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?
Emilia never once suspected her father’s beloved bookstore, Nightingale Books wasn’t and isn’t a smashing success. Given the number of people who come through on a daily and weekly basis and her father’s lack of communication on the topic, Emilia is as shocked by the state of the bookstore as she is by her beloved father’s death.
For Emilia, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. Oh, sure, Nightingale Books is her inheritance and some day she fully intended to return home and run the shop in her father’s stead, but not this early, not this soon. As we well know, Fate is a fickle b*tch and when Emilia is forced to return home to her dying father’s bedside, she is shocked to find just how much of a mess he has left her. With nothing to do, but get on with the living and the working, Emilia doggedly decides to right the ship and make Nightingale Books her father’s legacy more than just her inheritance.
The instant she is back in the shop, Emilia is surrounded by love and support from the long-time customers who were also her father’s friends. The men and women of her small hometown are thoughtful and kind, willing to lend a hand, and encouraging of Emilia’s efforts to get the bookshop back on track. There’s her best-friend and accountant whose efforts are geared toward the numbers, there’s the wizened old woman who retired quite well-off and is more than willing to donate financially to the cause, and there’s the wasting her talents stay at home mom who’s perfectly situated to help Emilia re-launch Nightingale Books. In her personal life, there’s the return of the beautiful musician whose interest at first seems totally professional (his group needs a new cellist!) and there’s the married woman/manor owner whose life was, unbeknownst to all, intimately linked to Emilia’s father and the bookstore.
With so much love, support, and enthusiasm, it’s hard for Emilia to turn her back on the old bookstore, but there are so many obstacles to overcome and grief is a powerful thing. With every gain/victory, Emilia also experiences a setback, whether it be personally or professionally. Some days the setbacks are manageable and others, well, giving up just seems like the best option. What’s more, Emilia’s life isn’t the only life tied to Nightingale Books, and as she experiences the roller coaster ride, so do her customers/friends. Each experience and each event that occurs in every character’s life is somehow tied to Nightingale Books and losing the store would mean losing a piece of their own lives for everyone in town.
The Bottom Line: This is one of those books where I can’t quite wrap my head around the lower star rating on Goodreads. I absolutely adored this book, it’s intricate relationships, it’s complicated design, and its ultimately triumphant message about managing grief. Emilia is young to be carrying such a heavy burden, but because of her location, and her history with the people of the town, she has a built-in support system and that system comes shining through in this read! As all the help is rolling in for Emilia, there’s also a great deal going on in the background with those same characters who are helping the young woman. I love how intricately tied together the plot, sub-plot, major and minor characters are. Though not everyone knows and/or interacts with each other, they are all tied to the book store and Emilia which makes for a much deeper, more involved, and thoroughly enjoyable read. I’m adding this one to my highly recommend list and hope y’all enjoy this one as much as I did!