From Goodreads: Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.
After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.
I enjoyed this book. It was a pretty fast-paced story but the characters were well-developed, and we continued to learn more about them as they continued their journey along the Seine. Perdu’s ability to really listen to people and “prescribe” the right book is fascinating, as is the encyclopedia he decides to create. Some of the sailing terminology was over my head (when they were talking about docking and pulling up at various ports), so that was a bit confusing. There was a bit of back and forth between past and present, but it was clear when that was happening. Perdu is a character that really blossoms throughout the story and I enjoyed seeing it. I liked seeing how the relationships between the characters developed; being in close quarters for an extended period of time really allowed them to become intimate (in the sense of learning about each other and each other’s histories).
Essentially, this is a story of how grief can transform a person, but also shows how new beginnings can do the same. I highly recommend it.