The Awakening of Miss Prim
by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera
Atria Paperback, 2014. 258 pages. Fiction.
When Prudencia Prim leaves her secure but boring job in the city to become a personal librarian to an eccentric man in a tiny village, she finds her entire way of thinking turned upside down. Will living in a village that embraces the values of another century help her find the peace and self-assurance that had become lost through modern living?
This was a charming book that reminded me of gentle books from the 1930s by D.E. Stevenson or E.F. Benson, brimming with soft wit and courtly manners. And I think the reason for this nostalgic sweetness is from the entire premise of returning to a less frenzied time in history. The setting is modern, but the characters value the slow-moving lifestyle reminiscent of earlier times and watching Miss Prim adapt to a more introspective way of living makes you want to join her in her little European village. The plot is not fast-moving by any means, but the real joy of the book is not in the action but in the inaction, in watching the little daily dramas that make up small town life. This was a really cozy book to read and just makes you feel good in the end.