Full disclosure…..the title of this book alone would make me want to read it and don’t even get me started on the charming cover. If you are a book lover and always dreamed of finding love in a bookshop then this is the book for you based on the title alone!
A quaint bookshop in the Cotswolds and a town full of people all of whom have found love (in one way or another) all thanks to the town bookshop, Nightingale Books. As cheesy as it sounds I feel like every single person should have a HEA in this story.
Everyone has a story . . . but will they get the happy ending they deserve?
Emilia has just returned to her idyllic Cotswold hometown to rescue the family business. Nightingale Books is a dream come true for book-lovers, but the best stories aren’t just within the pages of the books she sells – Emilia’s customers have their own tales to tell.
There’s the lady of the manor who is hiding a secret close to her heart; the single dad looking for books to share with his son but who isn’t quite what he seems; and the desperately shy chef trying to find the courage to talk to her crush . . .
And as for Emilia’s story, can she keep the promise she made to her father and save Nightingale Books? (summary from Goodreads).
Ok so first of all…..the story isn’t bad. It was like all of my favorite novels balled up into one. I loved the parallels of the characters in this book with some other recognizable stories. I think my favorite (and perhaps most obvious) was the story of Julius and Sarah as it mirrored the one of my favorite novels, Anna Karenina, which was also their ‘book’ that they bonded over.
There were plenty of other ‘love stories’ in the book with similar parallels. Shy mousy girl meets awkward cheese dealer who is her secret crush…..for some reason my mind went to Harriet Smith and Robert Martin in Emma.
This book reminded me so much of the movie Love Actually which is like my go to holiday film….nothing says Christmas like Hugh Grant as the PM. So this book was a lot like Love Actually but without the holiday cheer and Billy Mac holiday songs. Which means I should have LOVED this book, but for me it was just good….not an instant favorite.
For me there were too many characters to keep track of and once that I was interested in knowing more about but never felt like we fully explored them. For instance Jackson. I wanted to know way more about his back story. In many ways I forgot about him and didn’t feel like his story was that important and didn’t really serve a purpose for me. The story could have worked out the same with or without him in my opinion. Same with June and Mick….it just didn’t seem necessary to the overall story…..nice, but not necessary to the larger narrative.
A lot of the chapters floated from character to character without a real transition which I found distracting. I wasn’t sure when we were on to a new character arch for a few lines so I found that it slowed things down for me and made me kind of lose interest in some characters.
And lastly…..there was A LOT of emotion happening in this book. A lot of heavy emotion. Young college kid falls in love, becomes a father and love of his life dies tragically. Daughter loses father who is everything to her. Spouses who have fallen out of love. Asshole fiancé who doesn’t deserve his girlfriend. Unrequited love. Forbidden love. I mean….it’s a lot. I was expecting something a little more uplifting and less emotional.
I think if I had been more prepared for the magnitude of emotion from many of the characters then I think I would have enjoyed it better. In my mind the cover and the setting make me think of HEAs, charm, and fluffy rabbits in blue jackets….so to have something seeping in significant emotion was unexpected. It was very real and believable, but for me I was expecting something different I think.
I was also expecting this book to be an easy 5 star rating. I had to go with a 4, it was good but I think it needed a little more polish to earn a 5 star from me…..and a little more prep work in the summary would have helped inform the readers that the story they are about to read was going to be a little more heavy than a quaint book shop romance in the country.
And a complete side note…..thanks to this book, I discovered a new author, Jilly Cooper. One of the characters talks about all the Jilly Cooper books and I looked them up and was like OMG how did I miss something so tantalizingly salacious sounding? So I added them to my TBR list. That was an unexpected perk of this book.
- Review copy provided by: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review.
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 4 out of 5
Genre: Romance, contempo lit, women’s fiction