How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry (Pamela Dorman Books/ Viking, 2016)
☆☆☆/5 (3/5 stars)
“After all, a town without a bookshop was a town without a heart.” Veronica Henry, How to Find Love in a Bookshop
Emilia Nightingale is brought home from teaching English abroad by her father Julius’s death. Julius was the proprietor of Nightingale Books, a bookshop in Peasebrook–an idyllic country village in the Cotswolds. Emilia decides to take his place in running the shop and in so doing uncovers just how many lives Julius had touched. While Emilia finds herself overwhelmed with attempts to fill his shoes, several stories of grief and love all connected to the bookshop begin to unfold around her.
The book was a darling concept: simple and sweet through and through. The way Henry approached the story, which on the surfaces seems to be no more than a love story was unique. As the reader begins to traverse Emilia’s grief, they are taken into her backstory, then they are shown through the numerous lives of those in the community who her father touched over the years, all culminating in several love stories taking shape around the bookshop and their connections with it.
Overall, I found the book just okay. Due to there being so many stories happening at once, I never got to actually sink my teeth into any one of them or get to know the characters. It was overall surface level and rather boring. I also found the marketing of it as “perfect for bibliophiles” a gimmick as books took a total backseat throughout. I so badly wanted this to be one of those books I return to as a fun read from time to time, but it won’t be.
I think one can take the book for what it is at face value: a cute read that skims the surface and one that a person picks up once and says “okay, that was nice, moving on.”