Sunday, June 5, 2022

The Boardwalk Bookshop

The Boardwalk Bookshop
  The Boardwalk Bookshop
Author:  Susan Mallery
Publication Information:  MIRA. 2022. 432 pages.
ISBN:  0778333299 / 978-0778333296

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley and a publisher's blog tour free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "I thought there'd be more sex."

Favorite Quote:  "Crap happens all the time. You can't avoid it, but you can develop skills to deal with it. Bad things are in your future... I can't tell you what or when, but they're going to happen. The secret isn't to avoid the. The secret is to be strong enough to survive them... I'm suggesting there are ways to strengthen  your sense of self and to add to your emotional tool kit, if you will, so that when the bad stuff happens, you can cope."

***** BLOG TOUR *****


I have to admit. I choose to read this book based simply on the title. The summer, the beach, and a bookshop ... a perfect combination. The fact that it's from Susan Mallery who writes lovely escapist beach reads is an added bonus. This book ticks all the boxes.

Strangers whose paths cross become friends. Friends turn into the family you choose. Bree, Ashley, and Mikki all happen to meet when all three are looking at a property on the beach for their respective businesses. Bree owns a bookstore. Ashley owns and runs a bakery. Mikki has a gift shop. Individually, none of them needs the size of the space, and none of them can afford it on their own. So, these three strangers join forces and decide to colocate their businesses. Three women supporting each other and building each other up, three business owners, three entrepreneurs, three friends. A lovely setup for a story.

In their personal lives, each suffers her own challenges. Bree bears the scars of childhood neglect and a marriage that was based on anything but love. Ashley wonder if the man she thinks is the love of her wants the same things that she does and how far she is willing to compromise. Mikki is divorced but contemplating where her future lies. Tied in are relationships with parents, in-laws, and children.

The book has its share of romance and physical descriptions. Fortunately, the focus stays on the story and the growth of these three women through their individual challenges and in their friendship.

As in other Susan Mallery books, some of the situations are exaggerated. Some of the characters are a little too perfect. Yet, enough of the characters and the events are relatable and ring true. The characters of the three women ring true and keep me engaged through the story even though I know exactly where it is going to end. That is part of what makes it a perfect summer beach reach. I know what to expect, and it delivers.

Also, as with other Susan Mallery books, in the middle of the romance and lightheartedness, the book deals with serious issues. Emotional abuse of a child is perhaps the most significant one in this book. It presents the issue through the lens of an adult who grows up as a neglected child - one who at best is ignored and at worst repeatedly told that her birth was an unexpected surprise and that her presence is an intrusion to her parents' lives. She grows up feeling unlovable and incapable of love. She repeats the patterns of her childhood as an adult. She shuts down emotionally, preferring the lack of feeling to the possible chance of being betrayed again. What I appreciate about this book is that there is no instant solution - through the right guy or the right friends. It depicts the help of professionals and specifically states the work and time that must go into healing. At the same time, it does emphasize the role family and friends can play - for staging an intervention to being there to taking the time to understand and love, flaws and all. This, for me, is the lasting image of this book.

About the Author 

SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship and romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations," and readers seem to agree—forty million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She's passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two Ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as Mom.

About the Book

With her unique brand of witty, emotional storytelling, Susan Mallery's latest is a heartfelt tale of friendship between three women brought together by chance who open a bookshop together on the boardwalk of the California beaches and ultimately become one another's family. Fans of Elin Hilderbrand, Robyn Carr and Susan Wiggs will love The Boardwalk Bookshop!

Brought together by chance, Bree, Mikki, and Ashley become fast friends and open up a beachfront bookshop together, bringing together their three different businesses. To celebrate, each Friday at sunset they pop open champagne on the beach and enjoy the sunset together. Little did they know that that chance meeting and this simple ritual would make them one another’s family.

Bree owns the bookshop. Funny that she can’t stand authors. They’re far too demanding. But when NYT bestselling author Harding Burton, the memoirist who wrote about being paralyzed as a teenager and how he fought his way back, comes in, Bree never expected to actually like him. But anything beyond casual sex is out of the question for her. She trusts no one—a brutal first marriage and a painful childhood taught her well. Still as much as she wants to walk away, she can’t quite do it…

Ashley, Harding’s brother, owns the muffin shop and she has her own problems. She’s been happily in love with her boyfriend, Seth, for eight years. He’s thoughtful, supportive, kind, generous…but he hasn’t proposed and, she can’t hold it in any longer. When he announces that marriage isn’t for him, she’s shocked. And as much as she wishes this was enough, the truth is that she wants to be married. But what now?

And Mikki, the gift shop owner, is getting a second chance. She married her high school sweetheart, but three kids and completely different interests made them drift apart until they divorced a few years ago. They’re still close for the kids, but when someone new enters her life, he makes her feel appreciated and alive. Suddenly Mikki’s ex is making her dinner and asking her advice and Mikki must choose between the man she loved and let go of—and a chance for a brand new beginning.

Q&A with Susan Mallery
What are your Favorite: food, beverage, pet, place visited, place you would like to visit, car, etc?
  • Favorite food: Chocolate and bread are tied for first place.
  • Favorite beverage: wine—I’m a big fan of Washington wines, which is why I wrote The Vineyard at Painted Moon, a book that came out in 2021.
  • Favorite pet: A mom isn’t supposed to have favorites, but I’ll confess just to you—Alex, my cat, is my guy. He always wants to be close to me, and I love that, too. You’ll often see him when I do virtual events, usually demanding dinner and affection, in that order. I do love my dog Kelli, too, but she’s more into her daddy than she is me.
  • Favorite place visited: My husband and I enjoy cruises. We’ve visited so many wonderful places, but one country whose beauty surprised me was Estonia. It’s filled with historical character and charm, and the people are warm and delightful.
  • I also love visiting my hometown, Los Angeles. That’s why I set The Boardwalk Bookshop in LA, so I could spend a few months in California—in my imagination, that is.
  • Place I would like to visit: Our next cruise will be to the British Isles, and I’m very excited. I’ll share pictures on Facebook and Instagram. I’m @susanmallery in both places, if you’d like to travel there vicariously.
  • Favorite car: My husband’s a total car guy. I’m mostly indifferent, though there are features I love. Heated seats are very nice, but a heated steering wheel is true luxury. When I need to know what kind of car a character would drive, I describe the character to Mr. Mallery and let him decide.
Tell us about your latest book, who is the main character(s) and what can we expect when we pick it up?
The Boardwalk Bookshop is about three strangers—Bree, Mikki and Ashley—who lease a beachfront retail location together and the friendship that blossoms among them. Bree owns the bookshop, Mikki the gift shop, and Ashley the bakery. I wanted to explore the transformative power of friendship. Because they have one another, these women are empowered with the strength and courage to change their lives. The Boardwalk Bookshop is an emotional, uplifting story that you’ll finish with a happy sigh. And I hope it will inspire you to strengthen your own bonds of friendship.

Bree is one of the most wounded characters I’ve ever written—hurt by neglectful parents when she was young, and by repeating that pattern with the man she married. Now widowed, she’s determined to protect herself at all costs. Then Ashley’s brother comes to her bookshop, a motivational author and adventurer who has inspired the world with his story. . . and teaches her that loneliness is a choice she doesn’t have to make. If only she can find the courage to risk her heart again.

Mikki is kind of rocking her divorce, or so she thinks. She and her ex have remained friends, and the whole family still celebrates holidays together. But when she starts dating again and meets a guy with real potential, things get messy fast. Mikki is one of those women who goes into mom mode for anyone in need of nurturing. She also has a wicked sense of humor and a very special, secret relationship that I know will make readers laugh. And maybe blush.

The youngest of the three friends, Ashley is deeply in love with the guy of her dreams. And he loves her, too! Finally, she found The One. Except she’s about to discover that Seth doesn’t believe in marriage. He believes that love is stronger when people make a choice every day to stay together. Can she be happy with him forever, even if she never becomes his wife?

Which of the characters in The Boardwalk Bookshop would you want to have a drink/coffee and a chat with?
I love them all, but if I have to choose, I’ll go with Bree. She’s the most complicated and the most snarky, and I find snarky, complicated women endlessly amusing. Plus, she owns a bookshop! Hello!

Buy Links
Barnes & Noble:
Google Play:
Apple Books:

Social Links

Twitter: @susanmallery
Facebook: @susanmallery
Instagram: @susanmallery
Author website:

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