The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
Digital Audiobook narrated by Lucy Price-Lewis
Published by William Morrow on September 20, 2016
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
Length: 384 pages or 9 hours, 13 minutes
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Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.
Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.
From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.
I loved this book and I hated this book and literally nothing in between. Rather than have a completely ranting review, I’m going to try and sandwich the good and the bad together so we end up with a towering sandwich of Scooby Doo fame.
First of all, the book talk. I loved all the conversation about books. There were phrases and sentiments I related to so thoroughly, I wanted to reach out and embrace Jenny Colgan for just getting it. There was a moment where Nina reflected back on her childhood, and how her parents used to usher her out of the house to enjoy nature, so she promptly climbed a tree and read a book. This is absolutely how I spent my summers. I felt like Jenny Colgan heard my bookishness on a deep level and I adored that.
And I hated the romance. In all fairness, this book is marketed as a romance and I blatantly ignored that bit because I heard it was a book about books and I wanted to go to there. Besides, just about every book is marketed as a romance these days on one level or another. But let’s be real about the romance in The Bookshop on the Corner… it has all the cheesiest tropes. There’s a love triangle for most the book. Nina first falls in love with Merrick, who is repeatedly described as having “puppy dog eyes”. Then there’s the rustic farm boy, dark and bitter Lennox. Lennox is broken and bitter from his divorce, and Nina is a sweet romantic soul that brings a little light into his life while Lennox helps ground her.
But this does take place in gorgeous, rustic Scotland. With a little description, Jenny Colgan brings the fences and rolling hills and the sweet small town life. This is a place that still has barn dances and everyone known everyone and a city girl with a van full of books can make readers out of them all. The setting is terribly romantic and beautiful. I love places like this.
But on the other hand, Nina is a little too good. She’s naive mostly, but also fierce when the situation calls for it. She does whatever she pleases – even though they are small, nice things – and there’s no fallout or true consequences for her actions. She’s not classically beautiful, but everyone tells her she’s pretty. At the end of the book, Nina gets her happily ever after because of course she does. The characters are a little too smooth on the edges. I found myself rolling my eyes a lot. A lot.
All these elements rolled together pretty easily, so every time I was getting ready to put the book away and lecture the world about how tedious a passionate romance can be (read: I am not, and will never be, a romantic), something lovely popped in and I was okay with it and kept reading until the book was done. There’s a lot to be said about it, and this is an awesome book for people much less jaded than I am.
If you’re a romantic person, or if you like dreamy love stories, this is a wonderful book. The characters are perfectly sweet and wonderful and it’s easy to enjoy them. If you’re a book lover who also loves romance, this book is especially made for you. I really, really do recommend this to anyone, anyone, who enjoys romance because altogether this is a fantastic book for the right reader.
But, if you are a book lover, something to keep in mind: the books in this story are made up. So, um, don’t do what I did and try to find them on Goodreads to add to your TBR.
Do you enjoy a sweet love story? I make it clear pretty often that they aren’t my thing, but I do appreciate that I’m in the minority. What ones are your favorites?