Monday, 29 February 2016

Book Review - The Little Shop of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan - Rachel Reads Randomly Book #16

Amazon UK
Title: The Little Shop of Happy Ever After
Author: Jenny Colgan
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: 11th February 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

Given a back-room computer job when the beloved Birmingham library she works in turns into a downsized retail complex, Nina misses her old role terribly - dealing with people, greeting her regulars, making sure everyone gets the right books for their needs. Then a new business nobody else wants catches her eye: owning a tiny little bookshop bus up in the Scottish highlands. No computers. Shortages. Out all hours in the freezing cold; driving with a tiny stock of books... not to mention how the little community is going to take to her, particularly when she stalls the bus on a level crossing...

This book is dedicated to readers and for a good reason, this is essentially Jenny Colgan's thank you to her readers by writing a novel where books feature heavily, and it becomes clear just how many people's lives can be touched by the power of a good book. 

This is one of those reviews where all I really want to say is if you love Happy Ever Afters (the clue may be in the title), love books and/or love Jenny Colgan then stop reading my review now, buy the book and I'll see you once you have finished, which won;t take too long as its an all absorbing story that it just lovely. 

I'm going to take a short minute to just praise the six page "message to readers" that Jenny Colgan has written, and that I would recommend that you don't just skip past in eagerness to start the book, as it will put you completely in the right frame of mind for this story. 

Nina is a huge bookaholic, she when we meet her, is working in a library in Birmingham, has a book in her hand every second of the day pretty much, and her flatmate is continually complaining that every last surface of their house is covered in piles and piles of books. However when Nina is forced to lose her job due to the library's closure she has the chance to change her life radically. 

Despite some people thinking she was nuts she goes up to Scotland to look at a van, and manages to buy it, to turn it into a travelling bookshop and then relocates to the Scottish Highlands. 

Keep you eyes peeled for Nina romanticising a situation involving a certain worker on an overnight freight train, as well as all manner of highland men. Before long Nina is clearly part of the community, and she even takes on a part time assistant, and takes an interest in her young helper's welfare. 

What I loved the best was Nina's innate and natural ability to match the right book with the right person, and the descriptions as she was setting up her van, as well as how Nina's whole way of life changed as she continued to live in the Highlands. 

The setting of the Scottish Highlands is stunning, if you like rugged out of the way places, and the lack of night in summer really helped to romanticise the setting. 

The Little Shop of Happy Ever After is a fabulous feel good story, with plenty to smile at, although it does cover topics such as library closures and a situation with young carers, it is generally a light hearted read and even the serious bits aren't depressing. If you want to read an ode to books, and read a wonderful story at the same time, then you really should read this fantastic novel. 

Thank you to the 21 of you that voted for me to read this book this week. What an excellent choice this turned out to be, and I'm so glad that its given me an opportunity to read it a lot sooner than I may have perhaps managed normally.  Please take a look at this weeks vote, where all the authors have books nominated for the RNA Awards. 

1 comment:

  1. Jenny calgon-great author, have read a few of her books, not come across this 1 until now, will need to remember to add it to my list of books I'd like to read!


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