I found myself in Paris last fall at Shakespeare and Company, the famous old bookstore that sits right next to the Seine and sells books in English. The building feels like a relic from Shakespeare's days and is stacked with books like your grandmother's attic. Somehow being in Paris and walking through the rooms stuffed with English titles, the books seemed more romantic, more obscure. An enormous pile of books with Matt Damon's face stared at me from the cover of The Martian. The same photo appeared, poster size, in every subway station all over the city, but again, I was in Paris and somehow it all seemed elegant and tres chic! Like all good stories, mine came to an end when I touched down at Sea-Tac. Now I am on the other end and searching for titles to bring back the romantic interlude. Here are some of my favorites that gave me a chance to hang on to the glow, for just a while longer.
Monsieur Perdu, the proprietor of the Literary Apothecary, dispenses just the right book for each of his clients from his floating bookstore. When the memory of a lost love begins to haunt him, he throws off the lines and sets his course for Provence. Charming and romantic, the right prescription for anyone who has ever had their heart broken.
In 1909 Maud Heighton is a young English woman who has abandoned convention and is studying art in Paris. With barely enough money to survive, Maud accepts a position with a French gentleman to be a companion to his sister, Sylvie. Things begin to unravel almost immediately and Maud finds herself accused of stealing a diamond tiara. A chilling reminder than when things seem too good to be true, they probably are.
When Lisette and her husband Andre are forced to leave their life in Paris to care for Andre's ailing grandfather, Lisette resents having to leave the world of art galleries and fine culture in Paris for the rural wasteland of Provence. She soon finds that Pascal is no ordinary Grandpere, and his life has been quite extraordinary.
The wind has shifted and once again Vianne (our favorite female from Chocolat) has moved on to Paris. In her new locale, she has changed her name and found yet another chocolate shop to oversee. Anouk, now Annie, is seven and has a baby sister, Rosette, are settling into life in the city when the charming Zozie arrives and turns things upside down for the whole family. Sacre bleu!