Friday, October 14, 2016

A Respite from the Darkness with Jenny Colgan

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If you are reading this blog then it's a safe bet that you might resemble Nina Redmond, Jenny Colgan's delightful heroine, who blatantly admits she prefers books to people. Haven't we all felt that way sometimes? Especially lately?

Nina is a librarian whose forte is matching patrons with the perfect book. She loves her work, but as those of us in the business have already learned, the times they are a changin'. In Birmingham, England, funds are dwindling and libraries are forced to reinvent themselves. You know the terms... maker spaces, community centers, digital labs. Books? Well, they no longer fit into the equation.

Staff members are let go but told that they may reapply for their jobs IF they are willing to wear the new hats required of them. Nina tries, but she just can't stop herself from rhapsodizing about books during her interview. Wrong move.

Yes, this novel is a romantic comedy, perhaps a little too heartfelt for some tastes, but every now and then don't we all just need a book that makes us feel that all's right with the world? I know that I do. (Thank you Alexander McCall Smith!) I thoroughly enjoyed watching Nina stretch a bit, move out of her comfort zone, and stand on her own two feet, all the while turning a life-long dream into reality.

"The Bookshop on the Corner," is actually a refurbished van, one that Nina travels all the way to the wilds of Scotland to purchase. We watch as she slowly falls in love with the people and the quiet of the countryside, such a far cry from the chaos of downtown Birmingham. With the aid of her plucky roommate, Nina ships cartons of books by train, managing to fall for one of the conductors in the process, to the Highlands, where she meets a wonderful cast of characters while operating her traveling bookstore.

Colgan has a great sense of humor, offering some laugh-out-loud moments that librarians and booklovers will especially relate to. She'll also make you want to book a trip to Scotland asap, a country she obviously loves and where she apparently makes her own home. If you're looking for a break from the ugly reality of the news of the day, Jenny Colgan should be your go-to woman. Reading her will give a boost to your feel-good pheromones!

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