Author: Jérôme Paralano
, Author: Alter Rea
Notting Hill, twelve days before Christmas. Carl, a lonely bookseller, enjoys the last moments of his shop before the demolition planned for New Year's Eve. He has no idea what's going on right under his feet… Located on a mouth of the Underworld, its bookstore is the object of all desires. Perla and her mentor Ezekiel, demonic agents, are willing to do anything to appropriate it. This is without counting on the counter-attack of Archibald and his superior in paradise, Simone, both agents of the good. Determined to thwart the plans of their enemies, all means will be good to save the bookstore, even if it means appealing to Marc Levy or Taylor Swift … But when love gets involved, the plans go wild. So who will win the battle?
I received this novel in November, but reading the summary I knew I was going to have to keep it for December. And here he is! I also apologize for the delay, I planned to do a little Instagram post on it also but with my schedule, said post will arrive on Instagram in a few days. Anyway. I must admit that reading this novel was a kind of personal challenge. Indeed, I am not the biggest lover of romance, even at Christmas when almost all films and series revolve around the subject. So I decided to read a novel in the Christmas mood and see if I could do it. What's the result?
"It was good to drive on this beautiful Sunday spring day, hair in the wind, behind the wheel of a triumph-red convertible triumph TR4, on brighton's flowery companion roads along the English Channel."
We get to the heart of the subject from the prologue, which plunges us into the heart of a tragic incident that dreams (or nightmares?) two individuals who are still unknown to us: Archibald and Perla. Then the novel introduces us to our hero, Carl, in his bookstore, removing the dust. We really get into what seems to be her everyday life: the delivery man who arrives to drop off an order of books, his usual client, old but adorable, who "passed around" and comes to pick up his novel… A train that allows us both to discover Carl's character, but also to begin to attach ourselves to it. Then we move on to Samantha, then Charles… In short, you will understand, the point of view changes regularly within the novel. A practice that some people hate, some love or, like me, don't care a little bit as long as it serves the interest of history. And in this case, it works perfectly, allowing us to discover a whole bunch of history one after the other, until we discover the red thread that unites them. And the said red thread is the bookstore. I found the various stories and plots rather sympathetic, because it allows us, as a reader, to discover the whole story, "the bigger picture" if you will. We have the necessary hindsight to understand everyone's stakes, their motivations, their goals… And I have to say that it's quite difficult to know which one you want to see succeed (except Carl. Everyone wants Carl to succeed because it's Carl).
I loved Carl's little talk about the world of publishing, social networks and digital novels that are slowly killing small independent businesses like him. It's probably the character who wants it, but it makes him extremely touching, because he's nostalgic for a past where writers came to dedicate where they could where publishers did business with independents and where the book world was sticking together because it was flourishing. In my opinion, a beautiful little moral that sticks rather well to the novel. Otherwise, character level, I had a big crush for, obviously, Carl, but also Samantha. I found her very endearing and I like her risk-taking, even though we feel that she is afraid of losing the people she loves at times. As a future journalist, I hope to have a tenth of his determination to always want to get to the bottom of things, but also not have his "luck" to have to work on people subjects all the time, I would never bear it! But he is also a very well written character and that I loved reading and following throughout the novel. Even if his relationship with Juliette, his girlfriend, sometimes made me very nervous (pretty much like Samantha what).
"Let's go then. I'd love to."
The ending is simply adorable, with a twist you wouldn't expect! I was really surprised to see the link between the prologue and, suddenly, this final revelation. Clearly, a beautiful fall that touched me a lot. All in all, it's a beautiful novel quite similar to an adventure lived in 2018 for me, when I tried to help my small independent bookstore to find more customers (in my case unfortunately, it didn't really work…). A beautiful novel that has resonated and you know what? Well the romance in the background is absolutely adorable.
s: 1Me: 0!