Book Review: The Little French Bistro by Nina George

“Every woman is a priestess if she loves life and can work magic on herself and those who are sacred to her. It’s time for women to remind themselves of the powers they have inside.” 

Marianne is tired of living her life. It’s a life she feels she is not really living at all, and FrenchBistroone night in her misery, she decides to end it. But a stranger intervenes and Marianne, while she may not recognize it at first, is granted another chance. Sad and lost and drawn to the sea, Marianne finds herself in the Breton region of France. As she finally begins to experience a freedom she has never known before, she forges deep relationships with the people around her who have complicated lives of their own. Meanwhile Marianne struggles to reconcile the person she was and the person she wants to be with the person she thinks she it.

This book is simple and beautiful and heartfelt. I reread some parts more than once, moved by the words and recognizing myself in them. I was deeply drawn into the vivid imagery of Marianne’s surroundings and the sensations and feelings she experienced. It’s a lovely reminder that enjoying the simplicity in the small moments is important.

I love that the protagonist is sixty years old. She is part of an age group underrepresented in novels and supports the idea that anyone can change her life anytime, that’s it’s never too late. I also love the fact that she encounters so many strong women in this story who do not apologize for who they are.

Marianne is true-to-life character, full of both wanting and regrets. She has these deep and meaningful interactions full of beauty and human connection but always manages to come full circle back to thoughts of regret and doubt, questioning the decisions she made both past and present. She questions herself because it is a habit she has had her whole life. Her struggle to find authenticity and be her true self is one to which I relate whole-heartedly.

This novel has everything you want: internal and external conflict, love, death, sadness, change, birth, food, loss, music, dancing, passion, and the sea. It allows you to see yourself reflected in the characters while also escaping into a lovely and whimsical world.

4 out of 5 stars

 

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