handbag owner – and you almost feel like a voyeur as you watch their relationship develop – it made me smile.
Quintessentially French and capturing a fairytale romance without being saccharine The Red Notebook is another winner from Antoine Laurain.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10