Thursday, September 21, 2017

How to Find Love in a Bookshop

Product Details
Calling all Anglophiles and book lovers. If you're afraid of opening the newspaper and would enjoy a delightful respite in the Cotswolds, then I highly recommend you become acquainted with British writer Veronica Henry. A scriptwriter from North Devon, Ms. Henry has delivered a true winner with "How to Find Love in a Bookshop." In fact I'm tempted to hop the next Virgin Atlantic flight in search of the fictional town of Peasebrook and the joy-filled Nightingale Books.

Smart, savvy Emilia Nightingale is an independent thirty-something who's lived all over the world thanks to her supportive, broad-minded dad, Julius. But now Julius is dying. Emilia hopes to make her father proud by putting down roots in Peasebrook and taking the helm of his beloved book store, a true haven for the  village's quirky residents. 

Naturally, this won't be easy. It seems that everyone loved Julius for a reason. He was generous to a fault with his time and his money. As long as he could pair a customer with a book he felt he had completed his mission in life. He should have been a librarian rather than a businessman! Fortunately, Emilia has friends who will do anything to help her keep her dad's dream alive. They buoy her up as she takes stock of the unpaid bills and the crumbling building. They provide shoulders to cry on when the crushing loss of her dad gets her down and they provide wine and food when she finds cause for celebration.

Peasebrook reminds me of Louise Penney's Three Pines or Alexander McCall Smith's Botswana. Sure, the characters may not be fully formed but they are recognizable from any small town. Thomasina, the ugly duckling who could be a swan with just a little push. A talented chef, she runs a tiny restaurant in her home, A Deux. She's smitten with the cheese seller, Jem, after running into him in Nightingales' extensive cookbook section. 

Then there's the nasty property developer who can't wait for Emilia to fail so he can low-ball a figure, force her to sell, and put up a parking garage. Not to mention Jackson, a single dad trying to win his way back into his son Finn's life by picking Emilia's brain for books that would appeal to a fidgety boy with a wild imagination. And what of Bea, a talented woman who's given up a lucrative career in London to be a stay-at-home mom? Frustrated and unhappy, might she be just the woman Emilia needs to boost Nightingales' bottom line?

There are romances galore, too, most of them wrong! But somehow we trust Ms. Henry to make it all come right by the end of her story. I could not put this book down. It made me happy. What a relief! If it hasn't been optioned for film it certainly should be. I can even see it as a BBC serial production with perhaps Colin Firth as Julius. Please race to your public library and snatch this novel off the shelf. If you love books, bookstores, the English countryside, and still believe in the basic goodness of people, you will find much happiness in this bookstore.

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