New in Review: The Emperor of Paris

Author: C.S Richardson

Publisher: Random House of Canada Ltd

  • Imprint: Doubleday Canada

Date Published: August 14 st, 2012

Format: Hardcover

Source: Bought at Indigo


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….

Number of Days It Took to Read: 2


emperor of apris cover

The cover is exquisite and as the book is really about the city of Paris and the people who live there I think it is a great cover for this particular book. Simple and beautiful it truly does reflect the story contained in the pages of the book.

The Writing Score: 3.5 out of 5

Recommendation: A Casual Perusal

Memorable or Forgettable: Memorable

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


This book was recommended to me by @RandomHouseCanada on twitter although having previously screened the book trailer it did not take much to convince me to pick this one up.

While the book starts off extremely slow, and the writing style threw me off for a few pages I was able to settle into the book within a couple of pages. The writing and plot is very simplistic and if I can recall correctly the authour previously mentioned in an interview that he does not like to waste words. This is evident throughout the book as it allows him to tell his story in a more clear way. However despite the simplicity of the writing, I loved how the authour was able to write in a way that made very ordinary things appear extraordinary

The plot in the book shifted around a lot both in terms of time as well as characters. Still I was able to get used to and eventually pick out the present story from the flashbacks. Being an avid reader myself I especially loved how the plot wove the idea of how stories can be like magic and how they can bring two people together.

Speaking of the two people, the book has two main characters in the forms of Isabeau Normande, a disfigured young woman with a love of books whose job is to restore works of art and Octavio Notre-Dame the baker with “word blindness” or dyslexia as it is now known. Nevertheless the book does not solely focus on their point of view. Instead we follow numerous characters that live in the city of Paris at different times. The reader gets to see how Octavio’s parents met as well as how Isabeau’s parents met. Additionally as the story shows how other characters in the book including an artist, a musician and a book seller view the city of Paris and the people living there. Overall this was a pleasant read and I would recommend it for people who love books and a good story that isn’t as fast paced as many other books.

– Linh

The opinions expressed in this review are my own; I did not receive any compensation in exchange for this review.

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