Tuesday 30 June 2020

Guest Review: Crazy in Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling

Nina is addicted to bad boys, the wilder, the better. Despite her friends’ misgivings, she firmly believes that true love only takes one form: wild, full of passion and fire and punctuated by tempestuous arguments. She won’t settle for anything less.
But years of swiping right has uncovered nothing but losers and flings, and Nina is no closer to finding her One True Love than she ever was. And when a man from her past walks into the shop Nina knows she has nothing to fear: the geekiest boy in her school has become a boring suit with no chance of making her heart go pitter patter.
Which just shows how little Nina knows about her heart…

Review: This is the third book in the Lonely Hearts Bookshop series by Annie Darling. I have read and enjoyed the first two parts in the series, and have been looking forward to continuing the stories behind those who work in the bookshop. This part could be read as a stand-alone, but I would recommend reading the other two parts of the series first for complete understanding of the story; there is frequent reference to events from the first two parts. I relished the opportunity to catch up with characters I had met in the previous books and to learn more about one in particular who took centre stage in this story.

The central character this time is Nina, a bookseller in the Happy Ever After bookshop, a store specialising in romantic fiction. Nina is obsessed with Wuthering Heights, and with Heathcliff in particular. She is searching for her own Heathcliff, but rarely progresses past the first date with men from the dating app she uses. She believes that she knows all the attributes of the man of her dreams. However, when Noah comes into her life, having been employed to help the bookshop’s owner grow the business, she finds herself becoming attracted to someone who strangely does not fit her requirements. What’s more, she realises that Noah is the awkward boy from her school days who at that time was branded a geek and bullied, and would rather that he didn’t remember her connection with that period in his life.

I loved the story of Nina. I think it is a classic situation of someone being absolutely sure of what they want and being surprised when they are attracted to the exact opposite. There is also the situation, familiar to us all, of not recognising someone out of context. By the time Nina places Noah, it is too late in their relationship for her to do anything and the reader is left holding their breath waiting for the penny to drop for him as well - excellent storytelling. I can’t say I liked Nina’s lifestyle at the start of the story, but at least she was willing to change. I really liked Noah, in particular the way he quietly observed people and took everything in; this was evidenced by a perfect surprise he planned for Nina. As with the other books in the series, there was a fair amount of humour in this story, often resulting from the banter among the bookshop staff. Definitely a book I would recommend for anyone wishing to escape for a few hours.

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