A review by Lynne Larby
Emilia Nightingale returns from Hong Kong to take over the family business, Nightingale Books, because her father is dying. Stricken with grief, she worries that he was lonely as a single father.
Cue backstory where Julius Nightingale is swept off his feet by Emilia’s mother who dies in childbirth, leaving the two of them alone together. He buys a store to build a bookshop, his dream is to change people’s lives by helping them find their perfect reads. After studying at Oxford, he locates Peasebrook, a charming village in the Cotswolds less than 15 km from Oxford but lacking in the bookstore department. Thirty years later, he’s a fixture in town and everyone turns out for his memorial service.
However, Julius left the bookshop in disrepair, both physically and financially. Emilia wants to continue on in the business but she’s daunted by the rocky road ahead.
Marlowe, a sexy man who plays cello, tutors Emilia to play for her father’s memorial service then encourages her to take her father’s place in the village string quartet.
Thomasina loves cookbooks and meets Jem, the cheese monger, in the bookstore. She gets a crush but she’s the quiet type so feels overwhelmed at the thought of asking him out.
Alice is marrying Hugo, an arrogant man whose driving puts Alice in hospital. Hugo blames Dillon, the gardener, who was under the limit and offered to drive Hugo and Alice home safely. Because it’s always the good mate who’s to blame in an accident, right?
Meanwhile, June, the temporary bookshop manager, lends a helping hand and suggests her old flame come to sign books.
These are only some of the characters whose romances blossom as the characters learn how to find love in a bookshop.
How to Find Love in a Bookshop is a quaint romance featuring more couples finding love than hurdles to be overcome. Veronica Henry clearly loves books and food, both featuring large — almost characters in their own right. The romances could be short stories standing alone but, instead, she’s woven several romances into one story in the lead up to Christmas. Characters come from all walks of life and all strata of society, so there’s something for everyone. How to Find Love in a Bookshop is a light feel-good story recommended for hopeless romantics seeking comfort (reading) ‘food’ without the usual dramas.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Format: paperback, 368 pages
Imprint: Orion (Hachette) in Australia and Random Penguins elsewhere