How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry
Pamela Dorman Books, 2017. Hardcover, 336 pages.
Emilia Nightingale’s father has just passed away. As his only child, she has inherited Nightingale Books, a business her father built from scratch when she was a baby. As she navigates her grief, Emilia learns of the various ways her father contributed to the community and the many relationships of various types he has with some of those literary-minded community members. In addition to this, Emilia has discovered that her father’s passion/business came with a great deal of debt and she must find a way to make the bookshop profitable while fending off a real estate developer who wishes to purchase the land. To this end, the whole community comes together to solve the problem.
Adding to the story are the more individualized stories of other characters. We have Thomasina who shares her love of cooking with her students and the community. Good-natured Alice helps to run her family’s estate along with her mother, Sarah. And Sarah has a deep secret that she hides as well. Marlowe finds ways to help Emilia through their shared love of music. Bea brings her creative skills to assist at the bookshop while facing personal struggles of her own. June is a recent retiree who just wants to help Emilia and also needs to confront part of her past to move forward. And there is also Dillon, a gardener who fears to share what is truly in his heart and Jackson, a man who must find his true self while serving as a developer’s lackey. With all the connections between the individuals and their stories, this aspect reminds me of one of my favorite television shows, Downton Abbey (though this novel is set predominantly in the modern era).
I enjoyed this emotional read. Henry has written her characters in such a way that readers will get to know them intimately as the novel moves forward, and thus the emotions of the characters are clearly felt. The descriptions within the prose are vividly written as well. As a whole, the story is not that of one person or couple, but that of a community who are connected thanks to Julius’s venture and how that bookshop brought people together. Whether you enjoy literary fiction (which is this novel’s main genre), romances, or novels about friendships, this is one you should highly consider reading. And if you love books about books, you simply must add this one to your list.
This novel is very multi-faceted, much like The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir I reviewed earlier this year. Have you had the opportunity to read that novel yet? Or now that this novel is has been out for a couple months, have you read How to Find Love in a Bookshop? If so what did you think of each? If you read both, did you also see similarities?
This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher.