Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Bookshop On the Corner by Jenny Colgan

The dangers of spending time on the computer in the early morning, sipping coffee and knowing I don't have to be anywhere the whole day, can be dangerous.  It means I discover even more books that are promptly added to my TBR list.  Some of those books just can't wait their turn; and that was the case with The Bookshop on the Corner.  Jenny Colgan?  Sold!

This was a delightful, fun read that holds no surprises and promises a happy ending.  I have absolutely no problem with this. 

Nina is a librarian who finds out her branch of the library is going to be closing, and be replaced with a media center that has no room for books, but plenty of room for computers.  This is actually a horrible crisis happening across England, and as we all know, librarians and libraries in the U.S. have to fight constantly to remain part of their communities and obtain funding.  *Ahem*

I felt like Nina was a kindred spirit.  She lives in books.  She spends her time reading and gathering books.  So many books that her roommate has threatened to kick Nina out because her boxes of books are taking a toll on their flat.  Nina's talent is pairing people with the perfect book; her knowledge of books is vast, and she's a treasure that isn't appreciated in a world that believes people don't need books anymore--heck, even the library doesn't appreciate her!

Nina is at loose ends until she sees a van advertised for sale in Scotland.  Her dream of owning a bookshop morphs into a bookshop on wheels.  Traveling to the village of Kirrinfief to check out the van, she falls in love with Scotland.  She can, for the first time in a long time, take a deep breath, slow down, and appreciate the incredible beauty of the Scottish countryside.  It feels like home.  But it doesn't fit into her plan to return with the van to Birmingham and set up her bookshop on wheels.  Just as she's set to turn the key and drive the van back to England, she finds out her permit request in Birmingham has been denied.  Now she's got a van, and she's got boxes and boxes (and boxes!) of books, but no place to go.  

But life has a way of working out, and Nina finds a place to rent outside of Kirrinfief, and she begins a new life with her mobile bookshop.  Nina has come home, but of course it's just not that easy.  

Yes, there is romance aplenty!  Malek, the train engineer:  an immigrant with big soulful eyes and the soul of a poet; and Lennox, Nina's farmer landlord; a bit of a grump who seems to bring out the worst in Nina.  

Here's what I loved about this novel:  it celebrates the importance of books.  Nina, the people of Kirrinfief, Lennox, and Nina's friend Surinder all bring  this novel to life.  The Scottish countryside is a big part of the appeal of this book, and it makes you long for a quiet piece of nature and a break from the noise of the city.  All we need are books, the love of good people, and a peaceful place to live and we will be richer than we can possibly imagine.  

Rating:  8/10 for a book that gave me a welcome break from a busy month.  Pure pleasure with lovely characters, the spectacular Scottish countryside, and of course, books!

Available in paperback and e-book.  This book will be available in late September.


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