Books, romance, and small-town life in How To Find Love in a Bookshop
How to Find Love in a Bookshop, Veronica Henry
Genre: General Fiction, Romance
Published 2018, 352 pages
When Emilia’s beloved father Julius dies, she inherits his bookshop, Nightingale Books, in a small English town. Grieving her father, Emilia tries to make a go of the bookshop. This was the most interesting part of the story for me - deciding what changes to make to the store while still keeping its charm. There are several intertwining stories involving other members of the town.
There’s Sarah, the owner of lovely Peasebrook Manor with its beautiful gardens and perfect setting for weddings, including her daughter Alice’s upcoming wedding to Hank who might not be as ideal as she believes. When Sarah faces turmoil in her life, its reflected with: “Everything whirled around in her head, day and night, a washing machine filled with thoughts, fears, worries that seemed to have no answer.” I know this feeling so well!
There’s also Jackson and Mia who are having marriage problems. Bill who hates commuting to London for his job and his wife Bea who misses her job in London which she quit to take care of their daughter. Shy Thomasina and kind Jem who she can’t believe likes her. In addition to dealing with the stress of her bookshop, Emilia also has a love interest. All these characters and even a few more populate the book so that it jumps frequently from one story line to the next.
A regular customer of the bookshop is June who “has the energy of a twenty year old, the brain of a rocket scientist, and the heart of a lion.” June reconnects with an old love, Mick, a famous actor who has written an autobiography and comes to the bookshop to do a reading. When Mick broke her heart years ago she wrote about it in a letter to herself. When he resurfaces in her life she goes back and reads what she wrote so many years ago about him.
“She found it too sad, the memories. She wasn’t that girl anymore. It was a part of whom she had become, but she didn’t need to go back and revisit the pain. She knew now that everyone had heartbreak in their life at some point. What had happened didn’t make her special or unusual. It was part of being human.”
I’m not one for romance novels, but this wasn’t mushy and didn’t have graphic love scenes, neither of which I enjoy. Although there’s the death of Julius lingering in the story and one individual has a serious accident, this is a pretty lighthearted book that doesn’t delve deeply into the characters. A bit more character depth would have been appreciated though as it might have helped me care more about the people. This isn’t a book that will stick with me.