Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Guest Review: How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

Nightingale Books, nestled on the high street in Peasebrook, a picture-postcard Cotswold town, is a dream comes true for booklovers. Everyone who enters falls in love with something.

But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open and the developers are circling. The temptation to sell up is proving enormous - but what about the promise she made to her father? Not to mention her customers, for whom the shop is a comfort, a meeting place, a lifeline.

There's Gary, a stable lad for a nearby trainer, who buys books to read to Nikki, who is lying in a coma. He spends every spare hour at Nikki's bedside, never giving up hope that she will come round.

Betty, who runs a supper club from her tiny cottage, has a huge crush on a man she met and then lost in the cookery section, somewhere Auguste Escoffier and Marco Pierre White.

Mrs Norris repeatedly 'forgets' to pay for her books - and Emilia never has the heart to remind her. But Mrs Norris isn't quite as forgetful as she pretends ...

And then Emilia meets Dexter, local jack-the-lad, who is looking to improve his English so he can better himself. He buys all Emilia's recommendations, and together they re-discover all her favourite authors. But Dexter has a secret, and is not all he seems...

Review: As a massive Veronica Henry fan, I was very excited to learn that her new novel was on its way. I thought that the title was quite intriguing. I actually listened to it as an audiobook whilst driving from Yorkshire to the north of Scotland, and good company it was. 

The story does revolve around a bookshop as the title suggests, but more than just one person finds love due to their connection with that single emporium. The shop in question is located in the quaint-sounding little town of Peasebrook, in the Cotswolds. It was owned by a gentleman named Julius Nightingale, who sadly passes away at the beginning of the story, leaving it in the hands of his daughter, Emilia. It's not very healthy financially, but she is keen to make a stab at running it in memory of her beloved father. As well as Emilia's story, we also meet a variety of other local inhabitants, all of whom have their own interesting subplots. The one thing that they all have in common is a love for the sadly deceased Julius. There is the family who own the local am or house, and their daughter, who is due to be married to a fairly questionable character, although the much nicer sounding gardener also has his eye on her. Other friends of Julius include Marlow, a keen musician, a retired lady who helped him out in the shop towards the end, and a local school teacher, Thomasina, who unusually also runs an exclusive one-table restaurant in her house. We also meet a young couple who have moved to the country to escape the rat race, but have they done the right thing? Everyone is ready to help Emilia in her struggle to keep the shop open. 

I really enjoyed this story. I found all of the characters likeable and believable, with the exception of Alice's creepy boyfriend of course. There was good depth to the storylines of each character and I really couldn't foresee how things were going to play out. The book's lovely cover depicts the bookshop at night with the lights streaming out, enticing the reader in very successfully. 

I would heartily recommend this as a good book to add to your holiday suitcase or just to read while relaxing in the garden. I'm sure it will pull you into Nightingale Books right from the start. 

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