My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Several months ago, I kept seeing this book on various book sites and blogs, and was a bit intrigued. All I knew about it, was that it was about a librarian who loses her job and opens a bookstore. I didn’t know it was set in the UK until I started reading it, and I also didn’t know that the bookshop was in a van. Yes, that shows that I didn’t even read the blurb on the back of the book, but that’s okay, because sometimes going blindly into books turns out for the best. Plus the appeal of reading a book whose main character not only loved books, but ran a bookshop was appeal enough for me to pick it up.
I have to say that I felt an almost instant connection to Nina’s character, and not just because she loved books. It was her quiet, insecurities that really made her stand out to me. I definitely understood her aversion to groups, people, loud noises and everything else that doesn’t involve hiding in a book. It was nice to have a character that closely reflected my own life in a number of ways.
I found the flow of the story to be quite good. It never really felt slow, outside of perhaps the first chapter, but I can forgive it for it’s slower pace. The descriptions in this book of the Scottish country side were quiet vivid and made me want to go there just to see the rolling green hills. The mix of other characters really helped to move the story along, although most of the focus was still on Nina and her quest to open her bookshop.
While it was odd to see a town that was so obsessed with reading, it was also something quite refreshing. As a reader, I have experienced people who just don’t understand why people read, especially when it is not demanded of them – like while in school. So to get to experience a whole small town rejoice that books have returned to their life was really something special.
Some of the books mentioned within this story sounded really interesting. However, I found out after finishing that book that many of them were made up by the author, which is both exciting and disappointing, because I would honestly love to have read some of them.
One issue I did find was that sometimes information was given out a bit too often. There were a number of times that author made a point and stating that the sun didn’t set until very, very late at night. I get mentioning it the first time, but after the fifteenth time it felt extremely redundant. I also had an issue with parts where someone was talking and it was followed with ‘This was a long speech from (character)’. It’s like if they said more than a few words at a time, the author had to make an example of it and state that it was a long speech.
Another small thing that happened in sometimes I would come across sentences that felt really off to me. I would read them multiple times, yet I still couldn’t put my finger on what made them stand out. In fact, at one point I made my husband read one of these sentences and his response was “Yes, that is oddly written.” I don’t know if it was something in the terminology or something else, but those sentences really broke up the flow the story because I had to stop and try to figure out exactly what I was reading.
I was slightly disappointing in the last hundred or so pages of this book, when the focus seemed to shift almost completely away from the bookshop and focus solely on Nina’s love life. I get that it couldn’t all be about the bookshop, but I felt that it being dropped in the interest of her sex life, was a bit of a let down. Yes, there are things in peoples life outside of their work, but work doesn’t just disappear because you have caught someones interest.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and I would certainly read more books by this author in the future. I think this book would appear to a variety of readers, so if you haven’t read this one yet, I would recommend that you do at some point.