STARRED REVIEW
January 2021

The Lost Manuscript

By Cathy Bonidan, translated by Emma Ramadan
If you’re the type of reader who self-soothes by losing yourself in a book and are in need of a potent comfort read, French author Cathy Bonidan’s English-language debut novel is just what the doctor ordered.
Share this Article:

If you’re the type of reader who self-soothes by losing yourself in a book and are in need of a potent comfort read, French author Cathy Bonidan’s English-language debut novel is just what the doctor ordered. Exceedingly charming and guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, The Lost Manuscript is a multilayered testament to the life-changing properties of a single book when it reaches the right reader.

Such is the case when Anne-Lise Briard stumbles upon a forgotten manuscript while on vacation in northwest France. After devouring the story, she is inspired to forward the manuscript to an address scribbled on one of its pages, hoping that she might gain some insight into the provenance of the manuscript. Never in her wildest dreams could she have anticipated that her letter would reach the manuscript’s author himself, who confesses that the last time he saw this manuscript was 30 years ago while on a flight to Montreal and that it had been only half-finished at the time. Intrigued, Anne-Lise doggedly traces the path of the manuscript to uncover its mysterious second author, a pursuit that encourages new relationships (and in some cases, romances) to flourish as she contacts the numerous individuals whose lives have been shaped by the manuscript over the years.

The Lost Manuscript is first and foremost a love letter to literature and readers. Eternally hopeful, this buoyant epistolary novel is refreshingly devoid of cynicism and instead celebrates the ways in which books can enrich our lives and foster connection. Bonidan’s parceling of a genuinely intriguing mystery and gentle romance into bite-size, elegantly written chapters makes for a swift and captivating read that, despite its sweetness and endearing quaintness, is not without substance.

The spiritual successor to the epistolary classic 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, The Lost Manuscript is a soul-satisfying book that is sure to be loved.

Trending Reviews

Get the Book

The Lost Manuscript

The Lost Manuscript

By Cathy Bonidan
St. Martin's
ISBN 9781250256300

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres every Tuesday.