This was such a charming read; one that I have picked up because I was attracted by its title and cover design depicting one of those enchanting English bookshops. The allure of a story about a bookshop (and by natural extension, books) was just too irresistible, and as such, despite my typical apprehension with romantic novels, I knew that I would attempt reading this book.
And with that, I dipped my toes into the Prologue and came across this beautiful passage which charmed me immediately.
Now that he was here, in Peasebrook, he wanted it to be his home – their home. It was a mystery, though, why there was no bookshop in such an appealing place.
After all, a town without a bookshop was a town without a heart.
Julius imagined each person he passed as a potential customer. He could picture them all, crowding in, asking his advice, him sliding their purchases into a bag, getting to know their likes and dislikes, putting a book aside for a particular customer, knowing it would be just up their alley. Watching them browse, watching the joy of them discovering a new author, a new world.
How to Find Love in A Bookshop is a story about a daughter who took over her father’s bookshop in his passing and her struggle in keeping her promise to ensure it stays open in the idyllic village of Peasebrook. Julius was a bookseller of the best kind, but the worse possible businessman. It was an uphill task for Emilia to revive the financial health of the bookshop, even with the help from close friends and the support of a literary community that adored her father.
It was the sort of bookshop that stole time.
This novel reminded me of feel-good movies like “Love Actually” – it is not so much a love story, but a story about love. It is about a daughter’s love for her father. It also is about parental love, falling in love, rekindled love and even forbidden love. And of course, it is about bookish love. Nightingale Books is the centrepiece of the tale which brings the characters and their stories together. Although the story is predictable, the abundance of literary references and allusions made it quite enthralling.
There’s a book for everyone, even if they don’t think there is. A book that reaches in and grabs your soul.
I am thrilled to have found his delightfully heartwarming novel – it was just what I needed with all my heavy science fiction and fantasy reads of late. While it is cosy fiction, its moments of sadness and poignancy made the story about a beloved bookshop and the ability of books to heal and change one’s life more captivating. Ultimately, it evokes that indefinable quality of local bookshops where one can browse its shelves, touch and smell the books, talk to the booksellers, and meet fellow like-minded readers (and even fall in love, possibly).
The above review was written in July 2018.