Saturday, September 03, 2016

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

I could go two ways with my review of Jenny Colgan's charming novel, The Bookshop on the Corner. So, today, I'll do the book-related review. Tomorrow, I'll comment about the book's impact on me personally. No one cares about that, except me, but I want to say it. So, today is the book review.

Jenny Colgan's The Bookshop on the Corner is an enchanting eulogy for, and tribute to, librarians who once shared the love of books with readers. It's entertaining, beginning with the author's message to readers discussing favorite places to read. And, then Colgan invites readers into the book with the phrase, "Now, come and meet Nina..."

Nina Redmond is the last of a dying breed in England, a librarian who loves to talk books. But, cutbacks in Birmingham means the district can't afford to keep all the libraries open. Instead, they're centralizing services. Librarians are unemployed everywhere, and Nina doesn't fit in with the new plans for librarians as social workers and computer trainers. She's too shy, and only wants to live in the world of books. But, on a whim, she tells friends she wants to buy a van and sell books from it. She has the start of a collection because she's buying all the books they're discarding from the libraries as they close. And, when she brings home too many books, and the books start to collapse around her and her friend, Surinder, it might be time to do something with that collection.

It appears that Nina has an impossible task ahead of her when she sees the oversized van in a Scottish village. But, she knows the library world is no longer for her, and with the help of a few previously unknown friends, she buys the van, fits it for a bookshop, and, even finds a place to live. Her farmer landlord may be a little grumpy, but she'll find friends in the neighboring villages. And, Nina discovers that books have given her wings, in more ways than one. She can share her passion for books and reading with so many people.

Colgan's atmospheric book is so beautiful the reader wants to set out for Scotland. The Bookshop on the Corner is a romantic story filled with awkward characters to fall in love with. It's heartwarming and heart wrenching at the same time, filled with nostalgia for something lost that will never come again. The writing is engaging as Colgan captures the feeling of the small community, the dances, the people, the books. It's a lyrical book expressing a love of books and nature. And, it's the story of one woman's growth as changes in her life truly allow her to fly.

Welcome to Jenny Colgan's beautiful novel, The Bookshop on the Corner. "Now, come and meet Nina..."

Jenny Colgan's website is

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan. William Morrow. 2016. ISBN 9780062467256 (paperback), 368p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Gloria Drake said...

You've captured this book beautifully. Had the pleasure of reviewing it for Library Journal, but needed to stay within a certain word count. Glad you could expand a bit on it. -GD

Lesa said...

Thank you, Gloria! Truly a pleasure, wasn't it? (Turns out I reviewed it earlier than I was supposed to. I was supposed to do it late in the month for a TLC Book Tour. Oh, well. Too excited to read it, and didn't realize it was for the tour.)

michele said...

I really loved this book, perhaps because I honestly didn't go into it with a lot of expectations. Any book about books definitely hits near and dear to my heart, but she really did manage to make it a sweet and touching story.