I've never read anything by Kiley Dunbar before, but when this book popped up on NetGalley the title alone was enough to pique my interest. The idea of having a holiday where you get to have a go at being a bookseller sounds irresistible (and it turns out you can actually do this in some parts of the world!).
I was nervous for the first half of the book that I wouldn't grow to fully like the main character, Jude. She was depicted as a selfless, helpful, romantic dreamer and all of these things went in her favour, inspiring empathy from page 1. However, she seemed very passive as a character, hiding behind family responsibilities that she no longer needed to, wallowing in self-pity and struggling to leave her comfort zone in any way. Thankfully, her confidence grew as the book went on, and by the time she had spent a week in Devon I was really enjoying her newfound strength and determination.
Elliot was just the right mix of suspicious and charming to give the book its necessary suspense. His evident love of animals melted away any reserves I had about him early on, though I will admit to wanting a clearer picture of him painted physically - I struggled to picture a face when reading (not something I often struggle with). The relationship between the two of them felt a little muddled and rushed at times, hence my four star review. At times, the developments in their relationship jolted me out of the literary world I was immersed in and back to reality with a somewhat disappointing thump. Don't get me wrong, they had good chemistry and worked well together, it was just the pace that jarred at times.
The community that has been built around the bookshop is, by far and away, my favourite part of the story. Jowan, the bookshop owner, was a delightful character with a hidden depth that I revelled in discovering. The village and its residents felt cosy and comfortable throughout - it was instantly somewhere I wanted to be able to visit. Aldous was a brilliantly unusual addition to the story, being set in his ways and inspiring sympathy and laughs in equal measure, I think the story would have been much emptier without him.
This book ended up being a more emotional affair than I anticipated but I would still recommend it as a light, fun summer read for any book lover.
* I received an advanced copy of this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Borrow-a-Bookshop Bookshop Café invites literature lovers to run their very own bookshop … for a fortnight.
Spend your days talking books with customers in your own charming bookshop and serving up delicious cream teas in the cosy café.
Bookworms, what are you waiting for? Your holiday is going to be LIT(erary).
Apply to: The Borrow-a-Bookshop Bookshop Café, Down-a-long, Clove Lore, Devon.
Jude Crawley should be on top of the world. She’s just graduated as a mature student, so can finally go public about her relationship with Philosophy professor, Mack.
Until she sees Mack kissing another girl, and her dreams crumble. And worse, their dream holiday – running a tiny bookshop in the harbour village of Clove Lore for two weeks – is non-refundable.
Throwing caution to the winds, Jude heads down to Devon, eager to immerse herself in literature and heal her broken heart.
But there’s one problem – six foot tall, brooding (but gorgeous) Elliot, who’s also reserved the bookshop holiday for two weeks…
As Jude and Elliot put their differences aside to run the bookshop, it seems that Jude might be falling in love with more than just words. Until she discovers what Elliot is running from – and why he’s hiding out in Clove Lore.
Can Jude find her own happy ending in a tiny, tumbledown bookshop? Or is she about to find out that her bookish holiday might have an unexpected twist in the tale…
You can buy the book here. It's being published on 5 May 2021 by Hera.