Thursday, September 21, 2017

How to Find Love in a Book Shop

Title:  How to Find Love in a Book Shop
Author:  Veronica Henry
Publication Information:  Pamela Dorman Books. 2017. 352 pages.
ISBN:  0735223491 / 978-0735223493

Book Source:  I received this book through the Penguin First to Read program free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "He would never have believed it if you'd told him a year ago."

Favorite Quote:  "It was the kind of bookshop that stole time:  people had been know to miss meetings and trains, lost among the shelves."

Sometimes I just need a feel good book. A book about small town life with everyone knowing everyone and all lives intermingled has its quirky characters. Sweet love stories often make a charming read. As an avid reader, of course, I am a sucker for books set in and around bookshops or libraries. It's an added bonus when I can have all of that in one.

This book works. It's not complicated. It's not hard to envision how the story will go or how the book will end. There is no great mystery. There are no action sequences. There is no big denouement. It is simply a sweet, charming story that is perfect for a beach read or a cozy fall read with a blanket and a cup of tea.

The book begins with an ending. Emilia's father dies. She is devastated as her father was the one parent she ever knew. Life will never be the same. Not for Emilia and not for many others in the small village of Peasebrook. Julius Nightingale was the owner and operator of Nightingale Books (such a lovely name for a bookshop!). He moved to town with his infant daughter and never left. He lived a quiet life in his little bookshop in a quiet town. Yet, his death leaves a bigger gap in the town's life than his daughter ever imagined.

The book briefly tells Julian's own tragic love story, but the main story is about Emilia and the other residents of Peasebrook.  Every character has a story, and almost everyone has a love story. A secret love. An old flame. A love too shy to express itself. A love that remains quiet because it feels unworthy. A love lost. A love tested by the arrival of a child. A selfish emotion that calls itself love. A friendship that now shows glimmers of something more. A once-love that is now more a friendship and a partnership. Love and life in the town of Peasebrook gravitates around Emilia and Nightingale Books.

The individual love stories are tempered by the love of a community for one of its own. The town (or at least most of the town) gathers around Emilia through her father's death and through the fact that Nightingale Books is in financial trouble. Julius was dedicated to the people in his life; he was much more lax about the business end of Nightingale Books. His illness exacerbates the problem, and Emilia inherits a mess. A developer stands ready to pounce of the valuable real estate. To Emilia, the store is her childhood, her legacy, and her promise to her father all rolled up in one. However, can she make it work with the physical and financial mess Julian leaves behind? With her own persistence and with a little help from her friends, maybe - just maybe - she can.

As a reader, I find myself engaged in her story and in all the love stories in the book. I hope that each and every one works out.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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