I must start this review by saying that, having read The Little Paris Bookshop, I jumped at the chance to review this new offering by Nina George. I was a little apprehensive at first, given the impression Little Paris had on me and I worried that Breton Bistro would not be as powerful. How wrong I was to doubt Nina! Once again I was overwhelmed by the beauty of her writing and the ability she has to create a story full of emotion and magic. If anything, I enjoyed this book so much more. I remember feeling a little flat after Paris Bookshop and a bit annoyed with the characters, not so here.
The Little Breton Bistro begins with Marianne Messman jumping into the Seine in order to end her life . She cannot think of another way out and away from the husband who controls who she is so, when she survives, she does all she can to find another way to end it all. After discovering, by chance, a painted tile depicting the beautiful village of Kerdruc, in Brittany, Marianne believes she has found the perfect place to end her life. What she finds is a new way to embrace life and begin to dream again.
This story is touched with magic both literally (Marianne actually befriends a white witch) and descriptively. The magic of the book is in the landscape; the environment. It is in the earth, the food and, most importantly, the sea: the source of life. Marianne’s awakening is not only emotional; it is spiritual.
I honestly cannot fault this book. For fans of the Paris Bookshop, it is everything that was and more. Some may be disappointed by the differences, I certainly was not. Emotional, magical and satisfying; this is a novel that will stay with me for a long time to come.