You had me at the book title Veronica Henry! As a book addict and lover of all things literary, the idea of a romance novel set in a bookshop is ALWAYS something that gets my attention.
I really enjoyed the intertwining nature of all the stories that were centred around Nightingale Books. It gave a sense of depth and variety to the village and played its part in a love letter about how finding the right bookshop / bookseller can be a life changing experience for someone who loves books. Julius' story in particular intrigued me, he was afforded an impressive degree of depth and enigma given how little time he had on the page throughout the story. My favourite however was Jackson, the single dad looking to find a way to connect with his son through books. His story felt one of the more developed of the many that the reader gets to follow, and I enjoyed the idea of a parent-child relationship blossoming through books - it spoke to my parenting heart.
Emilia was a nice enough lead character, but ironically I've come away from the book feeling like I know less about her than the other characters that featured. I know what happened to her and how she dealt with the aftermath of it, but I would have loved to know more about who she was before that, in fact, just more about her full-stop. Her whole story arc seemed to focus on how she coped with the event that kicked the whole book off, which, as important as it was, left her feeling like a less rounded off character; others got backstories and their stories felt more emotionally developed than Emilia's.
What I loved most about this book is that I picked it up expecting it to be about romance, and while it was in part, there was a bigger love at play. In fact, there were many types of love at play; familial love, friendly love, forbidden love, unrequited love. But the love that left the biggest mark on me as a reader was the love of books that shone through all of the storylines. Books played a key role in the development of all of the characters' stories, and the bookshop itself was portrayed with such a sense of reverence and charm that in itself it felt like another character. It was best captured in a sentence which reads:
"So that was why people read. Because books explained things: how you thought, and how you behaved, and made you realise that you were not alone in doing what you did or feeling what you felt."
A charming read, and an easy way to kill a few hours in a happy place.
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?
You can buy the book here now. It was published by Orion.