An intricate and graceful story of the beginnings of an unlikely romance between an illiterate Parisian baker and a woman hiding in a world of books and art.
Octavio Notre-Dame comes from a long line of bakers. Working the ovens of the eighth-district establishment known throughout the neighbourhood as the cake-slice, he produces baguettes and brioches with timeless perfection. Nurtured by his father, Octavio discovers his imagination in stories, but like generations of Notre-Dame men before him, Octavio bears the shame of being unable to read.
Isabeau Normande is born to parents devoted to appearance, to the beauty that shimmers on the surface of things. As a child she suffers a disfiguring accident. As a young woman she finds solace in the basement of the Louvre, restoring great works of art to their original glory. She loses herself in the faces of others while covering the scars that mark her own. But Isabeau’s deepest comfort comes from books.
Set in motion by an endearing cast of misfits-an impoverished painter, a near-blind watchmaker, a jazz-playing veteran of the trenches of World War I and a lonely bookseller-this is a story of the happenstance and fateful twists that can propel two would-be lovers into each other’s path. A master of concision, CS Richardson captures the emotional power of the subtlest gestures, renders a picture complete through an exquisite image and conveys the fullness of a conversation through words that remain unspoken. (from book cover)
This is my least favourite kind of review to write. Alas, not all books can be liked by everyone. For those of you that know me really well, you know that I am a supporter of all things Canadian! I love Canada! I think it is important to support our fellow Canadians and help them stand out! I so wanted to like this book...I really enjoyed the first 30 pages or so and then I got....well, bored. I could not get into the story, I could not relate to the characters, and a lot of times I found I was just reading the words on a page and I was not absorbing anything. I did enjoy Madame T’s love story. It was the perfect blend of cuteness and sadness. A reminder that not all love stories work out. I also really enjoyed Octavio and Isabeau’s meeting and the bit before (about the last 30 pages or so.) I was actually really involved in the story during this part and could not wait for the moment that they actually met!
I encourage all Canadian fans, such as myself, to pick up this book. Give it a try, don’t go just on my opinion, and PLEASE if anyone loves this story, LET ME KNOW. I give this book a 1.5/5 (sorry!)
Next Review: Buzz Off by Hannah Reed