"The Little French Bistro" by Nina George

By Nina George

Reviewed by Julia

ISBN 9780451495594

Both of Nina George's two books thus far, the first, "The Little Paris Bookshop", and her latest, "The Little French Bistro", bear the simplest titles yet contain some of the most beautiful, soulful fiction I've ever read.  She's become a favorite author of mine; her writing feels like a balm to the heart and soul, time spent with your dearest and oldest friend.  While reading her work, I begin to hear my inner voice more clearly, and see more beauty and passion in life.  She writes for seekers and lovers, each tale is adventurous, romantic, and delves into French mysticism.  But as with real life, among the beauty we also experience true pain. This latest novel, "Little Paris Bistro", is about a 60 year old woman Marianne, who jumps into the river in Paris, hoping to drown her emptiness but finding herself instead gravitating towards changing her life among the living.  A painted tile found in a hospital leads her to a village by the sea, where she reconnects with music, builds deep friendships, and discovers the confident healer within who has lain dormant far too long.  A very lively and engaging mix of characters experience catharsis alongside Marianne, finding ways to confront their pasts and regretted decisions, facing the dawn of new days lived from a different approach and thereby engaging the true meaning of "carpe diem".  Their stories resonate with the sensibility that where there is deep pain, there is opportunity for profound healing, and where there is stagnancy, there is opportunity for change and growth.  As George says in reference to the recurring theme of new beginnings present in each of her characters' lives, "There are many people living an uneigentliches Leben (inauthentic life).  It is the hardest thing to step out of these self-constructed cages... It is not necessary to hide yourself, your yearnings, your skills."  If the word stagnancy sends a familiar chill up your spine, if you yearn to be brave, if you daydream about travel to new places, good food, true love, and choosing to live your everyday life as fully as possible, you will enjoy wading into and swimming in the sumptuous waters of Nina George!

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