Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Book Review: The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan

Pages: 288
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: October 26, 2021
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: The Cafe by the Sea
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "When the department store she works in closes for good, Carmen has perilously little cash and few options. She doesn’t want to move in with her perfect sister Sofia, in Sofia’s perfect house with her perfect children and her perfectly ordered Edinburgh life.  Frankly, Sofia doesn’t exactly want Carmen there either. Her sister has always been sarcastic and difficult. But Sofia has yet another baby on the way, a mother desperate to see her daughters get along, and a client who needs a retail assistant for his ailing bookshop, so welcoming Carmen might still have some benefits for everyone.  At Sofia’s behest, Carmen is thrown into the daily workings of old Mr. McCredie’s ancient bookshop on the streets of the old dark city. Can she use her design skills to revamp the store and bring it back to popularity in time to benefit from Christmas shopping traffic? Can she choose between bad boy literary rock star Blair and quiet Quaker student Oke? And will she heal the rift with the most important people of all: her family? "


Sophia and Carmen are sisters, but polar opposites.  Sophia lives the "perfect" life with her family and is a well off attorney, and Carmen is a little bit lost. She lost her job at a department store and in turn, has moved into Sophia's house to help out with her kids as Sophia is expecting another child.  Carmen also plans to help one of Sophia's clients, Mr. McCredie, who owns a bookstore that is struggling.  To further complicate things, Sophia and Carmen's relationship hasn't always been the best.  Maybe this holiday season, things will heal between the two.  However, working at McCredie's bookshop is a challenge for Carmen. It's dilapidated, antiquated, and not making money at all.  Carmen is going to help modernize it a bit and gain more foot traffic, which she hopes shouldn't be too hard as it's at a prime spot in Edinburgh.  The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan is a charming holiday read with an outstanding setting.

Carmen and Sophia are interesting characters in their own right in The Christmas Bookshop.  I was especially drawn to Carmen and found Sophia to be a bit off-putting at times.  Sophia's nanny isn't much better either. Cue the eye rolling.  However, I was rooting for Carmen to mend her relationship with her sister and there's no better time to do that than during the holiday season.  

What really drew me to the story was the bookshop in The Christmas Bookshop.  Colgan does a great job of bringing this setting to life. It was almost like I could smell the dusty stacks, the antique books, wander the winding aisles, and the hear adjacent bustle of the Edinburgh streets. I adored the bookshop and desperately wanted it to find success.

Now The Christmas Bookshop wouldn't be a holiday tale without a little romance and there is a bit of a love triangle in this novel, but it's well done.  Readers will be hoping Carmen finds love by the story's end and they won't be disappointed.

While Carmen is working on herself and her relationship with her sister, she is also transforming the bookshop.  I love how Colgan used these two parallel story lines within The Christmas Bookshop and it fits the holiday message of second chances at life and love.

If you have read Colgan before, you know her books are utterly charming and The Christmas Bookshop is no different. So, are you a fan of Colgan? Is The Christmas Bookshop on your shelf? Let me know in the comments below. 



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