Review: The Bookshop On the Corner by Jenny Colgan

About The Bookshop On the Corner

• Hardcover: 368 pages
• Audio: 10 hours
• Published: September 2016 by William Morrow
• Source: Purchased (Audible)

Goodreads DescriptionNina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

My Thoughts

Do you ever think, “I wish I could read that book again for the first time”? This idea is introduced in The Bookshop on the Corner, and for me, describes this book perfectly. It was such a joy that I wish I could experience it brand new all over again.

In The Bookshop On the Corner, we meet Nina, a librarian on the brink of losing her job. Or rather, she’s lost it already, but she’s still got a few weeks to work before being ousted. She’s at a crossroads. One day, she realizes she’s always dreamt of owning her own bookstore, and decides to just go for it. Everyone thinks she’s crazy, but she buys a van in Scotland and sets up shop selling books out of the back of her van. The little town where she lands is up in the Highlands, desperate for books, and what follows is the kind of feel-good story we all need in our lives.

Before I go on, I do have to point out that the title does not at all work for me, and for that matter, neither does the cover. There’s never actually a bookshop on the corner. I suppose you could make the case that because the bookshop is mobile, it’s kind of always on the corner, but that’s a little too much of a stretch for my taste. This has nothing to do with how I felt about the book. It’s just me being picky.

For those of you who typically skip the introduction, DON’T. The introduction is written by Jenny Colgan, and it’s a hilarious look into where she hopes you’ll read her book. It also sets the tone for the novel – if you like the intro, you’ll like the book.

The Bookshop on the Corner made me laugh out loud. It also made me want to buy a book van and move to Scotland. Consider yourself warned. And, because I listened to it, for the next week every book I read I gave the characters Scottish accents. (I highly recommend the audio of this one.)

Nina was adorably hopeless in the way that makes you want her to succeed, instead of throttle her. She goes through a fair amount of growth, and while a lot of it isn’t exactly something she chooses so much as is forced on her, by the end of the novel she’s more or less grown a backbone. This isn’t exactly chick lit, but it’s definitely got a love story. Thankfully, that isn’t the prime focus of the book, so you avoid that whole “her life isn’t complete until she finds a man” thing. Instead, Nina’s growth is her own, and though the romance does factor into it, isn’t the be all end all. It’s surprisingly realistic for contemporary fiction.

The Bookshop on the Corner is a great, light read. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from Jenny Colgan!

 

4 stars

 

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