Review of The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

Published: 5th April 2015
Publisher: Gallic Books
Pages: 208


Bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street, and feels impelled to return it to its owner. The bag contains no money, phone or contact information. But a small red notebook with handwritten thoughts and jottings reveals a person that Laurent would very much like to meet. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?


Thank you to ED PR for kindly sending me a review copy.

The Red Notebook begins with a frantic rush, panic, blood and darkness. A woman (whose identity we do not know yet) is robbed right in front of her building door. Her purse, keys, tissues – everything has been taken. Soon, we learnt that our female character, Laure is safe in a hotel room and despite not knowing her identity (when robbed), readers can still sympathise with her and some may even relate. We then are introduced to Laurent, our male character. For me, the similarity of the name was a little bit too much but the idea of the book kept me hooked.

“It was remarkable how, in situations like this, all the tiny details that had seemed totally insignificant an hour before suddenly seemed to conspire against you.”

The handbag is found just before 20 pages and who knew what would happen in the upcoming nameless/numberless chapters. I liked how he attempted to hand the bag into the police station but after a quick decision, he returned to his bookshop. I noticed very early on of how the descriptions are rather short, straight to the point yet simply effective all at once. The inclusion of snippets from Laure’s notebook were added beautifully into the narrative. Despite us technically snooping, it was kind of exciting knowing that he would soon put the jigsaw pieces together and hopefully find her.

“… as Dominique kissed him, the phrase ‘I’m scared of ants’ seemed to take root permanently in his brain.”

I really liked the premise of the book; it sounded sweet and romantic – it was but it seemed to be on a low notch and the characters just glided along with barely any humps and bumps. I enjoyed reading about Paris, I mean, who doesn’t? The bookshop elements were my favourite (no surprise there), however, I just wasn’t crazy about the plot.