The Bookshop on the Corner | Guest Book Review

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Publication Date: September 20, 2016

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Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

The Bookshop on the Corner is written by Jenny Colgan. It’s a contemporary romance set in the United Kingdom. England and Scotland, to be more specific. It’s about a woman named Nina Redmond, who finds herself about to be unemployed from her job as a librarian. A big corporation is taking over and making sweeping changes. As she gathers her courage to tackle a daring new life, she ends up in the town of Kirrinfief in Scotland. There she uses what she has to run a bookshop from the inside of a retrofitted “van”. Her new brash, Scottish, landlord John Lennox, is busy questioning her every decision. Her midnight train conductor crush, Marek, is a Latvian romantic equal to her. Soon her life has her trying to make up her mind not only which happy ending she’d like most, but if she’s even planning on staying in Kirrinfief at all!

I only somewhat enjoyed this novel. The romance part of it honestly surprised me. I picked this book up at a local book sale and didn’t even read the back. The most impulsive of impulse buys. So sadly, because I didn’t know that her choosing between two men would be part of the focus of the story, I was disappointed when the narrative focused more on them than her success at the bookshop. I was disappointed by the romance in this book for two reasons. The first reason was that I couldn’t picture any of the characters. So they were always this sort of hyperdimensional silhouette, and never really visually (in my minds eye) attractive to me. Secondly, I didn’t enjoy the romance because while the entering of characters was pretty organic, (but, contrived at times) the exits that some characters had, had been atrociously convenient. It took me out of the mood and flow of the book when I was like, “Wait, wutt?”

I really enjoyed how Jenny creates towns and people. I honestly don’t know if Kirrinfief even exists, but it does for me. Her character, Nina, also spoke to who I personally am, in many ways. The same with Lennox. The weakest characters were easily Surinder, Griffin, and Marek. I surprisingly enjoyed the bit with Ainslee and her family. In the end, and overall, it’s a book I’m proud to own. It was also a very welcome respite from reading The Expanse book series. It’s a small weekend read, with memorable settings and small laughs; I recommend it to Mrs. Constellation and all her readers

About the Author:

Jenny Colgan was born in Scotland and has lived in London, the Netherlands, the U.S. and France. She eventually settled on the wettest of all of these places, and currently lives just North of Edinburgh with her husband Andrew, her dog Nevil Shute, and her three children: Wallace, who is 11 and likes pretending to be 19 and not knowing what this embarrassing ‘family’ thing is that keeps following him about; Michael-Francis, who is 9 and likes making new friends on aeroplanes, and Delphine who is 7 and is mostly raccoon as far as we can tell so far.  

Things Jenny likes include: cakes, far too much Doctor Who, wearing Converse trainers every day so her feet are now just gigantic big flat pans; baths only slightly cooler than the surface of the sun and very very long books, the longer the better. 

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