Review of The Secret Paris Cinema Club by Nicolas Barreau

The Secret Paris Cinema Club

Published: 4th September 2014
Publisher: Quercus
Pages: 336


Alain Bonnard, the owner of a small art cinema in Paris, is a dyed-in-the-wool nostalgic. In his Cinéma Paradis there are no buckets of popcorn, no XXL colas, no Hollywood blockbusters. Alain holds firm to his principles of quality – to show films that bring dreams to life, make people fall in love. And Alain would do anything for his clientele – particularly the mysterious woman in the red coat who, for some time now, has turned up every Wednesday and always sits in row seventeen. What could her story be?

Finally one evening Alain plucks up courage to invite the unknown beauty to dinner. But just as the most tender of love stories is getting under way, something happens that turns Alain’s life upside down, shoving his little cinema unexpectedly into the public eye. So when the woman in the red coat suddenly vanishes from his life, the cinema owner can’t help but wonder if it is more than a coincidence. Taking matters into his own hands, Alain sets off in search of the stranger he has come to love…


Thank you to Quercus for kindly sending me a review copy.

Uncle Bernard is the reason why Alain loves old films so much. As a child, he used to dream of owning Cinema Paradis and now he does. I really liked the child to adult aspect as readers were given the chance to understood why films without popcorn are important to Alain.

The big ssshhh moment (the one which everyone is talking about) was really well thought out. I thought that Alain and the girl in the red coat were extremely well suited. As a main character, Alain was a joy to read about as he was so full of life, he was certain where he was going in the world and most of all, when he fell in love, he really did fall in love.

Nicolas writes with such intelligence and his knowledge of films is superb. However, I did find that at times, things were over explained and as a reader, I want to do some of the thinking for myself but I found that that wasn’t the case with this book. I don’t think this is the greatest love story which I’ve read but that’s just my opinion. I know a lot of other book bloggers have really enjoyed this book and as someone who studied Film at University, I honestly thought I’d love it. But all in all, I felt a little disappointed by the outcome.


One thought on “Review of The Secret Paris Cinema Club by Nicolas Barreau

  1. I’m glad that some people have enjoyed this novel. Quercus sent me a copy too, and I tried so hard to enjoy it. I started out liking it because of the film references, I took some French film modules at uni. But that just wasn’t enough for me 😦 I didn’t get very far into it before giving up, which I usually don’t do. Might give it another go!


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