Book Review: The Red Notebook, by Antoine Laurain

Publisher:  Gallic Books

Publication date:  2nd March 2015

Source:  Kindle [My own purchased copy]

I purchased The Red Notebook after seeing it showcased on Jill’s Book Cafe in one of her lovely blog posts, otherwise I’m pretty sure I would have passed this one by – huge thanks, Jill!

I’m clueless as to how the contents of a stolen handbag could provide such a mesmerising focus for the duration of an entire book, but it did!

The distinctive purple leather bag could almost be classed a character as every item contained within breathed life into its journey: from the moment it was separated from its owner in the first chapter to await discovery by a curious bookseller, Laurent Letellier. It was in plain sight so anyone could have seen it but it was the bookseller that stumbled across it and it would change the direction of his life.

I loved how a single serendipitous moment is threaded through the pages with the most charming effect. Laurent is drawn to the haphazard jottings in a little red notebook he found in the discarded bag and his growing fascination with the unknown scribbler motivates him to reunite the random private thoughts with their owner.

Analysing aspects of her personality with only a handful of personal effects as clues is the most wonderful process. ‘Things’ can appear quite ordinary by themselves but combined they create the rare fingerprint of a lady’s life as no two handbags are ever the same.

It goes without saying that being the custodian of this peculiar lost property will have its memorable moments, as invading a stranger’s privacy sparks the jealousy of Laurent’s partner and offers a surprise introduction to a cat belonging to the owner of The Red Notebook, which eventually makes him wonder if anything positive can be achieved as a result of his covert endeavours!

As a reader I knew the identity and whereabouts of the enigmatic lady in question as is was shared with me but not with Laurent. It’s the most enchanting mystery where the paths of two people crossover without them ever having met. The ending was literally a perfectly placed punctuation mark, which will become clear if you read this story for yourself.

The Red Notebook is a thoroughly delightful and uplifting book and I could have happily have spent more time in its company. Wonderful!

Rating:  5/5

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street and feels impelled to return it to its owner. The bag contains no money, phone or contact information. But a small red notebook with handwritten thoughts and jottings reveals a person that Laurent would very much like to meet. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?


(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Novelist, journalist, screenwriter and collector of antique keys Antoine Laurain was born in Paris in the early 1970s. After studying cinema, he began his career directing short films and writing screenplays. His passion for art led him to take a job assisting an antiques dealer in Paris, an experience which provided the inspiration for his prize-winning debut novel.

Published on the eve of the French presidential elections of 2012, Antoine Laurain’s novel The President’s Hat is a Kindle top 5 bestseller and a Waterstones Book Club choice. In the USA, Antoine Laurain was selected for the ABA’s ‘Indies Introduce Debut Authors’ for Fall 13.

The Red Notebook was published in spring 2015. Antoine’s latest novel, French Rhapsody, was published in autumn 2016.

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22 thoughts on “Book Review: The Red Notebook, by Antoine Laurain

  1. I actually didn’t read the ending! It still annoys me 😀 because I bought it for a friend as a gift and had to read it before giving her (oh the shame, I know), and I couldn’t in time xD I literally couldn’t read like the last 20 pages. It’s awful xD

    Liked by 1 person

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