Wednesday, September 21, 2016
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
Have I ever told you about my chick lit obsession? Back in the 1990s, when I was writing feverishly and belonged to a romance writers' group (because it was the only writing group that was active, although I didn't fancy myself "into" romance), I began reading romance to try to understand what my friends in the group were all about. That led me to chick lit and the discovery that I only like British chick lit, not American and definitely not Irish. At that time, Jenny Colgan was one of my absolute favorite authors. And, then I started to move away from romance when I stopped writing and left the group. I've occasionally seen Jenny Colgan's name amongst the offerings from publishers but didn't think the stories sounded right for me . . . till The Bookshop on the Corner.
I'm sure just about everyone reading this review looked at that cover and thought, "Oooooh." How could you not love it? A window crammed with shelves of beautiful books, the word "bookshop" in the title, and an author I happen to already know I enjoy were all it took for me to say, "Yes, please," to reviewing The Bookshop on the Corner.
Nina Redmond is about to lose her job as a librarian. Thanks to budget cuts, the library in Birmingham is closing and everyone is being encouraged to apply at a media center, whatever that is. Nina can't let the books be sacrificed, so she piles them into her car and begins taking loads of them home. But, her roommate, Surinder, is not happy. There are books piled everywhere in their shared flat. Then, Nina gets a brilliant idea. She'll create a rolling bookshop and sell them! That way the books will find a new home and Nina will have an income.
Unfortunately, the only van big enough to fit the task is in Scotland. After buying the van, Nina discovers Scotland is a perfect place to sell her books and she moves into an updated barn on a farm, near a grumpy landlord in the midst of a divorce. After nearly being stricken by disaster on a train track, Nina falls for a train conductor who loves poetry. Meanwhile, she's working hard at learning how to fit in with the locals. Will Nina's business survive and thrive or will she be forced to return to Birmingham? Is the train conductor the love of her life or just a diversion? And, what about those Scots?
Highly recommended - I think The Bookshop on the Corner is as much a love song to Jenny Colgan's second, adopted home in Scotland as it is a romance and a story about books. Frankly, I loved everything about it. Light-hearted writing, great characters, a sweet romance, tons of book chatter, and a dip into Scottish culture make The Bookshop on the Corner a charming, escapist read, especially great for reading on a plane or beach, or any other time you're looking for something especially light to read.
Warning: You may find yourself looking up and possibly even buying titles mentioned by Nina in the process of selling her wares. I came out of the book with only a single title on its way to me (still waiting for it to arrive) but I would have likely ordered more if there'd been a bit more detail provided. At least one book was mentioned repeatedly but without mentioning the author. Argh, frustration! I really want to look up that particular book, even though Nina keeps saying it's "rare". At any rate, there's a bit of danger to reading a book about books. I just thought you ought to know.
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