The Readers’ Room by Antoine Laurain – Book Review
The Readers’ Room by Antoine Laurain
The Readers’ Room
Author – Antoine Laurain
Publisher – Gallic Books
Pages – 176
Released – 22nd September 2020
ISBN-13 – 978-1910477977
Format – ebook, paperback, hardcover
Rating – 4 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
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When the manuscript of a debut crime novel arrives at a Parisian publishing house, everyone in the readers’ room is convinced it’s something special. And the committee for France’s highest literary honour, the Prix Goncourt, agrees.
But when the shortlist is announced, there’s a problem for editor Violaine Lepage: she has no idea of the author’s identity. As the police begin to investigate a series of murders strangely reminiscent of those recounted in the book, Violaine is not the only one looking for answers. And, suffering memory blanks following an aeroplane accident, she’s beginning to wonder what role she might play in the story …
Review by Stacey
Editor of The Reader’s Room, Parisian publishers, Violaine Lepage is on her way to the USA when the plane she is travelling in crashes leaving her badly injured and in a coma for weeks. Before she left a manuscript which had the team in a flap arrived in the office called Sugar Flowers. The team thought the short thriller was so good that it was going to be the big hitter that won them the prestigious Prix Goncourt award.
The author of the manuscript is being elusive and they are not even sure whether they are male or female. The team decided to run with the book. However, not long after publication, the events in the book catch the attention of the French police who are investigating murders that seem to be identical to those in the Sugar Flowers.
Violaine Lepage can’t be of any help to the officers who want to know who the author is, as she doesn’t know. Plus, since the crash, she seems to have lost quite a lot of her memory and doesn’t recognise the person she used to be.
The Reader’s Room is a short mystery book at just 176 pages. It has been perfectly translated from French into English. The blurb had me very interested in the book, what book lover doesn’t want to read about events in a book becoming true?
The beginning was a little slow as it is mainly about Violaine, her injuries, the crash, memory loss, her life as an editor, and how she labelled certain people. The book doesn’t really get going fully until the mysterious Sugar Flowers is released.
It is quite a descriptive book which some readers will love and others not so much. Everything is described in a lot of detail, plus there are a lot of characters too, some appear and then disappear again without adding much to the plot. Whilst others have you second-guessing what their role in the manuscript and subsequently killings is.
I read The Readers’ Room in one afternoon as once I had gotten through the initial few chapters the pace picked up and I began to quickly fly through the pages. I was hooked. I wanted to know who the author of Sugar Flowers was, were the killings related to the book? I had my suspicions from early on and in part I was right but there was far more than I had predicted going on and plenty of plot twists I hadn’t seen coming.
This is a story that weaves together many subplots and has you wondering how they can be connected. It was certainly an interesting and captivating read that kept me entertained for an afternoon.