Friday, May 21, 2021

The Bookshop of Second Chances (Jackie Fraser)

I usually love books about bookshops. Veronica Henry's How to Find Love in a Bookshop is one of my favorite books. Unfortunately, I didn't feel the same way about Jackie Fraser's The Bookshop of Second Chances.

Thea Mottram's husband has just left her -- for her friend (ouch!). Conveniently, she learns that her great uncle has passed away and willed her his home in Scotland. Trying to pick up the pieces of her life, Thea decides to escape there and immediately loves it. She gets a job in the town bookshop, which is owned by grumpy Edward Maltravers, who is also in the middle of a long-standing feud with his brother, Charles.

As I tried to assess why I didn't love this book, I came up with a few main reasons. 1. The characters are unlikeable. Edward even tells Thea that he usually doesn't hire women. 2. Some of the plot points are not believeable. For example, Edward's feud with Charles is from something that happened when they were teenagers. Decades later, Edward continues to get revenge on Charles in an egregious way (there's that unlikeable thing again). 3. There are pages and pages and pages of dialogue. Everything gets spelled out to the reader instead of letting us discover things on our own.

But what I really didn't like in this book is that the bookshop isn't really part of the story. Yes, Thea and Edward work there so there are a few scenes there. But more action takes place in Edward's upstairs flat that in the bookshop itself. I just didn't get that cozy feeling that I usually get from these types of books. So if you like bookshop books, you may be disappointed in this one.