Review: The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Bookshop on the CornerNina 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.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Overdrive Audio/Public Library          My Rating: 5/5 stars

Nina Redmond is rather stuck in a rut!  She gets up, goes to work at the library, rescues some books, comes home to read the night away, and then repeat.  While many would be saddened and/or demoralized by the ruttiness, Nina rather loves her life and can’t imagine it being any other way.  Being with books, rescuing books, getting books into reader’s hands, and devouring books in her own is all Nina has ever wanted to do with her life and what she intends to do for the remainder of her life. 

Unfortunately, Nina’s job is being cut and her library are being closed . . . .

On a whim and after her roommate tells her she can’t bring any more books into the house, Nina journeys to Scotland where she discovers a whole new community of people desperate for books and an old van that, once spruced up, will make a delightful bookshop on wheels.  Though Nina didn’t intend to ply her trade in Scotland, the universe has different plans for her!  To be fair, Nina didn’t intend to lose her job, lose her home, or be forced into starting a new business either.  It seems the universe has a plan and one way or another, Nina is going to get in line and play along 😊

The Highlands of Scotland are nothing like jolly old England and Nina finds she quite appreciates the change.  The air is cleaner, the scenery is far more acceptable, the people are friendlier, and the possibilities for success are endless.  Because of the smaller population, many of the community libraries in the region have been closed and there aren’t any bookstores at all.  As long as she can keep the van stocked and get over her fear of driving the behemoth, Nina has a pretty good chance of earning a decent living! 

With all the books she rescued back home in England, Nina has a sort of built in inventory.  Trouble is, those books are back home in England and she and her spiffy van are in Scotland!  As with everything in her new home, Nina gets help moving her books and a little romance from a most unexpected source!  As the romance blooms, so does Nina’s business.  She finds her wares most wanted among the book-starved community, and as she pairs up readers with the perfect book(s) her connection to the community grows.  What’s more, Nina begins to understand how important her work is, how strong her new and growing friendships are, and how sometimes, taking a huge risk is absolutely worth it!  Unfortunately, it isn’t until all the good is threatened that Nina understands how absolutely critical it is that she stay the course and trust that the universe has plan for her.

The Bottom Line:  This has been the week of surprises for me as far as books go!  I knew I would like this book based on the synopsis, but I didn’t fully appreciate just how much until I was knee-deep in Nina’s story.  I listened to this book in one long sitting and regret nothing.  Nina really is what character development is all about and I thoroughly enjoyed “seeing” her grow from a mousy, shy, rather introverted librarian into a confident, self-sufficient, risk-taking shop owner who knows her business and is determined to succeed.  Her personal life changes just as much as her professional life and it was pure pleasure listening to Nina become a part of her new community, grow her old friendships (her old roommate!!!), and forge new relationships.  At its core, The Bookshop on the Corner is a story about the transformative power of reading, of change, of risk-taking, of friendship, and adventure.  With a bit of romance thrown in for good measure, this book really hits all the things I love in a book: strong characters, good/interesting plot, witty/funny dialogue, and just enough drama to keep things interesting.

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