When you’re part of a book club, sometimes you read things that you would never have chosen to read otherwise. However, when my book club chose The Emperor of Paris, it had already been on my must-read list since I’d first read this description:
Like his father before him, Octavio runs the Notre-Dame bakery, and knows the secret recipe for the perfect Parisian baguette. But, also like his father, Octavio has never mastered the art of reading and his only knowledge of the world beyond the bakery door comes from his own imagination. Just a few streets away, Isabeau works out of sight in the basement of the Louvre, trying to forget her disfigured beauty by losing herself in the paintings she restores and the stories she reads. The two might never have met, but for a curious chain of coincidences involving a mysterious traveller, an impoverished painter, a jaded bookseller, and a book of fairytales, lost and found . . .
It’s a book about reading, baking, love, and art. How could you not want to read it?
The Emperor of Paris is elegantly written, with memorable characters and so many sensory details that you can almost smell the bread and feel the books. I read this book quickly and I know I’ll read it again.
In addition to loving the story, I also loved the design of the book. When you first open it, there is a If Lost, Please Return To page. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in a novel before. What a great detail.
I also loved the look and feel of the front cover and some of the other design elements that you only pick up on when you hold this book in your hands and examine all the pages. Well done to the designers, Kelly Hill and Terri Nimmo.
Our book club was lucky enough to welcome the author CS Richardson to our meeting for the discussion. He talked to us about his writing process and how this book came about. He was so kind and really appreciated hearing our comments and questions about the book. He was also gracious enough to sign my copy of his book, which makes it even more special.
I highly recommend reading The Emperor of Paris. And if you do, make sure to leave me a comment and let me know what you think!