The Red Notebook – Antoine Laurain – Review

Gallic Books

Publication date – 5 April 2015

Translated by Jane Aitken and Emily Boyce


“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?”

4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publishers and this is my honest review.

Laure is walking home one evening when her bag is stolen. Events take a turn for the worse and she is unable to do anything to track down her much loved possession.

Laurent is on his way to the local café the next morning when he sees a bag lying on top of rubbish bins. He makes a spur of the moment decision to save the bag and deliver it to the police station. Unable to do this, he opens the bag, hoping to discover the owner’s identity and return it to her. The only clue to the owner is her red notebook. Though it doesn’t contain her name, Laurent builds a picture of the notebook owner through her words and becomes determined to meet her in person.

I have previously read The President’s Hat by the same author and one of the things that I took away from that book was the author’s ability to weave a sense of magic into such a short space. The same is apparent in The Red Notebook.

This is a charming story of Laure and Laurent. I found myself routing for Laurent from the beginning. I just kept hoping that he would be seen as romantic and not as a stalker! He is very likeable character, well aware of his flaws but charming and kind. Laure too is a similar character and having met tragedy in her life, you want the happy ending for her too. The other characters that appear, fleetingly in some instances, all help drive the tale along.

I was easily transported to the streets of Paris. In fact this story made me want to revisit it even more. Part of the romance of the story comes from the city itself, giving the story a wonderfully warm feel.

Whilst short on words; there are approximately 200 pages, the story does not feel any less for it. It’s brevity in places was necessary and the flow of the novel felt just right.

There is mystery, romance and friendship running throughout this book. It was a lovely little read and one I will probably revisit again.

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