The Holiday Bookshop by Lucy Dickens

Book Review Jul 17, 2022

My review

4/5 stars

I requested this from NetGalley purely based on the title and the book cover - yep, I'm that person! I'm not sure what I expected, given that the blurb was quite short and vague, but I've read similarly titled books in the past that have been some light summer reading. This was a lot deeper than that, and it caught me off guard... in a good way.

The lasting messages that I've taken away from the book are much more thought-provoking than first appearances would have you believe, but I particularly enjoyed that they weren't shoved down your throat; they were just subtly placed as an overlay to a lovely, heartwarming story about two friends. Here are some of the key takeaways the story gave me:

  • Friendships can and should evolve, but it won't always be easy.
  • Adventure can be found in the everyday. Life itself is the adventure. It's ok if you don't go thrill-seeking, it doesn't mean you're not adventurous.
  • Planning and creativity are both important, but they work best when balanced together.
  • If left unchecked, your biggest strength can become your biggest weakness.

As you can see, it's much more than just a cosy summer beach read. That said, it had a very summery feel to it, especially the parts set in the Maldives. The author has a real flair for descriptive writing that allowed for complete immersion in all the locations the book was set in. I could see everything very clearly in my mind.

That leads me onto another surprise from this book - there were two viewpoints. We follow both Jenny and Marianne's stories throughout the book. I wasn't expecting it from the way the blurb has been written, but it was a pleasant surprise, as it gave real depth and perspective to the story, so that no one came off as the bad guy. That being said, I found it quite jarring that Jenny's perspective was written in first person, but Marianne's was written in third person. I understand that it was probably a writing tool to provide clear differentiation, but it was unnecessary and little distracting.

Equally distracting was the sheer number of sub-plots to follow and characters to keep up with. The story felt a little too busy at times, and some of the smaller characters suffered for their lack of air-time. I think the book would have been a 5 star read if there had just been one or two fewer secondary characters to keep a track of.

A lovely read, I polished it off in under 24 hours (quite an achievement with two small kids underfoot), with just a few niggles that kept it from being totally and utterly brilliant. Would recommend.

*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book blurb

Are you looking to start a new chapter?

Role: Bookseller wanted! (3-month fixed-term contract)
Location: A luxury resort on the tropical island of Bounty Cove Cay.
Skills required: The ideal candidate will have experience in a retail environment, preferably within the book industry.
Desired qualities: This role will appeal to a book lover with an adventurous streak who is looking for an escape from their everyday life.
What to expect: Sun, sea, and a bookshop that is far from thriving. No one said it would be smooth sailing!
Please note:You may fall in love with more than just our island along the way...


You can buy the book here from 21 July 2022. It's being published by Penguin Random House.

For more on the author, follow her on Instagram (she writes under a few different names), or check out her Goodreads page.