Review: The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

red notebookThe Red Notebook tells the story of Laurent Letellier, a bookseller living in Paris. One day, he finds an abandoned ladies handbag. Looking inside with a hope to reuniting it with its owner, he finds no money, wallet or personal contact information. What he does find is a small, red notebook which is full of handwritten private thoughts, lists and jottings. The longer he spends in possession of this notebook, the more it reveals someone who Laurent wants to get to know – a woman named Laure. This book is his journey to try to find her in a city full of strangers.

Written by Antoine Laurain, this book has been translated from French by Jane Aitken and Emily Boyce. I’d previously read The President’s Hat so I had a small idea of what to expect. I loved that book so I was very excited and intrigued when The Red Notebook arrived. I love the covers of both this book and The President’s Hat. They are beautifully drawn and adds to the whimsical theme of the book.

This book isn’t very long. It is under 200 pages so I read it in a couple of sittings. It’s perfect for if you want a book for a train journey or a lazy afternoon. The style of writing is easy to get into and I was reading it not realising a huge chunk of time has passed.

Antoine, in my opinion, captures Paris so well. I’ve been twice before and I really do want to go back again after reading this book. The setting and atmosphere in this book is great.

It’s a lovely, charming story about two people who have never met. Laure especially seems a little lost. There were elements of her character I empathised and related with (aside from her name.) I lived in London for a while. I didn’t know many people there at the time and it’s amazing how lonely a large city can feel if you’re alone. Therefore, I wanted to know that she was going to be OK – especially when you read the events at the beginning of the book (I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to give it away.)

Laurent sets about finding Laure and this adds mystery to the novel. The plot works well. I did have an idea of how I wanted it to end. There was enough mystery to keep me wanting to turn the page.

This is a mystery, detective, romance and self discovery novel all in one. There is an enchanting, magical air about it.

A lovely, charming book.

(The Red Notebook is available in paperback from most major bookshops. Thank you to Gallic Books for the review copy. Click here to view on Amazon UK.)


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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