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The Little French Bistro: A Novel by Nina…

The Little French Bistro: A Novel

by Nina George

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A dear old friend recommended The Little Paris Bookshop to me. I had mixed feelings about the preposterous story line, coupled with the pretty and pithy writing style. I decided to take a chance on another Nina George novel. I was disappointed in The Little French Bistro. Although that same writing style was present, and I could have added many more quotes to the template for this book, I could not get invested in the characters or the meandering, whimsical plot.

Marianne, a sixty year old German woman, lives in a loveless marriage and decides to end it all by drowning. She is rescued, and sent to the hospital where she finds a ceramic tile at the nurses station, picturing a scene from Brittany by the sea. She decides that she wants to see the sea. By some happenstance and coincidence she comes to Kerdruc and gets hired at a restaurant. She meets a number of quirky characters who have their own life and love problems. And Marianne seems happy for the first time in her life with simple pleasures she never had in Germany. Ah, but there is still a husband back there, miserable character that he is. What to do, as she is drawn to the quiet artist Yann. And serendipitously, Yann had drawn the tile.

Overall, I struggled to finish and found it mostly boring. ( )
  Micheller7 | Apr 26, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Little French Bistro tells the story of sixty-year-old Marianne, and her journey from depressed, unloved German housewife to find herself in a small seaside town in Brittany. Nina George paints a beautiful picture full of charming scenery and a lot of characters—most of whom are older. Ultimately this is a book about second chances, love, and finding your place in the world. The storylines are all trite and predictable, but George’s respectable writing enabled me to get through a style of book that I would not typically read. If you are looking for a happy, easy and reasonably well done romance this book may hit the spot for you. ( )
  Hccpsk | Apr 23, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked it even more than The Little Paris Bookshop. Her characters draw you into their lives and make you want to root for all of them. Nina George has created a wonderful little village that made me want to book a plane ticket and go stay in the guest house there. This is a great little summer read. ( )
  bpompon | Apr 22, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Marianne has been married for 41 years to a man who has never shown her love and something needs to change. She has hit the bottom and she embarks on a quest for death. She heads for what is known in France as “the end of the world”, Brittany in Northern France. Life intervenes and Marianne keeps putting off her death as she starts to enjoy life and discovers a self she never knew. But will she find the courage to face this unknown future or will she return to the marriage she has known for so long? Can her marriage still be saved?

What delights Nina George’s books are. There is the main story but there are also other gems contained in this book. There’s Genevieve and the past that has grown hatred in her heart. There’s Yann, the handsome painter. You’ll also meet Jean-Remy, who has never been able to declare his love for Laurine. Pascale and Emile Goichon are an elderly couple who creeped into my heart to stay. And of course there’s Marianne who is discovering so many wonderful things in life that your heart just bursts for her. There are touches of pure magic throughout the book.

There aren’t many books written these days with a woman in her 60’s as a main character. I found that quite refreshing in and of itself. This is a wonderful story of second chances and I spent a lovely time with these characters. And of course the French background that Ms. George portrays is always of great pleasure to read.


This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review. ( )
  hubblegal | Apr 21, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Nina George, author most recently of The Little French Bistro and before that The Little Paris Bookshop has captured the novel market on Lost Souls. Just like Jean Perdu in The Little Paris Bookshop, Marianne, the sixty year old wife of Lothar, is lost. In a loveless marriage for 41 years, she has suffered, hoping that her suffering is a sign of strength rather than lethargy and resignation.

On a trip to Paris, Marianne gets off her tour bus, wanders until she finds the perfect bridge over the Seine and jumps in...after carefully taking off her shoes, folding her coat and depositing her wedding ring into the shoe. Hoping to drift away and end her suffering, unfortunately she is saved by a nearby vagrant and taken to a local hospital.

Having been diagnosed as being unstable, she sees no alternative but to return to her husband until she realizes, on the spur of the moment, that she can merely walk out of the building. She walks and rides, her destination the port city of Kerdruc in Brittany (I'll let you read the book to find out why) where, of course, marvelous things happen.

As in The Little Paris Bookstore, The Little French Bistro (apparently called The Little Breton Bistro in the French version--click the link for a little more detailed synopsis), there are many lost souls in Kerdruc and Marianne touches the lives of each of them in ways she could never imagine. In the course of doing so, she discovers herself and realizes/hopes that at 60 years of age, it is not too late to live a full and happy life.

Ms. George has created memorable characters from the boorish Lothar to Simon, Jean-Remy and all the inhabitants of Kerdruc. She weaves some mythology and superstition into her narrative, told in the third person. She balances Marianne's desire to be independent for the first time in her life against her desire to be loved as she or any woman deserves, also for the first time in her life.

The Little French Bistro has love and loss. It covers many of our basic emotions. It attacks our universal stupidity in matters of the heart. It begs us to reach out.

While Ms. George, at times, can get a little wordy over love and its importance and the consequences of its success or failure, she creates an interesting world that I've not read about before. I'll caution readers here, as I did in my review of The Little Paris Bookshop, that this really isn't a guy's book. But, on the other hand, it is a charming book and maybe any male readers brave enough to try it, might learn how to treat the fairer sex.

Ms. George's books are quite the pair and you can't go wrong reading them both. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Apr 20, 2017 |
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Pare, SimonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was the first decision she had ever made on her own, the very first time she was able to determine the course of her life.
'You know the tragic thing about long life expectancy?' Paul asked, suddenly turning serious.  Everybody looked at him with expectation. 'You have more time to be unhappy.'
They said a lot when they weren't speaking; it was the silences between their words that touched Marianne.
'He's in love, and when they're in love, cooks overdo it with the salt.'
They would all die: only stones and art were immortal.
The goddesses had demonstrated to her that life and death could take place within a single day, and sometimes it was impossible to distinguish between them.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451495586, Hardcover)

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop, an extraordinary novel about self-discovery and new beginnings
Marianne is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage.  After forty-one years, she has reached her limit, and one evening in Paris she decides to take action. Following a dramatic moment on the banks of the Seine, Marianne leaves her life behind and sets out for the coast of Brittany, also known as “the end of the world.” 
Here she meets a cast of colorful and unforgettable locals who surprise her with their warm welcome, and the natural ease they all seem to have, taking pleasure in life’s small moments. And, as the parts of herself she had long forgotten return to her in this new world, Marianne learns it’s never too late to begin the search for what life should have been all along.
With all the buoyant charm that made The Little Paris Bookshop a beloved bestseller, The Little Breton Bistro is a tale of second chances and a delightful embrace of the joys of life in France.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 09 Dec 2016 07:30:00 -0500)

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