What’s New & Noteworthy in Paperback?

This week, we went digging into our piles of new paperback releases and came back with an eclectic array to submit to your consideration. Since it all depends on your inclination, let’s start here: In the mood for a story of lost/unrequited love with a detective twist? Take a look at Hélène Gestern’s latest novel, L’Eau qui dort (Arléa), as bittersweet and perfectly executed as a Claude Sautet movie. Historical fiction enthusiasts? Don’t let La Nuit des Béguines pass you by.

In your opinion, does entertainment rhyme with crime? Then the high voltage narrative of La Daronne––winner of the Grand Prix de Litérature Policière 2019, and of the Prix Le Point du Polar––may be the choice for you.

In case your tastes dictate a more acclaimed author, let us ask whether you have read Après La chute (When We Fell) by Dennis Lehane? Perhaps not his most memorable work but a definitely enjoyable one!

Reading List

L'Eau qui dort by Hélène Gestern

In case you’re feeling nostalgic for (French) provincial towns in an autumnal rain, for Claude Sautet’s atmospheres, for stories of abandonment and unrequited loves, then L’Eau qui dort, Hélène Gestern’s latest bestselling novel might be just what you are looking for!

Benoît Lauzanne, a salesman in his mid-forties, lives a loveless and monotonous life with his wife Sabine in Paris. When he learns about his own firing, he decides to change his name to Martin, to end his marital ordeal, and to remain in V., a provincial town of no particular interest where he happened to be for an aborted work meeting.

A local community garden offers him free room and board in exchange for a few hours of work. It’s a golden opportunity for Martin/Benoît to reassess his own life, and also maybe to investigate a woman he catches a glimpse of, who resembles Irinia — a lost love.who disappeared 20 years ago from Martin/Benoît’s life.

After Eux sur la photo, and L’Odeur de la forêt, Gestern has written a sumptuous tale of longing and memory. This remarkable storyteller keeps her readers on their toes, feeling both impressed and grateful for such lasting bliss!

L’Eau qui dort, a novel by Hélène Gestern, Arléa
Click here to purchase this book with us.

La Nuit des Béguines by Aline Kiner

In a mood for suspenseful historical fiction? Give Aline Kiner’s La Nuit des Beguines a try!

Paris in the Middle-Age. In the heart of Le Marais, one can find a community like no other. Founded by Saint Louis, it shelters unmarried women living a convent-like existence, except for the fact that they are free, submitted to no will other than their own.

By 1310, Philippe Le bel has succeeded Saint Louis as King of France, and he is waging wars on everyone likely to contest his or the Pope’s authority. Maheut, a young red-headed woman, asks the community for protection. The old herbalist Ysold takes her under her wing, but the other residents look fearfully at her. In their view, The King’s animosity toward the community is enough of a burden, they do not need to care for a stranger with a troubled past on top of everything else. Not to mention that one of them, Marguerite de Porete, has just been burnt alive for heresy.

Alice Kiner’s passion for this world is infectious. It’s impossible to resist the adventure of this community of women who fearlessly resisted the ambient bigotry of their times.

La Nuit des Béguines, a novel by Aline Kiner, Liana Lévi
Click here to purchase this book with us.

La Daronne by Hannelore Cayre

Patience Hortefeux, 55 years old, providing for her two teenage daughters and her mother, who lives in a senior-care facility, is worried. All the money she makes — as an off-the-books translator for the French Justice Department — goes to taking care for her family: she has no savings, no retirement plan, no one she can count on.

Her work as translator for a narcotics squad allows her to remotely follow tremendous amount of cash. One day, she crosses the line, and so begins one of the most thrilling, irreverent, and hilariously funny crime stories of the year!

La Daronne, a novel by Hannelore Cayre, Points
Click here to purchase this book with us.

After an on-air mental breakdown, former journalist Rachel Childs spends her days as a shut-in. She is less preoccupied by the loss of her former perfect life in a Boston suburban house with her former ideal husband, however, than she is concerned by her ability to overcome her new phobia.

On a rare occasion that she ventures outside, she crosses path with Brian Delecroix, the private detective who helped her identify the father she never knew, after the death of her mother more than a decade ago. They hit it off immediately and Rachel sees him in a new light.

Could the tall, dark, handsome Briam Delecroix be the partner Rachel needed?
Given how quickly she recovers once the two get engaged and married, one is tempted to agree. But new issues keep coming up troubling their marital bliss…

Let’s be honest here, Since We fell isn’t Dennis Lehane’s best work or his most plausible plot. BUT the not-as-great work by a genius author remains an incredibly entertaining page-turner. This dark romantic comedy is a light read –hard to believe at times– but stays impossible to put down throughout! A perfect antidote to the bleak summer we are now facing.

Après la chute, a novel by Dennis Lehane, trans. from the English by Isabelle Maillet, Rivages Noir

Click here to purchase this book with us.

After almost two decades of working in publishing, and a few round trips between Paris and New York, Miriam has decided to settle down at Albertine to do what she enjoys most: recommending books she loves. Somehow this also includes taking bizarre pictures for Albertine's social media outlets.
Other recommendations by Miriam Bridenne