Book received from TripFiction.com
What is Love?
My rating: 5/5
Set in Toulouse, this is a moving story about love and what is important in life.
Baptiste lives on a houseboat near Toulouse, and loves his job of helping clients to explore what happiness means to them and bring it back into their lives. His friends live nearby, his parents a short drive away and he is happy with his world.
Then he meets a new client, Amadine, who is looking for something, but Baptiste can’t quite work out what it is. And so the story starts.
The story takes us back to Baptiste’s birth, how he came to be living on a houseboat, into unrest on the streets of Toulouse, to sunny days on the Canal du Midi and to Amadine.
This is a book to read, savour and think about, it is absolutely not a romantic romp through candle-lit dinners etc. There many interesting lines, such as “Love is like a garden, you have to put your mind to it and you have to grow it”; each reader will be able to take something from this book.
There are no chapter numbers, instead there is either a picture of a kingfisher or an owl heading each chapter. It is important to notice these – I didn’t and this led to some early confusion reading it.
I loved the beginning of this book, the thoughtful nature of the prose, the glimpses into life on a canal and the beautiful writing style. In the middle I got bored, wasn’t really following what was going on and got very close to giving up with the book. Thank goodness I carried on, as suddenly everything started coming together and it turned into a very strong, thought provoking and gripping book. By the end of the book I realised how the middle section was essential, and absolutely right for the book. It drew the reader in as the story led towards a dramatic change in direction.
This is one of very few books that I want to immediately re-read, as a second reading (when all has become clear) will make the confusing bit in the middle a great read. So please, please keep reading this book; do not give up when/if you become lost and bored – it is worth it in the end. So worth reading that I have given it a 5* rating, even though I was close to chucking it in the bin half way through!
I read the paperback version; the cover is beautiful and the print style lovely. A book I shall treasure not only for the story, but also the book itself. Thank you TripFiction.com (and Claire King!)
Note: I read this book without knowing anything about it. I’m disappointed to see that some reviews give away the key point of the story; that would have ruined the whole book for me. So just buy it, read it, mutter darkly about me in the middle, and then finish it and thank me for telling you to persevere with it.