SHORT AND SWEET REVIEW: THE AWAKENING OF MISS PRIM

Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet). Sometimes I have too many books to do a full-length review!

The title of this clever book by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera caught my eye – it jumped out at me. Whether it was because of the “awakening” theme or the name Miss Prim, I don’t know, but it clearly sent a message: read me. The blurb was similarly appealing – have a read and see what you think:

The Awakening of Miss Prim

In this #1 international bestseller, a young woman leaves everything behind to work as a librarian in a remote French village, where she finds her outlook on life and love challenged in every way. Prudencia Prim is a young woman of intelligence and achievement, with a deep knowledge of literature and several letters after her name. But when she accepts the post of private librarian in the village of San Ireneo de Arnois, she is unprepared for what she encounters there. Her employer, a book-loving intellectual, is dashing yet contrarian, always ready with a critique of her cherished Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott. The neighbors, too, are capable of charm and eccentricity in equal measure, determined as they are to preserve their singular little community from the modern world outside. Prudencia hoped for friendship in San Ireneo but she didn’t suspect that she might find love—nor that the course of her new life would run quite so rocky or would offer challenge and heartache as well as joy, discovery, and fireside debate. Set against a backdrop of steaming cups of tea, freshly baked cakes, and lovely company, The Awakening of Miss Prim is a distinctive and delightfully entertaining tale of literature, philosophy, and the search for happiness.

A captivating story about the little things in life, The Awakening of Miss Prim is an intelligent read that’s more than a little out of the box. For that reason, it’s probably not for everyone – you have to be interested in debating the big ideas of literature and philosophy to really immerse yourself in it. It’s a character-driven book rather than plot-driven and it moves rather slowly (which is not a bad thing, but again, won’t suit everyone), which focuses on the beautiful awakening of Miss Prim as her ideas about life are challenged time and time again. True to the theme of leaving the modern world behind, the writing has an old-fashioned, almost formal feel, which is quaint, and to me, rather delightful. Reviews are mixed – it seems that this is one of those books you’ll either love or not … so I’m keen to hear from readers how it struck them.

The Awakening of Miss Prim is available from good bookstores. My copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster.