My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Little French Bistro is a novel about a woman named Marianne and her journey to redefine herself after a dramatic suicide attempt. She finds romance, passion, and a new lease on life in the small Breton town of Kerdruc, France.
Marianne Lanz (or Messman) was stuck in a loveless marriage for almost 40 years. After attempting suicide in Paris and being fished out of the Seine by a homeless man, she runs to the northern Breton region of France. She winds up in a small coastal village called Kerdruc where she becomes a chef in a local hotel restaurant. There she makes new friends, finds romance, and discovers a new passion for life and beauty. Marianne determines to permanently leave her old life (and husband) behind and start a new life in Kerdruc, thus milking as much joy and passion as possible out of the rest of her life.
Nina George is one of the few writers of our time who has a unique ability to seamlessly go from being conversational to lyrical. This book is beautifully written, and even more wonderfully edited. There were no grammatical errors, at least not that I noticed.
The story flows smoothly and the characters, although not too deeply developed, are diverse and eccentric enough to be endearing. There were a few times I thought the diction a bit too flowery, and a few of the characters’ stories are perhaps a bit too stereotypically European. The overall storyline itself is entirely predictable, but so well written that you still enjoy the journey. I will say that I appreciated that Ms. George did not feel the need to throw in graphic sex scenes; the romance, is sweet and just spicy enough to hold your interest without resorting to trashy play-by-play. I don’t often read romance for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is I just don’t enjoy it. But this was a sweet little coming-of-age story (despite the character being well past middle-age), with just the right amount of romance as to be a redeeming plot tool instead of a sales ploy.
My only criticisms of this book all have to do with it’s predictability. The storyline, although sweet, is entirely predictable. I felt that I knew the ending before I got there; I did, however, still enjoy getting there alongside the main character.
One extra praise for this book: any time Ms. George uses foreign language quotes, especially in the unique Breton language, she actually provides the translation! So many writers don’t do that and it can be infuriating. So brava, Ms. George, for not leaving your readers in the dark!
This is a well-written, sweet, easy read that I recommend as a fun poolside/summer option!